Barrett Womack (Twitter)
I’m a big fan of games in music. I’ve been listening in to game soundtracks for years – I have several on my iPod, and regularly go to check out new game music remixes at ocremix.org. However, my favorite soundtrack isn’t particularly complex – it’s Paper Mario.
I’m a sucker for Nintendo, and Paper Mario managed to take some excellent songs out of the Mario catalog and repurpose them to fill their vibrant new 2D world. It even managed to drum up completely new songs that felt completely at home in the Mario universe. While this may not be a ‘high culture’ choice, there’s not a song I don’t like from that game – every new area or situation was accompanied by music that made me smile. And far as I’m concerned, that makes it the best one around.
Jon McSwain (Twitter)
It is a difficult task to try and select which video game soundtrack is my favorite. I spent a good portion of this week reminiscing some of my all time favorites and after some tough debate decided that Mega Man II was my favorite game soundtrack of all time. I am not really certain why out of all the amazing game soundtracks that have been created I chose this one, but I just couldn’t get these songs out of my head. I love the 8-bit sounds found on most early Nintendo games and this soundtrack epitomizes that classic feel. It brings balance, speed and emotion to the Mega Man series and could be the most memorable aspect of the game. I would be willing to bet that at this very moment many of you reading this are humming Wood Man stage, or Air Man stage because those songs just stick with you. They are just memorable.
These songs go a step beyond the norm because they were so epic. You couldn’t play through the game and not become consumed by the driving and addictive soundtrack that Mega Man II offered. It not only added to the gameplay, but one could argue, and I will that it was almost a focal point of the experience. With each level, a new and epic beat helped keep the frenetic pace, that was Mega Man II. At times, the music was so influential that it would even effect your play. I loved it so much that I spent hours trying to learn how to play the songs and even at times mimicking the nuances in my own creations. It truly molded the way I play music, and for that I am forever grateful.
Mega Man II was not nearly the most complex soundtrack, but it was and is a wonderful example of how the right music can influence the gameplay in such a profound and meaningful way.
Rebekah Valentine (Twitter)
When the GBA was at its peak, Nintendo/CAMELOT hired Motoi Sakuraba to compose what I believe is the best soundtrack the GBA ever saw. Though he has since added his signature style of music to many games with better-developed sound systems, I will always think that the soundtrack of Golden Sun and Golden Sun: The Lost Age, are absolute masterpieces.
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Most RPGs have a few wonderful tracks, and a bunch of unmemorable ones. I don’t think there’s a single song in either of the GBA Golden Sun titles that felt out-of-place or dull. From peaceful towns to bustling cities, deserts and forests and oceans and islands, Sakuraba manged to set the scene wherever I went. The World Map music is epic and becomes even more epic during the last phase of TLA, when everything is at stake. Each Lighthouse and Elemental Rock features a theme that perfectly characterizes the element it represents. And though limited by the capabilities of the GBA, Sakuraba effectively combines pipes, strings, chorus, brass, and percussion sounds in a way that made me believe there was a tiny orchestra inside that device.
Of all the tracks, my absolute favorite is the one that plays in the final dungeon of the first game: Venus Lighthouse. As you climb sand waterfalls, push statues, and fight chimeras, this track reminds you that every moment counts, that your journey may soon be at an end, and that you’re ending it awash in the grand element of earth at the throne of its power.
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