From the catchy 8-bit era of the 80s to the beautiful orchestrated sounds of the 90s, music has always played an integral role in video games. Catchy beats and sweeping soundtracks can make even dullest game memorable, and without music most of our favorite games would simply be forgotten. This list certainly brings back a lot of memories, so go grab a pair of headphones and join us as we take a look at some of best soundtracks from the past classics to current titles. Just don’t blame us if you end up having any of these tracks stuck in your head for the rest of the day!
1. Super Mario Bros. (1985)
Super Mario Bros. has received critical acclaim since it graced our TV screens back in 1985 and its success quickly put Nintendo at the forefront of the video game industry. These days, when you hear the phrase, “video game music,” there’s a pretty good chance the original Super Mario Bros. theme will start playing in your head. Folks who don’t even play video games know this timeless classic and it still appears in every Mario game to this day.
Koji Kondo was the brains behind Super Mario Bros. six-song score and his work was one of the major forces in the shift towards music becoming an integral part of gaming. The colourful 2D levels of the Mushroom Kingdom were brought to life with Kondo’s whimsical and bouncy 8-bit beats. Every song was carefully constructed so that it complemented the sound effects made when Mario jumps, breaks blocks, falls and warps down pipes. We still can’t help put crack a smile every time we here this iconic theme.
2. Chrono Trigger (1995)
Chrono Trigger’s brilliant musical score was primarily composed by Yasunori Mitsuda, with contributions from veteran Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu. Mitsuda wanted to create music that wouldn't fit into any established genre and worked hard to deliver music that would fit into an imaginary world. For example, the opening theme delivers soft, ominous tones which capture the mystery behind the game’s time travel elements, while the bombastic beat of drums later on helps convey a sense of adventure and danger.
Chrono Trigger’s music and various character themes really help make its world feel alive and add even more character to the game’s loveable cast. As a result, Square’s classic time travel RPG delivered us with some truly captivating experiences as we fought our way through various forests, cities, and dungeons. The game's ending theme, “To Far Away Times” was certainly a befitting farewell to the 16-bit era and one that still leaves us misty-eyed to this day.
3. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (1998)
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is still regarded by many critics as one of the greatest video games ever made. It’s not hard to see why this Nintendo 64 classic received such high praise, especially when it introduced so many ambitious mechanics. However, without Koji Kondo’s sweeping orchestral score, Link’s time travelling tale wouldn’t be the same. From the upbeat, cheery theme of the Kokiri Forest, to the deeply eerie nature of the Forest Temple, Ocarina of Time delivers some of the most memorable soundtracks we’ve ever heard. Few things are more exhilarating than fighting Ganon atop the remains of his crumbled castle as the sombre tones of Ganon’s theme rumble in the background.