Top 8 Most Timeless Video Game Theme Songs

Top 8 Most Timeless Video Game Theme SongsMembers of Generation X and Y have an extra pop culture medium associated with their childhood: Video Games. The platform gave birth to a new form of visual entertainment, and gave birth to a entirely new method of interactive storytelling. While the first video games were fairly rudimentary, it wasn’t long before they grew sophisticated in scope and story, especially those dealing with science fiction or fantasy elements. And many of these games featured timeless music — themes that have permeated through generations of upgraded hardware and pixel density. It’s not easy playing favorites with such a deep pool of possibilities, but here is a cursory guess at the top 8. From 8-bit classics to modern day full orchestration.

8. Mega Man (1987)

The Mega Man series made a killing off the popularity of its multi-stage play, as well as its incredibly memorable music. Each “boss” robot had its own recognizable theme, and the games always kept these themes as varied as they were interesting. For me, the most beloved of these series of themes is the Mega Man 2 set, although I would venture a guess some might prefer the updated electric guitar MIDI used for Mega Man X. Either way, it’s a dynasty of a franchise with an emphasis on memorable music.

 

 

7. Halo (2001)

Halo is one of the best modern examples of an instantly noticeable and different theme. The haunting Gregorian chant, mixed with sparse imagery of the titular machine floating in space sums up the series quite nicely, and stands as one of the best uses of score as an unforgettable part of the experience. It sneaks on here due to its sheer influence in the way modern video games are scored with original material.

 

 

6. Donkey Kong Country (1994)

No one seemed to know the importance of franchise music quite like old-school Nintendo. After the success of a certain related plumber, their Donkey Kong series also featured some of the most recognizable and unique themes known to video games.

 

 

5. Chrono Trigger (1995)

Considered by many to be one of (if not) the best RPG and/or best game of all time, it’d be hard to separate Chrono Trigger‘s innovative gameplay, compelling story, and instantly classic music. Just one listen is enough to transport any player back to AD 600, or forward to AD 2300, or back to 65,000,000 BC…

 

 

4. Sonic The Hedgehog (1991)

Sega mostly failed when it came to taking on the massive franchises of Nintendo in the early console wars, but Sonic was undoubtedly a win. The brash and feisty gameplay, mixed with a snappy, slick set of tunes for levels made Sonic a much cooler alternative to the bubbly Super Mario series. And the music was a big part of that perceived cool.

 

 

3. Final Fantasy (1987)

Like Mega Man (or perhaps more so), The Final Fantasy series had unique music for each of its numerous titles — but each one was so quality, and several so memorable, that the series is almost as well known for its intricate scoring as its sprawling stories. Here are two memorable compostions, one from Final Fantasy VI, and the main theme from Final Fantasy VII, although we’re sure you have your own personal favorites.

 

 

2. The Legend Of Zelda (1986)

It’d be tough to deny that The Legend Of Zelda has one of the most classic themes in all of the video game universe. Like most of the top picks on our list, it started in the 80s as an 8-bit opus, and still survives today as a sprawling set of fully-formed orchestral variations on the theme. It’s a beloved tentpole Ninetndo franchise, with exceptional scoring.

 

 

1. Super Mario Brothers (1985)

Is there anything more well known in the video game universe than the original Super Mario Brothers theme music? This theme has proliferated through countless sequels and spinoffs, derivatives and distant relatives, not to mention covers, variations, and general YouTube recreational fame. Instantly recognizable, and timelessly ingrained in pop culture, it is the theme by which all others influence is measured.

Did we miss any? Let us know your favorite timeless video game music in the comments.

 

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Joe Puglisi is an NYU grad and the Managing Editor of Baeblemusic. You can email him at joep (at) baeblemusic.com if you want him to listen to your music, go to your show, or write nice things about you. In his spare time he enjoys haunting New York’s rock clubs, a nice whiskey, and tweeting. Baeblemusic brings to its growing audience exclusive video and editorial programming focused on highlighting the most interesting music acts of today across the country. Their voice is positive — they are fans — here to bring a curated and exclusive selection of artists and editorial to their devoted audience.


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Joe Puglisi / Baeblemusic
Joe Puglisi
Joe Puglisi is an NYU grad and the Managing Editor of Baeblemusic. You can email him at joep (at) baeblemusic.com if you want him to listen to your music, go to your show, or write nice things about you. In his spare time he enjoys haunting New York's rock clubs, a nice whiskey, and tweeting. Baeblemusic brings to its growing audience exclusive video and editorial programming focused on highlighting the most interesting music acts of today across the country. Their voice is positive -- they are fans -- here to bring a curated and exclusive selection of artists and editorial to their devoted audience.
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  • Neuhaus smith
  • Limonessmith

    I have really Like it songs .
    https://www.facebook.com/ilovebiggboss

  • Hyoscine

    I think the Silent Hill series deserves a mention…

  • http://www.facebook.com/terri.black.735 Terri Black

    Oh, I knew Zelda would be mentioned. It HAD to be mentioned. I get emotional over Legend of Zelda. (Especially the Nintendo 64, “Ocarina Of Time”).

  • http://www.facebook.com/ohmyigod.itworks Ohmyigod ItWorks

    you missed Leisure Suit Larry series .

  • Humberto

    What? No Tetris on the list?! Blasphemous!

    • Jerry S.

      Reading the headline, I was sure Tetris is #1 on this list. What a disappointment!

    • http://www.facebook.com/rick.desper Rick Desper

      That’s the first one I thought of.

  • A-rodge

    Metroid Prime had some of the best modern video game music. I think it deserves a mention here.

  • nickdavo

    How could you miss Manic Miner!!! If there was ever game music to take me back to being 12 years old, that would be it.

  • DogSwallow

    Not “timeless” per se, but some of the best themes include the Toe Jam & Earl Theme, Silver Surfer for NES, F-Zero, and Battletoads (something really dark and odd about Battletoads especially).

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1540148895 Brian A. Taylor

    Going to agree with a few points below (Gameboy Tetris song A and F-Zero for example), and add a few that gamers would know. Metal Gear Solid 2′s theme, Bloody Tears from the Castlevania series, Ryu’s theme from Street Fighter 2, most of the songs in Soul Calibur, the metroid intro, or the intermission song from metroid, the Doctor Mario theme, etc.. It’s hard to condense a list like this because there are TONS of amazing game soundtracks, just seems like the author was most into gaming during the 16-bit era. Nothing wrong with that but still.

  • aiden

    What about chuck rock for the sega game gear?

  • http://gspirits.com/ Zod

    The Halo music is majestic!

  • Jimbo

    Manic Miner? Not in the top 8? You’ve never lived…..

  • Sam

    What about Metal Gear Solid???

  • Jeff

    Copy/ paste from another site…. Fucking play some games; eg. Deus ex, best theme song ever