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The Best Video Game Music of All Time

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When it comes to the best video game music, everyone has their own (wrong) opinion. Here is our completely irrefutable list!
Top Lists The Best Video Game Themes Music
What makes a video game soundtrack the "best of all time?" Is it simply the most iconic? Perhaps it brings about the most pathetic, baby-faced weeping imaginable out of you. Maybe it's just a nostalgic longing for the past when you were care-free enough to actually play games.

I don't really know. Regardless, this list is 100% factual and all differing opinions are completely wrong.

8. The Golden Sun Series


Surprise! I bet the majority of you have never even heard about these games, much less absorbed the soundtrack. Despite appearing on the Game Boy Advance, the original Golden Sun games had incredible depth which was never surpassed by any other games on the system. Hell, I doubt they've been surpassed by any handheld game to date.

The themes were no exception to the outstanding quality exhibited in all other aspects of the series.

Golden Sun: Main Theme


Golden Sun's theme is adventurous, energetic, and catchy. What more is needed for an epic adventure on your handheld while your mom drives you to Wal Mart?



Golden Sun: The Lost Age


While more broad in scope and style than the original game's theme, TLA's track certainly doesn't disappoint.



After largely defining my childhood, these themes hold a special nostalgic place in my heart... So they're on this "best of all time" list. Deal with it.

u mad?

7. Halo


Female vocalizations are commonly used in movie soundtracks to induce a sense of ancient sword-and-sandals warfare (Gladiator, Troy, Kingdom of Heaven, etc). Taking this lesson to heart, the producers behind the Halo theme clearly believed that, in turn, surely male vocalizations must bring about a futuristic, alien-warfare-esque feeling.

Okay, maybe I made that up. It doesn't matter how they came up with it - it clearly worked.

Halo Theme


The following combines both the famous vocalizations in the opening suite and one of the better action-oriented themes that's become synonymous with the series.



It's unusual when a game in a futuristic setting utilizes instrumental music almost exclusively. I'm certainly glad they decided against the easy electronic/organic cop-out, because the final result was great.

6. Assassin's Creed II


It's often difficult for games to capture the emotions and magnitude of terrible events in the lives of the characters. Fortunately, AC:II nailed it - and it has the following track to thank.

Ezio's Family


IT WAS HIS FAMILY, DAMN YOU.



Manly tears were shed.

5. Metal Gear Solid


Metal Gear Solid has blessed us with many fantastic games and music over the years. The following two themes, however, are worthy of their own specific mention.

Metal Gear Solid 2


Sure, it may start out rather slow (skip to about 3:04 for the memorable part of it), the composer may have ripped it off from some vague Russian composer, and it may have grossly inconsistent sections, but...



Isn't that shit just great?

Metal Gear Saga


God I loved this theme playing MGS4. In fact, it's one of the only video game themes that I actually have on iTunes and my player. Don't judge me; you're reading this loser's article.



Unlike MGS 2's theme, the pacing is excellent; it really builds off of the best of the previous soundtracks in the series.

4. The Elder Scrolls Series


There is simply no series that has main themes more absolutely fucking epic and content-appropriate than those in The Elder Scrolls. Seriously, find one. Try. I dare you.

Morrowind Main Theme


It's much more subtle than either of the more recent Oblivion or Skyrim themes, but that's certainly not a mark against it. If you're not necessarily a fan of "subtle," it really picks up around 1:10; you're missing out if you don't listen to it all the way through.



Oblivion Main Theme


The scope of the theme is just as impressive and dignified as that of the game. The opening is aggressive and really just utterly fantastic all around.



Skyrim Main Theme


As an ardent theme critic, I was almost more anxious about Skyrim's theme than the game content itself prior to release. How could a theme possibly live up to the two predecessors above? It wasn't likely, I said. Not likely at all.



I was wrong. Can you even imagine a more perfect track for the game's Scandinavian roots? I can't. I swear this video was me when I first watched the trailer.

3. The Legend of Zelda


Cue the flaming because this isn't number one.

The Legend of Zelda series has a pretty big case for having the number one soundtrack of all time. Choose a game, any game, and it has a great compilation of music.

The Wind Waker: Main Theme


One of my favorites. It's an original take on the well-established Zelda themes, and is catchy as all hell.



Hmmm... hm. Hmmm.. hm. Do dee da do dee da da da-da do dee da da da-da do dee do da da da dadadadeeedaaaaa...

Damn, that's too fast to keep up to and I type 100+ WPM.

Series Theme


Now this is just about as classic as you can get.



Listen to that and tell me you don't want to go cut grass and save a princess, eh? Maybe this time she'll put out.

2. Final Fantasy VII


Annnnd here we are, numero... Duo? Yep, that's right - FF7 isn't number 1 either. It does, however, easily deserve one of the top spots in any soundtrack list. I'm going to carry this game's banner forever; the haters may as well get used to it.

There are few games that have as many iconic, genre-defining tracks. Those of you who STILL have yet to play it are missing out. Trust me. I played it for my first time just a year or two ago and the story still holds up very well.

