Our favorite video games have long been recognized and revered for things like masterful gameplay, graphical fidelity, and quite often its sound design and scoring. However, the last of these three seems to have become celebrated more so in more recent years than the early ages of gaming.
Thanks to easily accessible media outlets like Youtube, it has become easier than ever to enjoy the music of these Gesamtkunstwerken in many various forms of arrangement and interpretation. We've compiled this list of some excellent (and some peculiar) covers and medleys featuring some of the greatest original gaming music.
Many would put this one at the top of any "coolest tracks of any Zelda" lists, myself included. One of my fondest, most memorable moments in playing games was first riding into Gerudo Valley, hearing that tune kick in, and then promptly jumping over a broken bridge on horseback (then spending an hour afterwards shooting down some poor Gerudos like a total badass)!
There are more than several versions of this tune on YouTube, but I always liked the version these guys supplied. I'm sure the bro factor in the first few seconds gives it a little character, but the guitarist on the right is pretty boss, too.
Never would I have thought the melodica would become associated in my mind with the word awesome...but this melodica medley is awesome!
BennyTheJukeBox is all but famous for his incredible talent for not only dictating music perfectly, note for note, but can flawlessly conjure a performance-worthy arrangement of said music on the fly. So, naturally, he used this amazing talent to create a video game medley.
Another great cross-franchise medley, this compilation features lyrics which were set to the melodies of the themes covered. I personally love this collection of covers because it allowed me to easily copy his arrangements and enjoy these tunes for myself (as well as show off my mad skillz to any friends who hadn't seen the video, mwahaha).
There's a Game of Thrones game, right? The one that's all cartoony, and you decide what happens, and there's a Walking Dead tie-in...right? Totally legit. Anyways, this was making it in one way or another.
Winter is coming...
Ok, this performance is actually amazing. The timbre of this instrument emulates the sound of chip-tune tones so well, I initially couldn't tell apart her little coin-pickup interpolations from the real thing.
But what in seven hells is this instrument? I have been studying jazz, pop, and classical music for over ten years now, and I have never seen the likes of this instrument (though, I am quite ignorant in Eastern music, so that probably explains it). Still, awesome arrangement and performance.
There are countless covers of nearly every theme you can think of from the extensive library of music composed for the Final Fantasy series. Final Fantasy X was my first unassisted endeavor into the series, so the music of this game has a special place in my heart. But my love for this score must be nothing compared to these guys.
Not to be cruel, but this must be one of the dorkiest dedications to a video game I have ever seen. Having said that, it is an incredibly accurate and beautiful arrangement, and does more justice to the piece than any classical guitar or rock/metal arrangement ever could. Also, once you get over your momentary case of the giggles, you can see just how coordinated these guys needed to be to pull this performance off. Masterful.
This last one is quite lengthy; thankfully, Video Game Pianist gives us a track list with cues in the video's description, so I suggest listening to this one on a separate page.
Another master of arrangments from on-point dictation, Video Game Pianist's work is almost always exquisite, and this collection is no exception. Though I feel there were a couple of rhythmic issues in the first theme, the rest of the performance is nothing short of spectacular. I am personally a huge fan of the castle theme and his rendition of Dire Dire Docks (both are placed pretty early in the video). All of his other videos are incredible, so be sure to check him out!
There are, of course, hundreds of thousands of other great arrangements of these pieces, and millions of other arrangements for game scores not mentioned here. These were just a few that I found to be rather exceptional or interesting (or both). Thanks for reading! And remember to watch your step; this place can be a little rough...