What is it about a great soundtrack that sticks with you for years, or even decades that you can go so long without hearing it, and still be able to hum or sing along like it was just yesterday? Are they just simply catchy tunes like Donkey Kong Country or the infamous Sonic Green Hill Zone? Maybe the earworm is the many Mario songs, or one of my absolute favorites, the Halo theme song. Or, is it the way they immerse you into the games and become more complex as a means to help tell the story, such as Gears of War or Dead Space, in a way that it perfectly blends its horrifying atmosphere, with just as shocking and anxiety inducing music, which perfectly encompasses the game? There’s something magical when a game’s music is actually part of the game itself, and not just white noise in the background to cancel out unwelcomed silence. A good soundtrack can tell you what’s happening, what’s to come, as well as evoke feelings and emotions you otherwise wouldn’t have had without it.
Of course, soundtracks can be just for fun as well, with the above-mentioned Sonic and Donkey Kong, as well as other classics like the Tetris theme. Of course, I can’t leave out my all-time favorite for nostalgia sake, the Pokemon Red and Blue opening music. I’ve been gaming since I can’t even remember, but for some reason, it’s the Pokemon Red and Blue opening music, as well as its various battle music and town tunes, that has stuck with me after all these years.
So, I would like to go back about 11 years; I know, a seemingly weird number to pick, but with a good reason. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game came out, a 2D side scrolling, beat-em-up, pixelated art style, with one of my favorite Chiptune artists at the helm of creating one of the better soundtracks I’ve heard since then, Anamanaguchi. For the longest time, when it came to music, I was one of those, “If it doesn’t have words, I don’t like it” types of people, but, over the years I’ve grown attached to soundtracks and actually paying attention to them as I’m playing games, whether it’s 8 and 16 bit chiptunes from the 80s and 90s, to the fully orchestrated compositions of today, such as the Uncharted games, and how could you forget the iconic soundtracks of Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1 and 2?
Whether you’re just now getting into gaming or a seasoned veteran of the joystick like me, there’s something out there for everyone when it comes to video game soundtracks!
Dig this? Check out the full archives of A.M. Radio, by Anthony Montalbano, here: https://vinylwritermusic.com/a-m-radio-archives/