One Winged Angel


One of the best boss themes for inarguably one of the most iconic game villains of all time.



The theme is intimidating enough without having to face the most hyped-up, all-powerful video-game demi-god of all time. Holy hyphens.

Those Chosen by the Planet


Aggressive. Menacing. Sephiroth! Wait, shit - where?!



Tell me you can listen to that without having a slow trickle of urine running down your pant leg.

Aerith's Theme


This is just plain sad. Again, many of you probably haven't played the game to know why, but jesus, can I just have a minute here? There's something in my eyes.



I had a sad.

1. Final Fantasy X


Say what you want about the over-the-top voice acting and other odd Japanese-style antics in Final Fantasy X... You just can't say their soundtrack was bad.

The reason FFX is our top choice - and a resounding one at that - is because you could list virtually any of its tracks as an example of a phenomenal soundtrack. With that said, here are three of the best it has to offer.

To Zanarkand


I turned on the 'ol PS2 and loaded up FFX to the start menu. Then I heard this.



It's one of my favorite piano pieces of all time, including those in traditional classical music. In a game as reliant on emotion as this one, it's a good thing they had such a powerful theme.

The Hymn of the Fayth


If the following was actually the basis of a religion...



I would join it. I don't care how ridiculous the concept is, that is some powerful stuff.

Yuna's Theme


A simple melody for one of the more beloved female heroes in the FF universe. This track is sure to summon the nostalgia of FFX fans.


Let's just leave her character with this and pretend FFX-2 never happened.

Unfortunately... That's it! Feel free to cry out and bemoan about how I'm a jackass in the comments below to your heart's content.

Skyrim > All. Okay, fine, it was the only one I actually listened to...

Final Fantasy VII?

That's a weird way to spell Shadow of the Colossus.

Skyrim > All. Okay, fine, it was the only one I actually listened to...

 

So out of this masterful list the only song you actually listened to was the one you knew? That's just lame. Skyrim has a good main theme but compared to the other games I listed it's only one good track; can't say I remember any others and I just played it.

 

Final Fantasy VII?

That's a weird way to spell Shadow of the Colossus.

 

I actually have a few games that I left out for time's sake last night, but that wasn't even in the top 10. I don't remember a single song from it, which is pretty damning. Maybe you could link me to your favorite?

Everyone knows RuneScape got the best soundtrack.Well, actually I sometimes quite like it. Possibly just because of the memories though. They are quite catchy though. I actualy thought Aerith's theme sounded a bit like RuneScape music.

Everyone knows RuneScape got the best soundtrack.Well, actually I sometimes quite like it. Possibly just because of the memories though. They are quite catchy though. I actualy thought Aerith's theme sounded a bit like RuneScape music.

 

Mentions RuneScape on a "Best Sountracks of All Time" article... *sighs*. I won't even begin to go into that. Actually, I'll say one sentence: RuneScape was not only not good, it was downright awful to the extent that 98% of players turned the music completely off because the tunes were so aggravating.

 

You have a great point with the memories, though. The best soundtracks to each of us on a personal level are going to be those that have the greatest sense of nostalgia, as that's largely the point behind music. Video games in particular use the soundtracks to evoke a specific emotion or memory. If that's RuneScape for you, then no one can say otherwise.

So out of this masterful list the only song you actually listened to was the one you knew? That's just lame. Skyrim has a good main theme but compared to the other games I listed it's only one good track; can't say I remember any others and I just played it.

 

Why do all Americans say lame? Can't stand that damn word, lol. Lol, I was in a rush, only checking this, might listen to it later, can't atm.

I actually have a few games that I left out for time's sake last night, but that wasn't even in the top 10. I don't remember a single song from it, which is pretty damning. Maybe you could link me to your favorite?

That would have to be A Violent Encounter, the theme of the 2nd Colossus, Quadratus.

That would have to be A Violent Encounter, the theme of the 2nd Colossus, Quadratus.

 

It's a great battle track, but overall I wouldn't call it one of the "overall" best of all time. All of the games that I listed have good battle music too, but I tried to really hit the individual songs that could completely define a game alone. Or tracks that would be iconic and instantly recognizable to everyone that played it, and many that didn't.

 

Also, now that I've had a day to think about this list (I did all of the above in one sitting), I'm beginning to really think FFX should be #1. It really is a shame that some of you haven't played the FF games when they weren't absolute trash (13).

 

I'm also planning on adding more soundtracks that will bump the list to 10-15. Just didn't have time last night.

I mean, it's a good battle track, but overall I wouldn't call it one of the best of all time. All of the games that I listed have good battle music too, but I tried to really hit the stuff that could completely define a game alone. Or tracks that would be iconic and instantly recognizable to everyone that played it, and many that didn't.

How about this song, from Ico?

How about this song, from Ico?

Eh, not really a fan of it. Again, this goes back to what Eric said about memories, though. That's really why people love a certain theme: nostalgia. I never played Ico so I can't really relate to it.

 

I guess it might be more constructive for me to ask what you thought of my picks too, since I'm assuming you hadn't heard many of them prior to this. Do you still think they're good without having that connection with memories of playing the game? 

