Forums - Gaming Discussion - Top 10 Video Game Songs

I wrote this last week for fun, and wanted to share it with you fine folks. I hope you enjoy reading it.


There are many things that define a great game: attractive presentation; competent graphics, physics, and sound design; intuitive controls; and, above all else, mechanically-sound gameplay. But there's also something else, something that doesn't necessarily define how a game plays, but very much defines how a games feels, and how we remember it. That something else is music, and it's an important, if sometimes overlooked, part of the modern video game industry.

Below is a list of what I consider to be the top ten video game songs, sampled from the last thirty years of video games. Some of the songs are bombastic, others soulful and mellow, others subtly sweet. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do, and I hope they bring back some fond memories.

Without further ado, I present the top ten video game songs.

Dr. Wily Stage 1/2 
(Mega Man 2)

Feeling the urge to play air guitar? I don't blame you. Few video game themes are as catchy and invigorating as the music used in both Dr. Wily stages in Mega Man 2. Traditionally, Capcom used separate themes for each Wily encounter, but when you have access to a song this good, why bother?

Romance Theme
(The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword)

I know what you're thinking. Where the %*#$ is Gerudo Valley? And where's Dragon Roost Island, you $@*#? As much as I enjoy those songs, I think Romance Theme from Skyward Sword just might be the finest track from the entire Zelda discography, and that's saying a lot. It's a beautiful medley of instruments -- flute, oboe, bassoon -- playing melodies and counter melodies. It's impossible not to smile when you hear it.

The Sun Rises 

A game as beautiful as Okami deserves a beautiful soundtrack. And no song in Okami is quite as beautiful, or as complex, as The Sun Rises. Five instruments -- cello, violin, piano, shamisen, and shakuhachi -- are deployed to great effect in this song, which plays during a climactic boss battle.

Wicked Child 

Some series have so many excellent songs that they could fill up a top ten list on their own. Castlevania, which has been delighting video game fans for almost 30 years, is one such series. I was tempted to include songs from Rondo of Blood and Symphony of the Night, but none matched the rhythmic intensity of Wicked Child, which first appeared in Stage 3 of the original Castlevania. Those damn hunchbacks...

Gusty Garden Galaxy 
(Super Mario Galaxy)

Rumor has it that Nintendo Gamer editor Matthew Castle loves Gusty Garden Galaxy so much that he played it on a loop while he wrote his Super Mario Galaxy review. Can't say that I blame him. Super Mario Galaxy boasts one of the finest orchestral soundtracks in any video game, ever, and Gusty Garden is probably its best track.

Fear Factory 
(Donkey Kong Country)

There are only so many musical geniuses in the video game industry: Koji Kondo, Nobuo Uematsu, and, yes, David Wise. His work in the Donkey Kong Country trilogy is especially good. The standout track in the premiere game is Fear Factory, a masterpiece of industrial, ambient sound.

Big Blue 

The original F-Zero features several bold, original songs, including fan favorite Mute City, but to me Big Blue will always come out on top. Flashy, frenetic, almost hyperactive, it represents the breakneck speed of the game perfectly.

Terra's Theme 
(Final Fantasy VI)

Like Castlevania, Final Fantasy could dominate this list single-handedly. It's a series well known for its rich, diverse, and imaginative songs, including this gem from Final Fantasy VI. Terra's Theme is the most ubiquitous song in Final Fantasy VI, as it plays in the background on the world map. Smooth, steady, at times vaguely militaristic, it's probably the greatest overworld theme ever written.

Halo Theme 
(Halo: Combat Evolved)

What do Mr. Clean, Flintstones Vitamins, and Halo have in common? The same musical mastermind, Martin O'Donnell, wrote the themes to all three. And while his TV jingles are catchy, it's his bombastic, layered music in the Halo series that truly defines his skill as a composer. His greatest achievement is the main theme from Halo, which is heavy on deep drum beats, fast-paced strings, and, for good measure, a chant. It's the perfect invitation to the thrilling, alien, and mystical world of Halo.

Stickerbush Symphony 
(Donkey Kong Country 2)

Here it is, David Wise's magnum opus. Filled with the jazzy, ambient music that defined his work in the Donkey Kong Country trilogy, Stickerbush Symphony is a true work of art. It's soulful, earthy, and, in rare moments, even plaintive. It's a testament to Wise's skill in creating not only music, but sound as well. 

Around the Network
Nice job, I'd say Halo is my favorite out of your list.

My personal favorite is the music from Dire Dire Docks from Mario 64. I tried to embed a youtube video multiple times and it didn't work, but that song was awesome.

celador said:
Nice job, I'd say Halo is my favorite out of your list.

My personal favorite is the music from Dire Dire Docks from Mario 64. I tried to embed a youtube video multiple times and it didn't work, but that song was awesome.

Here it is:

Great choice. That's probably the best track in the game. 

Veknoid_Outcast said:

Here it is:

Great choice. That's probably the best track in the game. 

Yeah it's no surprise you have four Nintendo games on your list. They always have great music.

Skyward Sword had great music, I don't know why people keep saying the music is bad. (The game itself is great too, my fav. Zelda game). 

Also, If I made a Top 10, it would probably have just Nintendo music in it. My favorite non-Nintendo music is this one:

Around the Network

Oh hey, Hotline Miami: The Thread

Miami Disco -

Hydrogen -

Inner Animal -

Miami -

And now for something completely different

Mass Effect: Vigil

The Last of Us

Mass Effect 3: An End Once and For All

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater Theme

Street Fighter 2: Guile's Theme, Super Bonus Smooth McGroove Edition

Link Between Worlds: Lorule Theme


Just to note, these arent my Top 10 of all time (though Vigil is in that bunch), these are just 10 videogame tunes that are in my head right now that are damn good.

So many videogames have such brilliant music. Hard to pick a solid Top 10 with so many tracks on offer from so many talented guys.

Cool, it's actually pretty hard to even come up with a list of 10 songs even though you know you know there's a lot more than that tuck in your head.

Personally, I think I find Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic to have the best music of any game ever. In particular the 'Final Battle theme', which is a more elaborate and faster version of 'Darth Malak's theme'. It's so grand and epic, and perfectly suited for the duel with the Dark Lord. Also, the music playing on the Endar Spire and in some cutscenes featuring the Sith is very awesome as well.

Otherwise I think Zelda: The Wind Waker has a very good soundtrack. I'd say the game ranks last in pretty much every aspect compared to other 3D Zelda's, but it's music is definitely on top. 'Grandma's Theme', 'Goodbye Hyrule King' and the music during the end credits are all amazing.

I don't really rank things in top 10s but some of my favourite vgms recently are (I'll be adding more)

Ar Tonelico: Green lands

Ar Tonelico 2: A Small Journey

The Entire Ar NoSurge Vocal Soundtrack :P

Atelier Shallie: BGM 1?

Etrian Odyssey 3 Chalky Woods Super Arrange

Squeezol's Fanclub Member? is that how it works?

Why can't I hold all these no gaemz?

Always looking to improve my awful drawings ;_; 

This list is going to be harder than my top 10 games list.

So much music to choose from, a lot of which is unique and really difficult to compare.

Around the Network