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My Top Ten
Original Video Game Songs
There are many top ten lists but this one is mine, if you think a
game is missing here, I either didn't play it, didn't have any
interest in it, or I just hate you.
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The fourth list in my ongoing series of Top Ten Video Game Music, My Top
Ten Songs wasn't actually as difficult to form as I originally
imagined. Partially thanks to giving some well-deserved credit in
previous lists, but also as I simple considered each individual song
in my primary VGM playlist and identified those tracks that bring
about the most amount of nostalgia and pure joy every time I hear
them. The final nominee list was still quite long and I was forced to
make some difficult decisions, but what follows are what I hope are
my final Top Ten Songs. I've embedded the original (or near original) version of each song, but where applicable I also link to my favorite non-remix versions and arrangements.
Throughout this list I will undoubtedly mention the following
previous musical Top Ten lists:
Ten Game Composers
Ten Video Game Title Themes
My Top Ten
in myself that I failed to even give an honorable mention to this
very chiptune and evocative soundtrack, I'm very pleased the main
theme found a spot on this coveted list. The main theme for
Shadowgate has haunted me for years; the unique first person
adventure title found its way very high on my Top Ten NES list, and
was one of the first console games I ever played. The nostalgia
factor is off the charts, and the theme is so incredibly moody and
memorable that it's stuck with me for decades.
news of a Shadowgate remake on Kickstarter hit last year, I was all
over it; though I admit I was just as excited and maybe even more so
to get modern adaptations of the classic music. The new soundtrack
does not disappoint!
(Heroes of Might and Magic III)
soundtrack to Heroes III did get an honorable mention in my last
music list but the more I debated the higher one particular song
clawed its way onto this list. In true Hereos fashion each faction
gets their own theme song when vising their castle; the good aligned
castles get symphonies and marches while the evil towns are much more
digre-like. The theme song to the undead Necropolis, however, is an
astonishingly amazing symphony of violins that always forced me to
stay on the screen a bit longer to hear the whole track. Were the
zombies my favorite faction because of the crazy amount of skeletons
you could eventually possess or was it more about that theme song
that I loved so much? Tough to say, even as HoMM3 remains infinitely
playable to this day, and who's nearly entire soundtrack finds its
way onto my VGM playlist, "NecroTown" remains head and
rotting shoulders above the rest.
8) "Celes" (Final
personal go-to song for lullabies, Celes' Theme catapulted up my
personal chart after the birth of my daughter and I not only hummed
various melodies to sooth her to sleep, but created some lullaby
playlists filled with soothing video game tracks. This sad but
triumphant track is the best of that bunch, and before where it
brought waves of nostalgia and good memories (like the entire awesome
opera sequence that's set to this song) now hits me right in the
feels as I think about slow dancing with my baby girl in my arms.
specifically use Nobuo Uematsu's own piano arrangement for all my
7) "Baba Yetu"
be sure that my #1 favorite title theme song would find its way onto
this list, and as it was written specifically for the game it totally
counts for this list! See my entry for top title themes for all my
gushing towards this one of a kind song.
6) "Arni Village (Home
World)" (Chrono Cross)
actually really tricky to pick my favorite song from my favorite
soundtrack. Most of them are just mind-blowingly amazing and though a
few stand out, they fit so well into the soundtrack that it's kind of
weird to single one out. The incredible theme song "Time's Scar"
for example, meshes so perfectly with the intro video that it's hard
for me to even listen to it without also watching the accompanying
no such hang ups with the theme song to protagonist Serge's idyllic
seaside village, however. Perfectly encapsulating the safe, quiet,
and somehow nostalgic feelings of your hometown within a beautiful
acoustic track and sexy violins, the Home Village of Arni was one of the first songs
that I put on my daughter's custom half-VGM lullaby CD, and remains the most memorable song from the soundtrack.
self-respecting gamer that has ever held an acoustic guitar and
didn't find and strum those two classic chords is a *** liar.
Few simple riffs set the mood so well for an entire game, and the
theme to Diablo's sole village and place of refuge is as memorable as
they come. Kudos to Blizzard for recognizing its greatness and making
sure it's included in the sequels.
4) "Frog's Theme"
Trigger has an amazing soundtrack full of great songs, and everyone
has their own favorites, and they're all the right choice. For me,
few things beat the theme song to everyone's favorite cursed
anthropomorphic frog instilled with chivalrous heroism. Frog's Theme is the very pinnacle of the hero's
march and just begs to be whistled at uncomfortable volumes to those
3) "Super Mario Bros.
Theme" (Super Mario Bros.)
still the most recognizable video game track ever created, the very genesis of
the chiptunes sound and upbeat, addictive style of the Super Mario
Bros. Theme enchanted an entire generation and never let go. It's
become as second nature to me as "Happy Birthday," I can play it on
guitar, trombone, and piano, and it's infinitely remixable and
equally suited to large scale symphonic orchestras. You always remember your first video game song, and thankfully the SMB Theme was an instant classic.
versions: "Super Pipe House" (Super Mario RPG), "Super Mario
Bros." (Super Mario World OST)
2) "Delightful Spekkio"
an unnatural attachment to this random and quirky song (sometimes translated to "Jolly Ol' Spekkio"). Named after
the small, fluffy, trans-dimensional god-like creature that acts as
optional and progressively stronger boss battles, his theme song is
anything but perilous. Instead it's the manifestation of pure joy and
adventure and one that I hum on a near daily basis whenever I'm in a
1) "Terra" (Final
Final Fantasy VI is one of the greatest soundtracks of all time, and
when trying to find my favorite song it kept coming back to Terra. As
the closest one to a central protagonist, Terra's Theme also acts as
the main theme song to the game and it's so brilliantly written that
it can serve as both an optimistic, glorious cheer and an
introspective melancholy piece, often depending on the instrument and
style in which it's played. Terra's Theme has the best remixes, the
best iterations, a soothing melody and is my favorite video game song of all time.
Favorite version: Same as Celes, Uematsu's piano version is the best ever.
musical lists continue to be a heartbreaking venture for me; how can
I make a list of my favorite songs and neglect the likes of Mass Effect, Bastion,
Ocarina of Time, and the incredibly fun music video "Zombies on
Your Lawn?" I tried giving myself a rule of only one song per game,
but quickly realized that was folly. I do like to think that I have a
fairly wide interest when it comes to video game music - from
chiptunes and electronica to orchestrated symphonies and everything
in between, which makes creating a top ten list all the more
difficult. My tastes and favorites constantly evolve as I get older
and experience more game music and more of life in general, so
consider this list as only a snapshot of my current preferences. As
with my previous music lists I recognize that musical taste is highly
subjective, but feel free to let me know your favorites in the
comments: I'm always on the lookout for more great music!