Bringing Resonance month to a close, and following on The Duck of Indeed’s heels (do ducks have heels?), it’s time for me to offer up ten of my most favorite video game songs…of the moment. I add that qualifier there because, there’s always something new to explore when it comes to game music. While the songs that we love will always remain so, we meet new music every time we start new games, so it makes sense that one’s own list is an ever-evolving entity. Not only that, but even just whittling down to ten favorites is a chore in and of itself. But I’m up to the challenge! If ten songs I must choose, then ten songs I shall choose – and what a list it is! Without further ado, here are ten of my favorite game songs, in no particular order, and with links to my own Resonance posts here, because, like I said, some favorites are always favorites.
“Phenandra Drifts” – Metroid Prime
Video from YouTube user Soundstripe.
To be clear, even though I never finished Metroid Prime, it doesn’t mean that I disliked the game. In fact, much like with Super Metroid, Metroid Prime’s soundtrack really boosted my own enjoyment of it, even during its frustrating moments. “Phenandra Drifts” is a prime example, where it’s cool and airy tones helped sooth my mind while traversing the game’s icy world of the same name.
“Temple of Light” – Fable
Video from YouTube user ClassicVGM.
You notice quickly that I associate many themes on my list with a sense of happiness. “Temple of Light” never fails to put a smile on my face. Not only does it conjure up the fond memories I have of first playing Fable, but I need only think of it to quell any stressed-out brain cells.
“Main Theme” – Mass Effect
Video from YouTube user Comrade Bornath.
Hearing Mass Effect’s opening theme immediately makes me feel at home. It reminds me of the slow, heady burn that is the Mass Effect series. It mentally prepares me for another journey with another Commander Shepard. It welcomes me into another grand adventure.
“Born Unto Trouble” – Red Dead Redemption
Video from YouTube user allaboutVGmusic.
Any game about the American “Old West” needs a theme that inspires lonely grandeur and a weary sense of self. After all, the landscape of the West will give as much as it takes, and you’ve got to be ready even in your most exhausted moments. “Born Unto Trouble” just that theme in Red Dead Redemption. I can’t imagine playing the game without it.
“Still Alive” – Portal
Video from YouTube user OTG.
I mean, of course “Still Alive.” Despite the fun, easy going melody, the song is imbued with sinister and sarcastic undertones. “Still Alive” works as the perfect ending to Portal, and game that is sinister and sarcastic in its own right.
“Lower Brinstar” – Super Metroid
Video from YouTube user SonicSpeedsMyGame.
I love the eerie pacing and pulsating beat of “Lower Brinstar.” It easily compliments one of the most intriguingly atmospheric levels of Super Metroid. I honestly can’t think of anything else to say, because I really could just listen to this over and over…and over…and over…
“Fly Me to the Moon (Climax Mix)” – Bayonetta
Video from YouTube user Someone.
I can’t always get behind overly-poppy remixes of popular music, especially something that’s now as standard as “Fly Me to the Moon.” But this cheeky, bubblegum mix works perfectly Bayonetta. Its cheerfulness juxtaposes so well against all the hacking and slashing and shooting and stomping. And I’ve not doubt that Bayonetta would quite agree.
“Secunda” – The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Video from YouTube user Aramil.
Now, I’m not saying that I’d pick up Skyrim again just to listen to this song, but…it’s not a bad excuse. Good exploration music can be hard to come by in games, either it’s too loud, too soft, to too grating. “Secunda,” however, hits all the right notes with its melodic tones and rhythmic bells.
“Toberu Mono” – The Last Story
Video from YouTube user SaphirNischara.
The Last Story isn’t perfect, but it’s one of the best Wii games I’ve ever played. Its stellar soundtrack is capped off by this absolute gem from musical master Nobuo Uematsu. It’s a sullen yet beautiful song that soars high with emotion.
Main menu theme – Sleeping Dogs
Video from YouTube user Fattony12000.
So there was this one time where I sat on the main menu of Sleeping Dogs for, like, twenty minutes, just listening to this on loop. It’s a short song that somehow manages to communicate everything you need to know about the game — its mix of old and modern, its rise and fall. And it’s only extra-addicting on loop, too.