Video game music has had a long and rich history. From the 8-bit era which inspired an entire genre of music, to the more modern orchestral soundtracks of today, they mean more to the gaming experience than some may think.
There are also times where the soundtracks themselves stand out more than the game they come from, there are sound tracks which have become embedded in the heads of entire generations, and there are some which take games to another level.
Today we’re going to look at eight soundtracks which have played a big part in our gaming histories and have stood out as exceptional examples of music composition.
This game has shot into the spotlight once again since its launch on PS4 and PS Vita and quite rightly so. While some may wonder how such a game has received such a cult following, the game’s soundtrack is certainly one of those reasons.
With a mixture of upbeat chiptune, classic video game fight music, and more peaceful acoustic numbers, the Undertale soundtrack is definitely one you can’t overlook.
This is a game which received many mentions when discussing soundtracks, and it makes sense. Darren Korb has managed to create one of the more interesting video game soundtracks which mixes industrial-style beats with a mix of folk, bhangra, and even jazz.
This playlist is genuinely impressive, even if you aren’t a fan of the game.
Life is Strange
Life is Strange quickly became one of my favourite games from the soundtrack alone. Interestingly there are two soundtracks available, one, which you can see above, is full of the game’s licensed tracks, they’re a fantastic collection of songs, however the most impressive part of the game is the OST which features music composed by Jonathan Morali.
These tracks are heard usually as you’re wandering within the world of Arcadia bay, and just add so much to the game’s atmosphere. You can find that particular soundtrack on YouTube.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2
You can’t talk about a game’s soundtrack without throwing one of these bangers into the mix. As well as being fantastic skateboarding games for their time, the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series became known for its collection of tracks spanning rock, punk rock, pop punk, and of course hip hop.
I mean, you could pick any game from the series (ignoring THPS5) and you’ll find a collection of fantastic songs.
Honestly, you might not consider The Sims as having a great soundtrack, but when the first game came out I spent days designing and building homes all to the game’s almost ubiquitous soundtrack.
Made up of mostly piano compositions, this soundtrack gave an incredibly relaxing tone which was needed considering how janky the first game’s terrain editor was.
How can we talk about soundtracks without talking about Journey. A game which is a little over five years old now, yet it still holds up even today. Austin Wintory did an amazing job composing a soundtrack that accompanies the game so perfectly, creating a level of atmosphere some may only hope to achieve.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
A game so good, Bethesda had to release it six times. Ahh we give this game more flack than it deserves really. Despite how much Bethesda try to throw the game in our faces, you’ve got to agree, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has a fantastic soundtrack.
It’s definitely a much more operatic composition, but would you expect anything less from a game which has you literally blowing people away with your voice?
Mick. Fucking. Gordon. If you ever needed a soundtrack to blow the eardrums out of any demon within 30 feet, then the DOOM soundtrack is one for you. Listening through the first track, aptly titled Rip & Tear, will immediately have you reaching for that Big Fucking Gun to blast some holes through a bad guy or two.
There are some incredible soundtracks out there throughout gaming history, and this is just a few we think are great. Do you have any recommendations? Let us know in the comments.