I’ve done the improbable before by ranking the Zelda series, the Final Fantasy series, my favorite game for every year I’ve been alive, and my Top Ten Games of all time (which I recently updated…plug, plug, plug). Here I’m going to attempt something that might be even harder: ranking my ten favorite video game tracks of all time.
While your list will inevitably be different than mine, these are MY favorite video game tracks of all time, not THE best video game tracks of all time. I’m not a music major and don’t claim to have any real insight into the world of music, so I couldn’t possibly rank music based on anything other than simply liking the tracks I like.
When making the list these were the first songs that came to mind immediately, and the ones I most recognize and love from my history of gaming.
10: Kingdom Hearts – Simple and Clean
It might seem trite to some now, but when I first fired up Kingdom Hearts and saw the amazing intro song and cinematic I was blown away. YouTube wasn’t a thing back then, and I didn’t buy a ton of videogame soundtracks at the time either. So instead I simply would turn on the PS2 and let it run the opening scene over and over while doing chores.
Sure, it might have permanently cemented Haley Joel Osment’s voice in my head, but considering how amazing the song is, I think it was worth it.
9: Final Fantasy VII – One Winged Angel
I mean, just listen to it. It was unlike anything I’d heard in a game before, with the choir sounding off in the background and sharp notes punctuating the battle with the main baddie’s name ringing out now and again. It is one of the most amazing battle tracks in gaming, and easily deserves its place on this list.
8: Final Fantasy X – Suteki De Na
Yes, this list is going to have plenty of Final Fantasy on it, but with good reason. I was addicted to the series growing up, and it is a franchise that is well known for having some of the best game music out there. This one might not be as well known as others, and I really struggled with choosing this or ‘To Zanarkand’ as my number eight track.
When I was younger though, my older brother had bought the full soundtrack for the game, and burned all four discs for me. I would listen to this song to help me fall asleep at night, and even now can sing the majority of it by memory, Japanese lyrics and all. It is such a pretty and relaxing song, I couldn’t help but put it on the list.
7: Kid Icarus Main Theme
I remember absolutely loving the Kid Icarus theme when I was younger, it was so different from anything I’d heard before it. While it may not be the most obvious of wonderful Nintendo themes, it certainly has stuck with me through the years. It doesn’t hurt that Kid Icarus is also one of my favorite NES games, and that this main theme was always playing at my house as I struggled with the game dying over and over before conquering it.
6: Halo 2 Main Theme
Although I like the Mjolnir Mix more, the original has to get mad props. The monks starting their singing in the background, the electric guitar, the swell of the music before the biggest fights. This is one of the reasons I love Halo, and it still gets my heart pumping on a daily basis as a permanent member of my workout mix.
5: Super Mario Main Theme
It has been remixed a million times, but you just can’t beat the original. Chances are that even if you aren’t a gamer humming just a few notes of this song will instantly let anyone listening know what game is on your mind. While the Mario series has dozens of tracks that could easily qualify for this list, you simply can’t beat the most classic among them.
4: Final Fantasy VI Opera Music
Travel back in time with me to 1994, and you’ll find a boy that was obsessed with Final Fantasy VI. I wrote physical fan guides, had my own fan site, and printed off and memorized the lyrics to this very song. Although I could easily put a lot of other stellar tracks from this game on my list, this one was the most iconic in my opinion. It certainly had a great impact on me, and the scene it accompanied was unlike anything I’d seen in gaming before.
3: Ocarina of Time Gerudo Valley
There are a ton of Zelda tunes that deserve a spot in the video game music hall of fame, but I think this one is second only to the next title on my list. It is near sheer videogame music perfection, and provides a wonderful tension while also being just a fantastically snappy song.
2: Legend of Zelda Main Theme
Zelda is my favorite video game series, and so this track is forged into the soundtrack of my gaming history. Whenever my phone rings, this is the tune that blares out from my pocket, and it is one that I can hum or whistle the entirety to on demand. Outside of the Mario theme, I fail to think of any other videogame theme that is as instantly recognizable, and utterly fantastic. There have been tons of different versions of this, and I’m partial to the orchestra one myself, but you can’t go wrong with any of them.
1: Chrono Trigger: Frog’s Theme
I could probably fill this list entirely with Chrono Trigger music, and nobody would really be able to argue with it. However, in my opinion one track stands above all others in gaming, and that is Frog’s epic theme music. It is sweeping and heroic, and instantly gets me in the mood for adventure. In fact, it resides alongside Halo 2’s Main Theme on my workout mix, it pumps me up that much.
Watching Frog cleave a mountain in two whilst this music blares in the background is one of my favorite moments in all of gaming, and it handily cements this at my top spot.
Well, there you have it. My completely subjective, biased, video gaming top ten music list. I’m very interested to hear which you agree with, or see your own list in the comments below.