Hey everyone, Listmas is back this year! That’s right, the Murfvs.net Christmas tradition is back this year, and it just might be the best one yet! United We Game is once again joining in on the festivities, and it looks like this’ll be our first list this month! Anyway, there’s a lot of listing to be done so lets get started with our 10 Gaming Songs that’ll leave you smiling!
Still Alive – Portal
(from Youtube user: OverTheGun)
I’ve never really been certain if Portal’s ‘Still Alive’ should be taken as a feel-good song or not. It sounds fun and happy at first, but if you take a second to really listen to the lyrics then you’ll notice that it’s not really happy for you. The entire song is essentially GLaDOS mocking your victory; saying that you’ve accomplished nothing, and that she’ll be doing what she’s always done long after you’ve died and turned to dust. It’s not exactly a pleasant thought. However, the song still feels good in spite of its blatant desire to mock us. One almost finds themselves agreeing with GLaDOS’ sentiment: that everything will be fine and dandy because GLaDOS will be still alive and testing!
Above the Clouds – Kirby 64
(from Youtube user: Welcome To My Channel)
It’s really hard not to like Kirby isn’t it? I mean it’s REALLY hard! I don’t want to like Kirby. His games have always been a bit too easy for my tastes, especially that yarn one where you literally couldn’t die, and the whole ‘sunshine and rainbows’ thing gets to be a little unbearable after a half hour or so. Still, somehow it’s still really hard to completely dislike Kirby, and it has to be because of music like this! “Above the Clouds” is so delightfully upbeat and catchy that I can’t help but smile all the way through the levels that use it. It probably helps that Kirby 64 scales back the whole cutesy thing a bit and has a bit (just a bit) of challenge to it, but I get the feeling that it wouldn’t be the fun little romp that it currently is without this kind of music to drag those smiles out of us! (You win this round, you ravenous pink marshmallow…)
Ocean Overworld – LoZ: The Wind Waker
(from Youtube user: TektiteTriforce)
This one might have been higher on the list, but unfortunately the game kind of forces it to overstay its welcome. That said, can you think of another video game that embodies the spirit of adventure more than this one? I’ve tried and I just can’t! It’s energetic! It’s optimistic! It carries a sense of wonder and freedom, but not without a sense of purpose! It calls for the player to enjoy the journey rather than simply hasten to the destination. I like to think that many of us would love to have some sort of great adventure in our lifetimes, and this tune…I think it embodies all that we would want such an adventure to inspire within us. It might just be me, but I can’t help but smile whenever I hear it!
Ending Theme – Super Mario 64
(from Youtube user: Atello93)
For a gamer growing up in the ‘90s, beating Super Mario 64 was sort of a rite of passage. Mario was still arguably the biggest thing in gaming back then, and this game was the series’ crowning achievement. Many of us might consider it child’s play these days, but it was a legitimately difficult game at the time. For me, the little grand tour that this theme accompanies felt like the best reward I ever could have gotten. It was like a little celebration of my accomplishment! This one might be a choice heavily influenced by nostalgia, but I get the feeling that I’m not the only one who develops a big grin whenever they hear it!
Treasure Trove Cove – Banjo-Kazooie
(from Youtube user: GilvaSunner)
Like so many of the tracks from the Banjo-Kazooie games, this one could make the list simply for its bubbly energy alone. However, I feel that Treasure Trove Cove rises above the rest for the simple sense of fun it possesses. The tune evokes thoughts of a fun romp on the beach. “There’s no urgency here,” it seems to say. ”Just have fun seeing what there is to see and dong what there is to do, and that will be enough.” It’s kinda what the Banjo games as a whole seem to stand for, just a fun romp in world that’s larger-than-life!
Overworld Theme – Super Mario World
(from Youtube user: BrawlBRSTMs3)
I’ll admit it, this one is largely a nostalgia trip (albeit with more steel drum). Mario may not have been around as long as the likes of Pacman or Dig-Dug, but I’d say that Mario is one of the strongest anchors in video games. It feels like he’s always been there, and even though we all whine and complain about how little he changes, I have this feeling that there are more than a few of us who hope that he never changes. No matter which game you play first in this goliath of a series, be it Super Mario Bros. or Super Mario 3D World, you’re going to remember your time with it fondly. My first Mario game was Super Mario World, and this was the theme of the first level I played. It has a certain magic to it that I don’t think is ever going to fade, and it’s my hope that new players will get a chance to feel some of that magic too. Never change Mario, you’re great just the way you are!
City Escape (Classic) – Sonic Generations
(from Youtube user: BrawlBRSTMs3)
I’ve never really found anything to special about the music in most Sonic games. They’re energetic and catchy but not enough to make much of an impression. There are a couple of exceptions though, both from Sonic Adventure 2: “Live and Learn” and “City Escape”. “Live and Learn” is great for getting fired, but it’s not really something that just gets me smiling, so “City Escape” is the one that makes the cut, especially this remixed version from Sonic Generations. Not only is it an upbeat and catchy tune, but it’s also overflowing with absolutely infectious amounts of confidence and optimism. It doesn’t matter what kind of mental state you’re in, give this song a minute or two and it’ll be all you can do to keep from singing along!
Gusty Garden Galaxy – Super Mario Galaxy
(from Youtube user: LanceNLT)
Okay, so I wasn’t quite done with Mario yet, but believe me this one was worth mentioning everyone’s favorite red-capped plumber again! Earlier I mentioned that the Ocean Overworld theme from Wind Waker perfectly captured the pure nature of adventure. I still stand by that, but I’d say Gusty Garden Galaxy’s theme is the song that best captures its majesty. It’s energetic and driven, has peaks and valleys, is powerful but fleeting. If I had to boil all down to one word, I suppose I’d call it “beautiful”. That’s what adventure is right? A beautiful experience that stays with you for the rest of your life. Ah, but there I go waxing all philosophical. Simply put, it’s a great tune and one that gets me grinning like a fool every time.
Fanfare 1 – Chrono Trigger
(from Youtube user: TheOSTcorner)
I’ve heard many absolutely wonderful victory themes during my time as a gamer. Most are happy, have a sense of resolution and drive to them, and many really do feel like a celebration of your accomplishment. However, out of all the victory fanfare themes that I’ve heard, I don’t think any capture the sheer, indescribable joy of victory like this one does. It isn’t resolute like some, and it doesn’t make you feel like you could take on the world like others. Instead, it makes you feel like you already took on the world and won! It’s the song sung by those who’ve taken on their greatest trials and emerged utterly and joyously victorious!! If that doesn’t inspire a smile, I don’t know what will!
Cara Mia Addio (Turret Opera) – Portal 2
(from Youtube user: DarkXMedia)
Yes I went back to Portal here. What can I say, I’m a fan! All joking aside though, I do feel like this one deserves the top spot. It’s not the happiest song on the list, but is instead a very special kind of bitter-sweet. It serves as both a celebration of your achievement (having earned your freedom from the testing courses), but also a wistful farewell since this the end of our portal-hopping adventures. For those familiar with the characters and story, it becomes an even more powerful song if you realize who is singing and what the lyrics mean. I won’t spoil the impact by talking about it here, but suffice it to say that this song is something special for embodying the feeling of moving on/letting go: the near-heartbreaking sadness of what’s left behind mixed with the sheer happiness and optimism for what lies ahead.
What video game songs leave you smiling? What do you think it is about them that inspires you?
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