As Victor Hugo said, “music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent”. Music has unbelievable power to move and inspire us, and as such is a sturdy cornerstone of many of our lives. As a wonderfully creative art, music thrives alongside and within video games, and is often as integral to their success as gameplay or story.
Try to imagine the same scenes and experiences that stick in your memory long after you play a game, but as if they existed without the music. It's unpleasant to say the least. At times it’s the themes and soaring melodies that we remember more than anything else. And, as in so many other facets of games, music is testament to their variety with influences from all genres -- including jazz, rock, classical, romantic, techno and various world music to name but a few.
Some styles of game and film music have been dubbed the “new” classical music genre -- and it is so highly regarded now that it is regularly featured on Classic FM, the UK’s premier classical music radio station. Even more surprisingly, 12 game soundtracks made it onto Classic FM’s 2015 Hall of Fame.
If you haven’t taken the time to just sit back and really listen to video game music, here are 10 tracks (and a few extra suggestions) to get you started. This is not at all a “top 10” or “best of” list -- that’s an almost impossible task. Instead, I’ve tried to include an eclectic assortment of styles. You might not like all of them, but it will hopefully give as many people as possible a launching pad through which to enjoy game music -- and celebrate the vision and achievements of its composers.