Favorite Video Game Music

This is a list of my favorite music from video games. The older the platform, the higher I judge the achievement. It was easier to write great music for a Sony PlayStation than a Nintendo Entertainment System!

The video links in the table are to YouTube pages.

Super Mario Bros. 1985 Underworld Kōji Kondō A weird little loop that sounds like a plumber plunging. It is tricky to play on an instrument.
Metroid 1986 Brinstar Hirokazu Tanaka An inspiring loop for the Brinstar region of a hostile planet.
Dragon Power
Dragon Ball: Shenron no Nazo
1986 Boss Music unknown This goofy spinoff from a popular manga series has simple graphics, simple dialogue, a dorky plot, and music with a pentatonic feel.
Castlevania II 1987 Monster Dance Kenichi Matsubara, Satoe Terashima, Kouji Murata A lively and sinister accompaniment to an endless series of monster attacks.
Mega Man II 1988 Flash Man Takashi Tateishi (Ogeretsu Kun) Mega Man II was wildly successful, in part because of the music. The background loop for Flash Man is one of its snappiest tracks.
Mother (Earthbound Zero) 1989 Battle Theme 3 Hirokazu Tanaka or Keiichi Suzuki A lively loop inspired by Chuck Berry riffs, used when fighting crazed hippies or trucks out of control. I do not know which of the composers wrote it.
Magicant Hirokazu Tanaka A charmingly strange background loop for the fairy-tale realm of Magicant, with a unique echo loop at the end.
Crystalis 1990 Introduction Yoko Osaka The introduction was remarkably artistic for the NES, and the music was doubly so.
Field Yoko Osaka This bouncy tune first appears in the open area outside the town of Leaf.
Solstice 1990 Title Theme Tim Follin Two minutes and 45 seconds of complex folk music in the Irish style.
StarTropics 1990 Overworld Yoshio Hirai Cheerful tropical-sounding music.
MUSHA 1990 Stage 1 (Fullmetal Fighter) Toshiaki Sakoda Overwhelmingly complex, like the gameplay in this vertical scroller.
Seiken Densetsu
(Final Fantasy Adventure)
1991 Chocobo Ride Kenji Itō The music for this long RPG was enjoyable, and its adaptation of FF3J's Chocobo music stands out.
Final Fantasy IV
(Final Fantasy II)
1991 World of Summoned Monsters Nobuo Uematsu A touchingly sad loop from one of the most captivating Final Fantasy games.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2
(Sonic and Tails)
1992 Aquatic Ruin Zone Masato Nakamura The music for Sonic 2 was a big hit with players. Sega used Chemical Plant for the trailer.
Hill Top Zone J-funk!
Kid Chameleon 1992 Cave Area Mark Miller The score for Kid Chameleon rocked, and especially this!
Landstalker 1992 Premonition of Trouble Motoaki Takenouchi A quintessential dungeon theme, oozing with danger and rhythm breaks.
Mysterious Island Motoaki Takenouchi Background music for the final dungeon, King Nole's Palace.
Final Fantasy V 1992 Cursed Earth
(The Slow Land)
Nobuo Uematsu Heavy!
Breath of Fire 1993 Tunlan
(Tuneland)
Team Alph Lyla A lively brass band arrangement with flute obbligato, used for a town where people communicate in music instead of words.
Illusion of Gaia 1993 Tokens of the Past Yasuhiro Kawasaki A compelling, unearthly tune from a remarkable game score.
Seiken Densetsu 2
(Secret of Mana)
1993 Into the Thick of It Hiroki Kikuta After a modest beginning, Secret of Mana pivots into this brilliant loop that has hooked innumerable players on the game. It has been widely covered on YouTube. The link is to Smooth McGroove's voice arrangement.
A Bell Is Tolling Hiroki Kikuta Background music for the Ice Palace, lyrical and icy.
Shinobi III 1993 Japonesque Hirofumi Murasaki, Morihiko Akiyama, Masayuki Nagao This loop from an atmospheric suite displays virtuoso moves and driving force.
