Music Production School Inspo: Top Video Game Soundtracks

When you think about iconic video games, what comes to mind? Long-time video game players know that good gameplay is great, but there’s a lot more that what makes games memorable, especially music production and sound design.

Iconic soundtracks of video games from past to present can immerse gamers in the virtual world almost instantly. Earlier games produced mostly electronic chirps and beeps, or simple tunes repeated over and over. Today’s games, however, not only have realistic sound effects and digitized voices but also impressive original scores.

While newer games have high-quality audio, older games have something else going for them: nostalgia. Music from a game in the past can evoke great memories of time well-spent at the arcade computer or console. Both, you can learn about in our music production school. Meanwhile, check out these heavy industry favorites that could very well inspire you to create your own.

Super Mario Bros

Unarguably the most famous plumber in the world, Mario endures as one of the world’s most loved and well-known game, TV and movie characters. Since the 1980s, his catchy, peppy theme song has accompanied our many adventures of smashing bricks, collecting mushrooms, sliding down inter-dimensional pipes, and racing up flagpoles.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mnipB_8Br8U

Street Fighter 2

There’s a reason why Nikki Minaj released a song after Street Fighter’s famous character, Chun Li. The popular gaming franchise continues to influence pop culture since its first release in 1991. The upbeat Chun Li theme song is not only iconic in the arcades, but also a symbol of female empowerment.

The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time

Of all the simple yet elegant music in Zelda, ‘Ocarina’ is considered by many to be the best of the bunch. Perhaps because of the magical ancient wind instrument that helps players solve mysteries of the past, present and future.

Halo 3

The Halo games would still be excellent first- person sci-fi shooter games even if there weren’t a shred of music. Lucky for us, they have original soundtracks that emphasize atmosphere and action, from fierce space firefights to dangerous alien landscapes. Featuring the extensive use of piano, Halo 3’s soundtrack reached Billboard 200 and received awards from Spike TV and Xplay.

Skyrim

Battle music can be bold and exciting, and there’s not much more invigorating than when a fire-breathing dragon flies at you. But it’s the ancient lyrical ballads plainly sung by tavern musicians that really cement its place as a worthwhile soundtrack.

God of War

What happens when a tough guy learns how to battle the gods themselves? You’ll find out, and along the way, experience different epic and thrilling combat, with all sorts of Northern European folk music influences. It not only features outstanding musical score but also heavy metal music from various bands.

Red Dead Redemption 2

It’s the newest game on the list, but it definitely has staying power. Set in the late 19th century, the music of this Wild West sandbox includes everything from honky-tonk piano music in saloons to poignant instrumental strains perfect for the open range.

Tetris

We bet you didn’t know Tetris was created by a Soviet Russian game designer. Inspired by the Russian folk tune, Korobeiniki, the tune starts out slow and picks up speed as the game progresses. It still lingers in your head long after you’ve given up and said “no more.”

Far Cry 5

The goal of the game is to liberate a chunk of Montana from a crazy doomsday cult, no matter how much firepower is required. Musically, however, the game’s composer put plenty of effort into penning American folk hymns but adding a creepy, twangy vibe.

Final Fantasy 8

With nearly 10 word-and-sorcery epics, all with original music, it’s hard to pick a favorite. But many FF fans choose the eighth iteration for its complexity and wide musical range, from percussion-heavy moments to lighter fare.

Will YOUR game soundtrack appear on future favorite lists? Anything’s possible, especially since demand for quality video games is expected to keep growing. This opens up all sorts of opportunities for those wanting to master the skills of music production and sound design.

Our hands-on music production school here at Academy of Art educates art students the skills of creating music, scoring techniques, and more. What makes our school stand out, however, is our focus on cross-department collaboration. That means our music students can also work closely with other departments focusing on animation, development, art and more.

This variety in options for learning not only expands students’ skill sets, but also deepens real-world work experience.