Is music perhaps mankind’s greatest achievement? We will leave that up for debate. But music is certainly able to transcend time and space and take our mindset to alternate places. A single melody or piece of music can completely change one’s mindset. Music can pump a team up before a sporting event, it can increase the appetite for war (think Wagner), and it can calm even the most tormented souls as Purcell’s Music for a While showcased. It is perhaps no wonder then that some of the best video games can also boast some of the greatest soundtracks.
We decided to take a look into some of the greatest video game soundtracks of all time, and into different gaming worlds from a Disney-oriented adventure to genie games themed around gambling. Below is a list of five of our favorite musical compositions from video games.
The Queen of video game music, Yoko Shimomura, has created music for several blockbuster video games including Final Fantasy. She is best known for her scores for the successful video game franchise, Kingdom Hearts. Kingdom Hearts is a role-playing game developed by Disney and Squaresoft. The soundtrack features plenty of melodies from Disney games as well as scores written by Shimomura herself. From dramatic melodies to peaceful and sorrowful ones, the Kingdom Hearts soundtrack is something special.
If you don’t believe us, you can ask the experts over at Classic FM. Those guys know a thing or two about classical music and they have written a whole article dedicated to Yoko Shimomura’s best music for video games.
Streets of Rage 2
An absolute classic video game from the 1990s (1992 to be exact), Streets of Rage 2 was originally released for the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis and is a side-scrolling beat ‘em up type of video game. The soundtrack was composed by Yuzo Koshiro and has been cited by some to be ahead of its time. The soundtrack was influenced by electronic dance music and consisted of synths, electro-funk, and trance.
There were plenty of Sega Mega Drive games that had electronic music soundtracks, but none were perhaps as memorable as the Streets of Rage 2 soundtrack.
Pokémon remains one of the most successful video game franchises of all time and is still going strong now in 2023. Due to the number of Pokémon games out, it is tough to pick one great melody from the numerous Pokémon games, but our personal favorites are the tunes from the original games which were first released in the United Kingdom: Pokémon Red/Blue/Yellow.
The melodies were composed by Junichi Masuda and in our opinion were deceptively simple. Composed on a Commodore Amiga computer, Masuda converted the music to the Game Boy with a program he had written himself – pretty impressive if you ask us.
Genie Jackpots Megaways
Online slot games have quickly become some of the most played games online in the United Kingdom. Known primarily for their themes and modern features, it is increasingly the case that the developers behind modern slot games are concentrating more and more on creating a memorable soundtrack for their games. Blueprint Gaming, one of the best slot machine developers around due to their intricate use of combining modern features with great gameplay, is becoming increasingly known for their use of music in their online slot machines. Perhaps their most successful game to date comes in the form of Genie Jackpots Megaways.
The experts over at SlotsHawk have numerous resources dedicated to online slot games and have written a guide highlighting the top Megaways slots in 2023 which features Genie Jackpots Megaways and several other games with original soundtracks.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Thought by many to be the best Star Wars game of all time, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (KOTOR) is a role-playing game that was released in the early 2000s. Even without an awesome soundtrack, this game would still have been one of the best, but the addition of expertly composed melodies really blessed KOTOR with the feel that players really were in the Star Wars universe.
Bastilla Shan’s theme is our personal favorite and if you have ever played the game, you will know that her theme, which is a mix of both tragedy and new hope, is perfect for her character. You can listen to Bastilla’s theme and indeed the whole soundtrack from KOTOR via Soundcloud. Incidentally, the soundtrack from the KOTORs sequel is also rather marvelous.
Music and Video Games: A Match Made in Heaven?
We truly hope that you enjoyed our article discussing our favorite soundtracks from video games. We also hope that we were able to perhaps motivate you to play one of the five games we discussed, or perhaps you went out of your way to listen to some of the melodies we mentioned.
Please get in touch with us if you have any recommendations for some video game soundtracks. Perhaps you know some niche games with excellent but little-known musical accompaniments? We are all ears!