I’ve missed a few days, but we’re back and into Day 17 of A Geeky Gal’s 30 Day Geek Out Challenge! Today’s topic is video game soundtracks! It’s impossible for me to choose just one for this question – so I’ll be sharing ten of my favourite video game soundtracks. If you’ve been following my posts, most of these games are probably pretty familiar, but I can’t do a soundtrack post without talking about these stand-outs.
Day 17: Favourite video game soundtrack?
Disney’s Extreme Skate Adventure
A bit of an odd choice, but skateboarding games always have fantastic soundtracks – usually riddled with pop punk and rock, two of my favourite genres. This particular game was a massive part of my childhood, and probably for nostalgia reasons, my top skateboarding game of all time. Songs on this soundtrack included “Grow Up” by Simple Plan (one of my favourite bands of all time), “Sell Out” by legendary ska band Reel Big Fish, and “Somewhere on Fullerton” by Allister – every single track was an absolute banger, and it made the game that much more fun to play. For 11 year old me, nothing could beat grinding and ollie-ing around Pizza Plant listening to Jump5 and Smash Mouth.
Diddy Kong Racing
I talked about this game in Day 12 of this challenge – and the soundtrack for Diddy Kong Racing is a huge part of my love for this game. Every single track has a unique, upbeat tune to go along with it, and nothing tops the incredible theme song that plays during the title screen. Some of my favourites include the track for Frosty Village, Pirate Lagoon, Whale Bay, and Hot Top Volcano. Seriously if you haven’t played this game or listened to the soundtrack, go and do it immediately – guaranteed these bops will get stuck in your head.
God of War
God of War was my game of the year in 2018, and one of the standout elements of this game for me was always the soundtrack. I personally thought it should have won best score/music at The Game Awards last year (it was beaten by Red Dead Redemption 2, which I also have on this list) but that’s just me. The main theme, “God of War” is just so epic – the incredible baritone choir, and the way it builds to the crescendo sets the tone for the game perfectly. No joke, I listen to this soundtrack on Spotify all the time when I want some background music for studying or reading. This score is easily one of my favourites of all time.
Red Dead Redemption 2
Though the game released in the shadow of its crunch controversy, Red Dead Redemption 2 was well-received and deserves all of the praise that it gets. It’s unfortunate that the well-being of Rockstar’s employees was sacrificed in order to create this masterpiece, and they deserve every piece of credit for creating this phenomenal experience. Part of that experience was the fantastic score – there are a couple of tracks that include actual singing, and when you’re riding through the gorgeous landscape of this game, it’s nothing short of stunning. The score lends well to the cinematic nature of this game, and it was simply fantastic.
The Journey soundtrack is unique in the sense that it’s almost impossible for me to detach my experience with the game from the soundtrack. Journey is its score – the crescendos, the falls, the tension, the elation – every emotional beat in-game is echoed so seamlessly by the score, it’s almost unnerving. The two moments that stand out to me the most are probably surfing down the desert sand-slide and falling into the underground area – the music falls right along with you, and you feel the vague sense of dread as you head into this new area. The second being when you’re flying around atop the mountain, with the music backing you, conveying the purest sense of peace and elation that I can’t even describe. Walking into the light at the end, and listening to the gorgeous vocals that play as the credits roll is truly incredible.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
How many times can I mention Ocarina of Time in different favourite lists? This game has one of the best soundtracks of all time, in my opinion – the temple themes, ocarina songs, and general ‘area’ tunes are literally all amazing. Again, every song sets the tone for each area perfectly, and when paired with the fantastic design of Ocarina of Time generally, it just elevates the entire game to ‘masterpiece’ level. My favourites are probably the Forest Temple theme, for so easily putting me on edge, and the Song of Storms.
With this entry, I’m referring to the whole series honestly. Even the themes unique to each main title, sung by Utada Hikaru, are enough to be phenomenal on their own. I think Sanctuary from Kingdom Hearts 2 is my favourite, followed closely by Simple and Clean. The score for each of these games is so strong, and despite the ridiculous storytelling this series is known for, the soundtracks have always been on point.
This was probably one of the games that I spent the most time playing when I owned my Xbox. I’ll never forget the opening theme with the choir singing – it’s so distinctive and incredible. The rest of the game has a score that emphasizes the sense of unease and urgency that is always felt while playing the game – it’s extremely well done. The Halo 2 soundtrack also featured one of my favourite bands of all time, Breaking Benjamin, so I always think back on the music of these games fondly.
Shadow of the Colossus
I’ve never heard a more haunting soundtrack than that of Shadow of the Colossus. It just effortlessly conveys the anxiety and despair of its protagonist, the lonely, desolate nature of the Forbidden Land, and the dangerous (yet melancholic) encounters with the Colossi. The score alone is worth playing this game for. This is another soundtrack that I used to listen to quite frequently while studying when I was in university. It probably didn’t help the stress.
Persona 5 was my first game in the Persona series – I’m just about finished with it (I think) and I’ve really enjoyed my time with this title, and particularly, with its music. The game has an upbeat, jazzy score (with songs sung by Lyn Inaizumi) which normally isn’t my thing, but it’s just implemented so well, it really grew on me. The battle theme, Palace scores and general background music just meshes so well with the atmosphere of Persona 5, I was genuinely very impressed with its execution. It was a pleasant surprise (you might say I never saw it coming), and definitely one of my new favourite soundtracks of all time.