It occurred to me the other day while sitting down and playing video games on my xBox (One for the gamers) that video game soundtracks are more often than not, pretty badass. Be it blasting away noobs in Call of Duty or whacking zombies in Dead Rising you’ve got to have an appropriate soundtrack that just works with the action, be it the simple nature of the game or its open world environment in space, it just needs to work.
This seemed like a better time than ever to take a wider look at both classic and new games that have already used electronic sounds to create something special that has lasted or will last the years to come. If a young gamer can take something from the Tetris theme song or appreciate a Flying Lotus beat from Grand Theft Auto V and use it somehow in their lives, they must be doing something right.
Furthermore with the explosion of electronic dance music globally we think it’d be pretty great if some artists both old and new were more involved in the creation of game soundtracks, no doubt stars like Dash Berlin or Flume could paint a moving picture in a racing game or Flosstradamus or Dillon Francis in a badass beat ‘em up. It’s all there!
Who would you want to see create a video game soundtrack?
5. Super Mario Bros (1985)
Gotta start from the roots right? Although only 6 tracks long there aren’t many game theme songs that have had such a timeless nature, that is if you can stand the obnoxious dribble of Tetris. Composer and Nintendo employee Koji Kondo managed to knock two out of the park not only creating the iconic music for the side scroller but also for the legend of Zelda series – what a guy! Even without any training or dedication to music its somewhat a miracle he managed to create the most memorable of them all “Ground Theme” on an everyday piano. Check him slaying out the original tune live below.
4. Command & Conquer – Red Alert (1996)
Composer Frank Klepacki was only 17 when he started writing music for video games, although having scored a number it was the Command & Conquer series that really brought his talents to life. His knack for apocalyptic soundscapes that meld horrifying samples ie boots stomping and pulsating electronic rhythms led to the ‘Red Alert’ OST that sticks true to me from the countless hours I spent building Athena Tanks and attack dogs. Franks tools of the trade? An ASR-10 sampler, a Roland S760 sampler and a Roland JD-990 synth module.
3. Mortal Kombat (2011)
The biggest announcement for the 2011 leg of the Mortal Kombat series was the soundtrack with notable contributions from producers Run DMT, Bird Peterson, LA Riots and JFK of MSTRKRFT among others. With such a strong cast the game was somewhat overshadowed by the official soundtrack but did reveal some killer ideas, sort of like when Daft Punk tried their hand at the Tron OST. Goro’s them was one that really stood out for us and helped us tear apart victims for a final fatality.
2. Titanfall (2014)
The newest game on the list is Titatanfall, a futuristic first person shooter that phases between human and mech combat so obviously there was going to be electronic elements in this one. Feeling more like a grown up Command & Conquer the sounds are developed to meet the standards of modern consoles. Uplifting, big, bold and deep, game composer Stephen Barton who also wrote scores for Call of Duty 4: Modern Warefare (the best in the series) has worked a treat in adding suspense and meat to an already impressive game.
1. Grand Theft Auto V (2013)
What can’t be said about the Grand Theft Auto V game let alone the gigantic track selection via the internal radio with 17 stations and 240 tracks equating to something like 30 non-stop hours of music! Both Soulwax and Flying Lotus managed to nab their own freakin’ stations while Cashmere Cat, Hudson Mohawke, Shadow Child, Aphex Twin, Stardust, DJ Mehdi, Miami Horror and many many more earned spots through the jam packed game of the year.
Did we miss any? Pop them below but be sure they include some electronic elements and they could make the second part of the series. Those that want throwdown against us on xBox One add us, username: StoneyRoads