Saturday, February 16, 2013

Year in Review: Game Soundtracks

When thinking over the last year, since we started this blog, there's a few video game soundtracks this year that have gotten, and sometimes held, my attention.  Some are new, some are old, here are the video game soundtracks I've been listening to:


VVVVVV soundtrack is fantastic.  The music really plays well into this game, helping to enhance the sensation of different atmospheric regions in a game that is very minimal, graphically. Case in point being the first time you leave the ship and go into the more open regions. The song for that region is sort of big and adventure-y. I got a feeling of invitation to explore, like in a zelda or metroid game.

I enjoyed PPPPPP so much that it spent a couple months of regular play on my  mp3 player.  Thank you to the Humble Bundles for including soundtracks as a regular feature of purchase.  What a great business model!

I've checked out some of SoulEye's other work, and unfortunately I haven't enjoyed it as much as PPPPPP.  This may be due to the sounds not having that 'lo-fi' edge, or it may be that the songs don't have an association with a game-environment, which has made the songs of PPPPPP more personal.

Bastion Original Sountrack
Darren Korb

the Bastion soundtrack is a really cool atmospheric blend of acoustic guitar and electronic music. I recommend this one, and I've listened to it a number of times.  The atmospheric blend of acoustic and electronic music works really well when I've got my mp3 player on random.  I feel like the moody grooves of the Bastion soundtrack will have a wide-reaching and long-lasting appeal.

I didn't play much of Bastion because it doesn't run that well on my computer - lots of slowdown.

Proteus Worms Present:  Nodeland Dreams and Memories (Proteus)
David Kanaga

Proteus soundtrack is very involved with the gameplay.  I don't think of it as something I'd want to put on my mp3 player to listen to at work - except, that might actually work.  Ideally, I would want recordings of someone actually playing the game, rather than some sort of generic soundtrack-thing or remix, a-la bit.trip.runner.  I believe Jaconion will be bringing more on that game's soundtrack to you.

This album is just one, ten-minute track, and was free to download with the game purchase at - I've only just downloaded it, so I can't review it as a stand-alone item until I've given it a few listens.  I enjoy gushing about all things Proteus, so I'll be sure to give due attention to this soundtrack.


A couple classic soundtracks that have been bouncing around in my mp3 player:

Mega Man I
Manami Matsumae & Yoshihiro Sakaguchi
Mega Man II
Takashi Tateishi, Manami Matsuma & Yoshihiro Sakaguchi
Mega Man III
Yasuaki Fujita

These sountracks are, like the games themselves, classic action game soundtracks.  Mega Man II gets lots of love, and it is well deserved.  Megaman III is nearly as good, but seems to have learned everything it knows from II.  I also has some catchy tunes, particularly Iceman, imo, and is interesting because the mold had not been settled yet on what Mega Man was to be.  (It even had a score)

Many thanks to my esteemed colleague, Jaconian, for turning me on to these and many other 8-bit soundtracks.  Without his hard work and research and others like him, I would have no idea how available video game music can be.  

Secret of Mana
Hiroki Kikuta

I really love the secret of Mana sountrack.  This one returns to rotation again and again.  I can just look at the cover art and listen to the soundtrack and I am brought to a happy place.  What I wouldn't give for an online remake of this game.


Honorable Mention:  I downloaded the Super Brothers - Sword and Sworcery EP - soundtrack, by Jim Guthrie,  but I haven't actually listened to it.  Just one of those things I haven't gotten around to doing.  This doesn't bode well for the soundtrack - which initially made a good impression on me.  If I do end up listening to, and enjoying these songs, I'll be sure to post about it here.

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