Some Nerdly Thoughts On Video Game Music
If you enjoy playing video games, then you must at least tolerate the music that accompanies your fictitious little adventurer on his daring pursuits. The fact is, video game soundtracks are similar to movie soundtracks in that they are sometimes available on CD. If you can’t hunt down a particular soundtrack (they can be frustratingly rare, and therefore frustratingly expensive), you’ll just have to break out the ol’ Xbox, or whatever it is you own, and jam along as you play the game.
But which games have the best musical score? It would all depend on one’s particular musical tastes. If orchestral music is your thing, the Mario Galaxy line of games should prove rather enjoyable. Even Sega’s Sonic Colors drifts away from the usual rock ‘n’ roll genre that accompanies that particular line, and (sometimes) dabbles in the classical. Of course, if it is the electric guitars you favor, then you can get a good dose of that from some of the other Sonic the Hedgehog games (unless they’re the ones that date back to the early ‘90s).
You probably wouldn’t expect to get much of a musical experience out of an 8-bit video game, but if you like a heavy drum beat, and you don’t mind how tinny it sounds, you’re gonna really go for Konami’s 1988 release, Castlevania: Simon’s Quest. Just try it. You’ll know what I mean. But don’t expect to ever find the official soundtrack (I could be wrong). Another Castlevania game worth mentioning for its musical score is 1993’s Castlevania: Rondo of Blood. This game was previously unavailable here in North America, but has since been added to the Nintendo Wii Shopping Channel. The game’s music is described as being CD quality, and they’re really not kidding. Who would’ve thought a game that was originally designed for a handheld system in the early ‘90s could put out its tunes with such clarity?
Okay, moving into the field of first-person-shooters. Having rarely played these sorts of games myself (I prefer the old fashioned side-scrolling run-and-gun genre), my knowledge of these particular soundtracks is rather limited. I have gotten in a number of hours playing Rare’s 1997 video game rendition of Goldeneye, for the Nintendo 64. I find the music in this game to be okay, but sometimes it reminds me of the soundtrack of Banjo-Kazooie, released by Rare in 1998. It’s strange to keep thinking about cartoon characters hunting for magic puzzle pieces when you’re trying to gun down whole armies of bad guys who can’t aim.
There was a time when you could send away for the official soundtracks of several Nintendo 64 games for ten bucks apiece, but apparently there weren’t many takers, because these once affordable prices have now ballooned dramatically. I can only assume it’s because they’re so rare, unlike their movie counterparts, which can be nabbed for dirt cheap at any Wal-Mart. The soundtrack for Mario Galaxy 2 goes for around $135 brand new on Amazon last I checked! Seeing as how the game itself goes for less than half of that, you might very well be satisfied to simply listen while you play (and ignore all the accompanying sound effects).