The Best Video Game Music Ever
Many of us will say that we’re the biggest fan of a particular genre of music, whether that’s jazz, house, indie, or something else altogether. However, maybe the most varied listeners out there are the ones who love video game music. Sure, it doesn’t always require such a refined ear, but with the advent of more and more complex games, the stories, inspirations, and teams behind the sound-tracks are becoming increasingly in-depth.
With that said, some of the best video game soundtracks ever have been straight off the original Gameboy, where there were very few bleeps to play with. So, with this in mind, we’ve created our definitive list of the best video game music ever, starting with a simple one.
A Night with Cleo First up is a game that anyone who likes to play slots online will have heard of –A Night With Cleo. Bringing a dash of the sultry to the casino genre, A Night With Cleo was a pioneer of its kind. Before slot machines had been all about coin-jangling cash-out sounds and janky tunes played on a honky-tonk style keyboard.
Well, maybe not quite such a character as that, but there certainly hadn’t been one like this before. The idea of making slot machines a little sexy got the creative juices of the team behind this game flowing. Cleo is a very blessed woman, particularly in the breast department, and along with her vixen features and devilish smile, she knows how to put gamers under her spell.
However, whilst Cleo is undeniably spellbinding, one of the real heroes of this video game is the soundtrack. It’s not overtly sexy in a ‘You Can Keep Your Hat On’ kind of way, but rather spookily sexy, imagine Morticia Addams doing a strip tease. There’s a hint of Arabian music in the back-ground, perhaps a sitar, suggesting Cleo might be a mysterious woman from the Middle East. The sound effects are toned down in this game, to allow the mood to sweep seamlessly throughout. Overall, a simple but super-effective soundtrack that is sultry without being sleazy.
Red Dead Redemption II
Next on the list is a game that’s been topping basically all of the ‘best of’ lists since it was released back in 2018. Red Dead Redemption was undoubtedly the frontrunner in the increasing trend for absolutely enormous open-world maps.
Whilst careering across the plains on the back of your trusty horse, or plodding up a frozen moun-tain track, the music moves with the action. This is by no means a new thing, but the seamless blending of atmospheric background music to more fast-paced action music as your character draws a gun on someone else has rarely been done so perfectly before.
Not only does the music move with the gameplay, but the background music is meticulously thought through. There was a huge team behind developing the soundtrack for this release and they took a deep dive into the archives to try and create a soundtrack as true to turn-of-the-century America as possible.
They researched lyrics from old folk songs, replacing and updating them with their own discoveries, pieced together torn shreds of badly notated music, restored instruments from the past, and gener-ally left no stone unturned in the quest for authenticity. The result is a varied and hauntingly beauti-ful soundtrack with panpipes, harmonicas, and carefully curated lyrics that help you to feel totally enveloped in the Wilderness of the West.
Tony Hawks Pro Skater 4
The entire Tony Hawks Pro Skater series had soundtracks that defined a generation, but for us, the fourth edition was the best. It provided a platform for System of a Down to let the world know about their hedonistic headbanger Shimmy. It introduced many of us to The Distillers as well, with their grungy song Seneca Falls.
The Offspring, Less than Jake and Public Enemy brought the anarchy with a medley of pop-punk tunes. Although there was no ‘ambient’ music as such, with a track listing as exceptional as this, it would be fair to say that there wasn’t really any need for any. An interesting piece of trivia is that some of the skaters in the game actually had their own music featured on the soundtrack.
Chad Muska had three of his tracks under his artist name Muskabeatz, whilst Kareem Cambell also has a track under the name City Stars, and finally, Steve Caballero has a song by his band, The Fac-tion, appropriately called Skate and Destroy. If you’re into chart music, then you might be a little dis-appointed However, we love the championing of up-and-coming and even totally unknown artists. The whole soundtrack has a distinctly home-spun feel, with undercurrents of anarchy, grunge cul-ture, and an overall rebellious feel that we just can’t get enough of.