Video Game Music-Nintendo Edition

Video+Game+Music-Nintendo+Edition

Since its earliest days, the music of video games has played an important role. The simple chiptunes of the late 80’s and early 90’s still ring in the mind of many older gamers. Now, we have the ability to score our games with fully orchestrated pieces. Some of the most beloved and remembered songs of our time come from video games.

Throughout video gaming’s history, no company has provided players with as many catchy, dramatic, and memorable songs as Nintendo. Whether developer or publisher, their collection of games has graced our ears with songs of equal or greater quality than the games themselves.

This list will, in no particular order, highlight a few more recent releases that have kept up the tradition of great Nintendo soundtracks. There are also recommendations for standout tunes and links to them on YouTube to kick-start your own listening experience.

TIP: Typing in the title of a game followed by ‘ost’ will likely give you playlists with the game’s entire soundtrack, depending on how long it’s been out. Recent releases may only have a few tracks as people continue to record and upload them.

 

1. Pokémon X and Y

When it comes to musical nostalgia, not much can rival the Pokémon games. The newest releases in the main series, X and Y, have improved almost every aspect of the series to perfection, including the new high-quality music. The Kalos region, where X and Y take place, is heavily based on France, and this comes out in several of the game’s tracks. The variety is also something to behold in this generation, as you explore caves, mountains, boutiques, and everything in between with beautiful music to match your every step.

All in all, the soundtrack is the icing on the cake of an already stellar Pokémon experience. Although, with icing this good, do you really need the cake all the time?

Recommendations:

Pokémon Professor Augustine Sycamore: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpEJsxFkRkU&list=PLldNgdLVBzhL_1s_kgAVDp6pOlJ0S1FdJ&index=38

Kalos Power Plant, Poké Ball Factory:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_csfdsyYX4&list=PLldNgdLVBzhL_1s_kgAVDp6pOlJ0S1FdJ&index=72

 

2. Animal Crossing: New Leaf (K.K. Slider)

Fans of the Animal Crossing games always have a hard time explaining even its basic mechanics to others. The source of much of the game’s music is even more surreal. Picture this: You’re alone in a quiet room, maybe a café or a small club. You see a humanoid dog on a small stool holding a guitar. He sings in odd robotic-sounding syllables while mixing in whistles and howls for no real reason. To top it all off, some of the songs he sings are the best you’ve ever heard.

K.K. Slider’s songs come both in stripped-down vocals and guitar (Live) and with full instrumentals (Aircheck). With the release of New Leaf, K.K.’s discography contains almost 100 tracks covering an astounding variety of genres and themes.

Recommendations:

K.K. Crusin’ (Live):  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNBif3PEM2o

K.K. Disco (Aircheck): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HVb-GNnTXVk

 

3. Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story

The spinoff RPG’s of the Mario series have always shown off a unique style and sense of humour. Nowhere is this more prevalent than in Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story and its soundtrack. Every song is bouncy and danceable while still maintaining a tight production. These songs keep up the energy of this fun little thrill ride and they do so with near perfection. This is especially impressive for a less powerful system like the Nintendo DS.

If you ever feel like there’s a spring missing from your step, just play some of the music of Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story and you’ll be hopping in no time.

Recommendations

Battle: Mario & Luigi: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfkqONiBVZs&list=PLEAFF8811175FF9CE&index=30

Bubble Lake: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hsj-V4SO_bI&list=PLEAFF8811175FF9CE&index=35

 

4. Rhythm Heaven Fever

From what video game can you get better music than one whose entire premise is based on fun, upbeat rhythm-based play? In Rhythm Heaven Fever’s case, absolutely nothing. In fact, this game’s soundtrack is so impressive, the music still holds up even without the amusing sound effects of gameplay layered over them. Although, if you have never seen gameplay of a Rhythm Heaven game, it would be well worth your while to look some of it up and experience the music through its rhythm.

Each game is quirky in the best possible way, and that’s perfectly expressed through the music. Every track is brimming with an energy and snappiness that most pop songs could learn a lot from.

Recommendations

Screwbot Factory: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2hadJFqBcSA

Remix 9: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-mnfWczE20

 

5. Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky

This game is the closest to the olden days of chiptune on the list. Released for the audibly limited DS handheld family (barring the 3DS), Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky makes up for that lack of technological prowess with impressively catchy tunes. While the songs may be small-scale, they convey a lot of atmosphere and many are specific to one dungeon, making each track unique. Their easy to follow beats mean that they can get stuck in your head and stay there long after you heard them.

Even the game itself recognises the quality of its soundtrack,  as a post-game feature allows the player to listen to any song whenever they want. Certainly, there are plenty of songs worth playing again and again.

Recommendations

Amp Plains: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YXui2NEi9Q&list=PL727E8DDE40FE9C0A&index=36

Sky Peak Prairie: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dYj7XaQXHIk&list=PL727E8DDE40FE9C0A

 

6. Kirby’s Epic Yarn

As the days get darker and the weather gets colder, many people will find it difficult to stay cheery. In such cases, the soundtrack of Kirby’s Epic Yarn comes highly recommended, it’s a delightful and serene listening experience that perfectly captures the mood of the game as a whole, though the songs are enough to bring a smile to anyone’s face. Kirby’s Epic Yarn doesn’t try and show off with complicated harmonies or too many instruments. Instead, it works with what it’s got, resulting in some of the most adorable music you’ll ever hear.

Since the music is based off levels that have different themes, there’s some great variety to be found within the soundtrack as a whole. However, all the songs share a similar theme: Pure joy in music form. Enchanting.

Recommendations

Dino Jungle: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mws9hHy73zY&list=SP30967AD6BAD7BD7F&index=2

Big-Bean Vine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGFic2e-uTE&list=SP30967AD6BAD7BD7F

 

7. Super Mario Galaxy 1 and 2

The two Super Mario Galaxy games stand as a testament to the musical genius of Nintendo, its crown jewel of fully orchestrated beauty. What is left to say? From the very first moments, Super Mario Galaxy shows a calibre of instrumental majesty unmatched by many “real life” songs. The energy of entire planets is infused into each track, which fit the wide range of levels to a T. The sheer awe-inspiring nature of these songs is enough to bring tears to the eyes of those who listen to them.

Simply put, Super Mario Galaxy is the peak of what music in video games can be. Some soundtracks may appeal more to specific audiences, but what audio delight is contained in these two games is nothing less than a triumph.

Recommendations

Space Junk Galaxy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EuYNxzSFRk8&list=SP7CFEF478E3980B62&index=32

Cloudy Court Galaxy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C6d4lxw9FYM&list=SP706D99B420CA57E6

 

8. Lego City Undercover

Even fans of the old-school cop shows and their jazzy scores have a home in video gaming. Lego City Undercover employs many old tropes from classic police and detective stories alike, not the least of which is a groovy/suspenseful soundtrack to keep you moving forward on the case. Lego City Undercover’s soundtrack deals best in setting a mood, not being in the forefront. It performs this task very well as gameplay moves to new locations and events, each highlighted with a new track.

Even when songs are best listened to while you focus on something else, thy can still be great tracks. Lego City Undercover creates a backdrop of sound that might just drive you to go out and catch a robber in style.

Recommendations

Breaking and Entering: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tOK60zVpfss&list=PL2XjmdkuVL-27MA37lIvKLfOHG7ANHoXe

Fire Station/Chan’s Salvage Yard: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sUgw1l0AFV4&list=PL2XjmdkuVL-27MA37lIvKLfOHG7ANHoXe&index=14