You know whats sad?...

 

I actually have a few games that I left out for time's sake last night, but that wasn't even in the top 10. 

...I had to reread this 3 times because I kept reading it as saké and so it made no sense

 

You know whats even more sad?...

Spoiler
 

 

Sorry for the random interruption. I think it may have been caused by a combination of me being tired (from lack of sleep) and slightly delusional (from trying to install stuff after upgrading my computer to a 64bit os)

I was being ironic about the RuneScape music being good, however I meant the part with nostalgia. I know RuneScape music is crap. I never have it turned on.

Okay David. Listened to ALL of them. Still love Skyrim + Morrowind though, but that's obviously because those are the only 2 I've really played. (come@mebrah)

 

They are all awesome though!

I'm looking to expand the list to about 15 or so. I have a few from the night I made this that I didn't have time to add, but I also want suggestions so I don't have to do this again. Uncharted, Halo, etc, etc.

*listens to FFX sound tracks; remembers the jaw dropping cut sceens; Memories come pouring back in a surge of emotion comparable to the waves in 2012 movie *

"No Tidus come back!"

"Screw you Wakka and your spiked hair"

"o shit Rikku is kinda hot <3"

"BLITZBALL <3 <3 <3"

"lul final boss was easy"

"stupid seymour, WHY, WON'T, YOU, DIE!"

"haha Kimahri is a kitty"

 

THE FEELS ;_;

I'm looking to expand the list to about 15 or so. I have a few from the night I made this that I didn't have time to add, but I also want suggestions so I don't have to do this again. Uncharted, Halo, etc, etc.

Shadow of the Colossus

Super Mario Galaxy (1 & 2)

Tecmo Koei hack n' slash games (Dynasty Warriors, Fist of the North Star, etc.)

Cave Story

Sonic Adventure (1 & 2)

excuse me you missed out halo, that soundtrack won awards

excuse me you missed out halo, that soundtrack won awards

 

Yeah, it's one that I'm going to add. Didn't have it originally due to time constraints at 3am when I was typing this. ;)

 

It will probably be the new 7th.

Yeah, it's one that I'm going to add. Didn't have it originally due to time constraints at 3am when I was typing this. ;)

 

It will probably be the new 7th.

 

well as long as its up there

Updated it to reflect my daily changes and whims.


    [*]Added Halo at #7.
    [*]FFX now #1 (also added Yuna's Theme).
    [*]FF7 now #2, and...
    [*]Zelda now #3 (blasphemy?)
    [/list]

    Still considering SotC. Also, thoughts on UC3? Main theme is good, not so sure about the rest. 

     

    I had a full counter-argument already prepared for what I thought was Blake's inevitable flame about TF2 or Minecraft or something. Not sure if I'm disappointed or glad.

I'm thinking I need to replay FFX when I get back home 

angry argonian
Apr 05 2013 09:01 PM

MG2 then TES. I said it so get mad @ me if you will.

angry argonian
Apr 05 2013 09:08 PM

So out of this masterful list the only song you actually listened to was the one you knew? That's just lame. Skyrim has a good main theme but compared to the other games I listed it's only one good track; can't say I remember any others and I just played it.

 

I actually have a few games that I left out for time's sake last night, but that wasn't even in the top 10. I don't remember a single song from it, which is pretty damning. Maybe you could link me to your favorite?

Ahh, there are so many I love, especially the City Gates

  

and the Far Horizons

 

 I also like Jerall Mountains

 

but it's from Oblivion and Morrowind too.

Ahh, there are so many I love, especially the City Gates and the Far Horizons  I also like Jerall Mountains but it's from Oblivion and Morrowind too.

 

Yeah, those are definitely fantastic tracks. I might have been too critical when I said that TES games are generally only notable for their main themes. I suppose I just meant that, relative to Zelda and a few of the Final Fantasy games, I can't really justify moving them even higher.

 

4th is still a great ranking. With that said, I still think that if the average gamer listened to a random track that wasn't the game's main theme, they'd have a better chance of recognizing a Zelda/FF score.

angry argonian
Apr 08 2013 08:14 PM

Yeah, those are definitely fantastic tracks. I might have been too critical when I said that TES games are generally only notable for their main themes. I suppose I just meant that, relative to Zelda and a few of the Final Fantasy games, I can't really justify moving them even higher.

 

4th is still a great ranking. With that said, I still think that if the average gamer listened to a random track that wasn't the game's main theme, they'd have a better chance of recognizing a Zelda/FF score.

 

I understand you perfectly on that. Me, on the other hands, wasn't one of the lucky ones who grew up with the FF series, so I'm not as inclined to their music (but I still think they are beautiful). I would probably rate Zelda as a tie with #2 (MG2), with a close 3rd by Final Fantasy series. 

 

MG2 then TES. I said it so get mad @ me if you will.

 

I am also sorry to anyone that got the wrong idea from this. I didn't want to sound offensive, I just wnated to say that if anyone wanted to argue or get mad about my idea, they can. Just a shout out to people who go the wrong message. 

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