One of the often-overlooked aspects video games is its soundtrack. Like movies and TV shows, you often don’t notice the music in the background as you play your favorite games, but those tunes are just as vital to creating the game’s atmosphere as any other element. The beauty of soundtracks is that they aren’t in-your-face, and yet they can still affect your mood and thoughts during the game. After all, who can forget the intensity they felt as Tetris taunted them with its catchy tune?
Although I’ve always appreciated video game soundtracks, I started really listening to them a few months ago, since the (typical) lack of lyrics and fast-paced music helps me focus on homework, writing, and other things that require concentration. Plus, because they’re usually intended to be played for indefinite period of time, I can listen to them on repeat for as long as I want. In light of that, I’ve compiled a list of seven songs from video games that I love – perhaps you’ll find a new favorite as well!
Cross-Examination ~ Allegro 2004
Ace Attorney: Trials & Tribulations
By far my favorite song in any Ace Attorney game, this more intense version of the cross-examination track from Trials & Tribulations is fantastically fitting for the game. This Allegro version plays when you start to get to the end of a witness’s testimony, adding an extra layer of suspense as you press the witness for more details in order to ascertain the truth. It’s my ringtone and my go-to track for fast-paced writing sessions, and still one of my favorite tunes from any game.
Miles Edgeworth ~ Great Revival 2013
Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies
The “Great Revival” theme made its first appearance in Ace Attorney: Justice For All, when the character Miles Edgeworth reappears after his mysterious disappearance about a year prior (many characters wrongly assumed he was dead, hence the name of the track). The theme appears a second time in Dual Destinies, remastered with an orchestral tone and sounding more epic than ever. It’s a strong theme for a commanding character, and hearing it in-game always gets me excited. Also, Edgeworth is one of my favorite characters, so I guess that helps too.
Battle! vs. Wally (Victory Road)
Pokémon OmegaRuby & AlphaSapphire
Now, I’ve played a lot of Pokémon games in my life, but I’ve never heard a trainer battle theme quite as good as this one. Just as you reach the end of Victory Road and are preparing to challenge the Elite Four (Pokémon’s version of a “final boss”) your longtime friend and rival, Wally, appears to challenge you. And he’s a formidable opponent – a far cry from the sickly boy you met at the beginning of the game. Although it isn’t the last time you’ll meet Wally, it’s an intense battle, and the music matches perfectly. Not only that, but it’s a remix of the gentle, timid music played when the player first meets Wally, showing how he’s grown and become a strong trainer in his own right.
Battle vs. Kanto Gym Leader
Pokémon HeartGold & SoulSilver
One of my favorite parts about Pokémon SoulSilver was that after collecting all eight badges in the Johto region, I could head over to the Kanto region and challenge a whole new set of gym leaders. Not only did I enjoy the added challenge, but I also liked the new music. It’s a bit more exciting than the Johto Gym Leader music, showing that you’re challenging much tougher opponents now.
Science Is Fun
Portal 2 and its predecessor are better known for their ending-credits tunes, but the music during the actual game is just as wonderful. There are plenty of great songs on the Portal 2 soundtrack, but “Science is Fun” really takes the cake. (see what I did there?) It’s very electronic, giving it a techy/sciency vibe, but it’s also a bit ominous, perfect for the atmosphere of the game. And of course, in true Portal 2 fashion, the title of the track is a bit tongue-in-cheek.
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
The Legend of Zelda series is no stranger to good music. Ever since the first game, musical instruments have played an important role in nearly every entry in the franchise, and each one has its own unique tone when it comes to the soundtrack. The Wind Waker’s main theme is no different, and it’s one of my favorites. It incorporates memorable melodies from other parts of the game, including the famous “Zelda’s Lullaby,” and the lower undertones are reminiscent of the sailing music you hear throughout the game. Every time I hear it as I turn on The Wind Waker, I know I’m in for another exciting adventure on The Great Sea.
Ballad of the Goddess (Main Theme)
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
Skyward Sword’s main theme, also called “The Ballad of the Goddess,” might just tie The Wind Waker for my favorite Zelda song. Of course, there’s the Easter Egg of the main melody being “Zelda’s Lullaby” played backwards, but more than that, this song is simply amazing. Skyward Sword was given a fully orchestrated soundtrack, which made the game sound that much more fantastic. Like with The Wind Waker’s theme, this one fills me with a sense of adventure and excitement, preparing me to soar through the skies and explore the world beneath the clouds.
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[…] A few years ago, I was just beginning my foray into video game soundtracks. I had just finished my first year of college, and during that time I discovered that while my usual playlist made it difficult for me to focus on my work, instrumental soundtracks had the opposite effect. So I wrote a blog post ranking my favorite songs at the time. […]