Link's Awakening 1993 Ballad of the Wind Fish Kōji Kondō Link's Awakening had an unusually coherent music suite. The Ballad has a free structure, like Queen Mary's song in Mother. The video link to the left is to the Ballad played at the Wind Fish's egg.
Phantasy Star IV 1993 Dungeon Music Izuho Numata, Masaki Nakagaki This is Tokuhiko Uwabo's dungeon music from the original Phantasy Star, reworked and reinvigorated.
Final Fantasy VI 1994 Tina's Theme
(Terra's Theme)
Nobuo Uematsu Uematsu went all out for this RPG, even scoring an opera performance. The performance was unforgettable for all the wrong reasons.
Crusader of Centy 1994 Camellia Desert Motokazu Shinoda An eloquent loop, full of harmonic shifts, for a desert full of holes.
Ecco: The Tides of Time 1994 Tube of Medusa Attila Dobos, András Magyari, Andy Armer Ecco is a dolphin and the game takes place under water. The music was composed accordingly. This is the most energetic of the game's music loops.
EarthBound
(Mother 2)
1994 Paula's Theme Keiichi Suzuki, Hirokazu Tanaka This music plays in Polestar, the nursery school run by Paula's mom.
Transport Tycoon 1994 Road Hog John Broomhall Cool jazz!
Chrono Trigger 1995 Undersea Palace Yasunori Mitsuda An epic, foreboding loop in 6/8.
Battle Theme Yasunori Mitsuda An original and energetic piece of battle music.
Earthworm Jim 2 1995 Anything But Tangerines Tommy Tallarico Earthworm Jim was the hero of some remarkably loony platform games. The music was loony too, especially this.
Light Crusader 1995 Beat Them! Aki Hata A stirring 5-beat loop by the composer for Rocket Knight Adventures.
Seiken Densetsu III
(Trials of Mana)
1995 Forest Hiroki Kikuta SD3 has so many brilliant music loops, it is worth playing for the music alone. This jazzy tune is used for the Rabite Forest and the Beast Kingdom.
Golden Road
(Swivel)
Hiroki Kikuta An enthusiastic tune for setting out on a journey.
Terranigma 1995 Mountains Miyoko Takaoka, Masanori Hikichi Hauntingly evocative music from the last of a trio of unusual role-playing games published by Enix.
Kirby's Dream Land 2 1995 Cloudy Park Hirokazu Ando The Kirby games had some striking music loops. This pretty one is for while Kirby is up in the clouds.
Panzer Dragoon II Zwei 1996 Forest of Taboo Yayoi Wachi This rail shooter for the Sega Saturn made good use of the Saturn's music capabilities. Forest of Taboo starts with an exhilarating, ominous 10/8 theme in a harmony that never resolves.
Final Fantasy VII 1997 Shinra Theme Nobuo Uematsu A theme well suited to the main villain—an immensely powerful corporation, eager to commit massacres and atrocities if there's money in it.
Suikoden II 1998 Boss Fight Miki Higashino, Keiko Fukami Someone had fun composing this!
Lunar: The Legend Returns 2001 Tower of Sorrow Yasunori Shiono, Akiko Ishibashi, Tomoko Morita, Yukio Nakajima This sparkling sequel to Lufia and Lufia 2 had a charming score. Tower of Sorrow is one of its highlights.
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney 2001 Cornered Masakazu Sugimori Phoenix Wright, Ace Attorney, tries to catch the witness in a lie. This music plays when he succeeds.
Turnabout Sisters Masakazu Sugimori This gentle, cheerful music is for Maya Fey (Mayoi Ayasato), the young spirit medium who accompanies Phoenix on cases.
Mother 3 2006 Playing
(Alec's House)
Shogo Sakai Mother 3 is amazing, including the music. This is one of its prettiest and most relaxing loops.
P*'s Theme Shogo Sakai Twisted pomp for the secret villain of the game.
Strong One Shogo Sakai Fighting in Mother 3 you get bonus hits for syncing with the music. With music like this it's next to impossible.


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Col. George Sicherman [ HOME | MAIL ]