Video game music has traversed a vast trajectory from the simple melodies to complex soundtracks. Today, it is not only a genre in itself but there are even concerts where only video game soundtracks are performed. And why not, considering the video game music has metamorphosed to be akin to full orchestral pieces and licensed popular music. In fact, at times they even vary with the actions taken by the player. Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? So, let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular Video Game soundtracks.
“The Revenge of Shinobi” published in Japan in 1989 as ‘The Super Shinobi’ is a cult in itself when it comes to video game soundtracks. Yuzo Koshiro is the composer for the sound track of this classic. It is undoubtedly one of the most popular video game soundtracks having been performed in various concerts like the ‘Fourth Symphonic Game Music Concert’ in 2006 and ‘PLAY! A Video Game Symphony’ in 2007. It was also the most voted song in Singapore June 2007.
‘Shadow of the Beast’ is a side-scrolling platform computer game which was published by Psygnosis in 1989. The game was revolutionary in its own way with more colours on screen and up to twelve levels of scrolling backdrops unheard of at that time. However, there was another aspect which made the game a classic among video game lovers and that was its soundtrack. David Whittaker composed the soundtrack for the first Beast game and Tim Wright for the second and third; all were remarkable and set the tone for the rest to follow.
“Legend of Mana” is the fourth game in the ‘Mana’ series and it was released in 1999. The music for this was composed by Yoko Shimomura. “The Seiken Densetsu: Legend of Mana OST” soundtrack was first released in 1999 by DigiCube. The game’s title theme music was well received and was also performed in the classical gaming music concert ‘A Night in Fantasia 2007’.
‘Grand Theft Auto’ is a video game series. The soundtrack comprises of voice acting and radio stations with a lot of R&B and Hip Hop/Rap which has a whole list of tracks popular among the video game aficionados. “Grand Theft Auto: Vice City OST – Greatest Hits” is one such compilation.
‘Super Star Wars’ was a game based on Star Wars Episode-IV, released in 1992, and then again re-released almost two decades later on the virtual console in 2009. The game relied on the high quality sample playback capabilities, thus making the audio-visual experience of the game worth relishing. It was perhaps one of the most successful transformations of a movie to a game with excellent soundtrack, too.
‘Tales of Phantasia’ is a Super Nintendo Game which was published by Namco in 1995. It was so successful that it was also remade for PlayStation, Game Boy Advance and PlayStation Portable. The soundtrack was composed by veteran composer Motoi Sakuraba and Shinji Tamura. ‘Tales of Phantasia’ was praised for its background music with its composers also having cameos in the game.
‘Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium’ is a role playing game which was published in 1993 and was the last of the original ‘Phantasy Star’ series of games. It is in fact one of the greatest role playing games ever with its music, too, not far behind. Having some numbers from the previous games as remixes, this is a cult classic in all respects when it comes to soundtrack in the video game genre.
‘Final Fantasy VII’ is a role playing game which was developed by Square Enix and released in the year 1997. The music was composed by Nobuo Uematsu, who is a trouper in the Video Game Music Genre. It was the first game in its series to have digitized vocals with realistic tunes. The most popular piece from its soundtrack is “Aerith’s Theme”. The music was so popular that a separate album was released titled Final Fantasy VII Reunion Tracks.
‘Streets of Rage 2’ was released by Sega in the year 1992 as a side-scrolling beat ’em up video game. The soundtrack, which was influenced by electronic dance music, like house, techno, hardcore techno and breakbeat, was composed by Yuzo Koshiro with several contributions from Motohiro Kawashima. It was in fact considered several years ahead of its time and avant-garde in the Video Game Music Genre.
This is an action role-playing game which was published by Konami in 1997. The 14thinstallment of the ‘Castlevania’ series, it became a great success through word of mouth publicity. It is in fact what could be called the cult classic of video games. But there is one feature of this instalment of the ‘Castlevania’ series which is immensely popular and that is its soundtrack. The music was composed by Michiru Yamane with elements from multiple genres like gothic rock, techno, classical, jazz and many variations of metal.