Videogames, as everything else in the world, have evolved plenty from their beginnings where a couple of pixels and some sounds could become a great adventure.
Many people, especially those from my generation and closed generations, had their first and only contact with videogames in the 80s and start of the 90s. In that time, memories of sounds and character names were created, that bring a nostalgic feeling when we see them.
Sometimes, while listening to music in a portable device, people ask me what am I hearing. When I say that I am hearing videogame music, most of them, with the exception of those who as of today are still “gamers”, look at me with curious eyes. Inside their minds they imagine I am hearing sounds from Pacman, de Mario Bros theme, and other musical pieces that became classics and sounds like harmonic beeps from an old machine.
I thought it would be interesting to recommend you some videogame pieces that I consider works of art. I listen to them constantly while I write, while I study, or just to have something nice in the background. I have an endless list of pieces I would like to recommend, but I will begin with just a few. I hope you give yourself the chance of listening to them because they are really worth it, and I would love to share this part of the world that maybe many of you are not enjoying. Do not forget that for many modern videogames, the pieces are made not to distract the player, so they are excellent to have as background music.
Here you have five pieces (with no particular order) that I would like you to listen. Later I will recommend more, I put just a few to avoid saturating too many in the same article. I will add a link so you can listen to the audio, and I will make a brief comment about the game and why I like the piece.
1) Professor Layton and the Curious Village – Curtain of night
Professor Layton is a series of mystery solving and puzzle games, that is known due to their marvelous soundtrack. This particular piece is from the first game, and was composed, as most of the series music, by the Japanese composer Tomohito Nishiura.
It is a piece with a simple piano base, whose melody is carried by the violin, accordion and flute. These instruments are used in almost all music in the series. It makes me feel good, like being in a cozy place, like a cabin during winter with a chimney warming the room. The flue is my favorite part.
2) Xenoblade Chronicles 2 – Where we used to be
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is a fantasy game of the category called action RPG. It is a long game, and the complete soundtrack has a duration of over three hours and was made by three Japanese composers. All the soundtrack is incredible and it is one of the ones I listen most while writing. This particular piece was made by the Japanese composer Yasunori Mitsuda.
This piece is the one that plays during the starting menu in the game, it’s just piano. Has a particular characteristic that many Japanese composers have, of creating music that can sound melancholic and happy at the same time, depending of the mood you are in. Many times I left the game in the starting menu to listen to it.
3) Kingdom Hearts – Dearly beloved
Kingdom Hearts is also an action RPG game, where the main character travels through Disney worlds, having Donald and Goofy as companions. The game was appointed by Disney to Square Enix who developed it. The game has a memorable soundtrack, many music based by Disney classicals and other original pieces. Most of the music in this game series was made by the Japanese composer Yoko Shimomura.
This piece became a classic and most games in the series play is as the initial menu screen. The main instrument is the piano with a repeating melody, accompanied by a discreet orchestra. As its name implies, while listening to the piece I remember my loved ones and I feel nostalgic. It is one of the pieces from the game that has many variations and versions. The original piece can be heard in the following link, although if you like it I recommend looking for other versions.
4) Final Fantasy X – To Zanarkand
Final Fantasy is a series of videogames that started on the first Nintendo. The name of the series was selected because it was the last chance the developing company had to create something successful before going bankrupt. The game was a success and as of today, there are 15 main games and many spin-offs. Each game has its independent story and an extraordinary soundtrack. The tenth game in the series (hence the X) has one of the most emotive stories I have experienced in a videogame. As all or most music from Final Fantasy series, it was made by the Japanese composer Nobuo Uematsu.
It is a piano piece, in the style I mentioned before of sounding both melancholic and happy, although in this case the melancholy overcomes the happiness. You can feel the emotions in the piece just by listening to it, even when you have no reference of the videogame plot.
5) Child of Light – Pilgrims on a Long Journey
Child of Light is one of the most visually impressive games I have played. The entire play through I felt I was playing in a painting. This game is also popular for its incredible soundtrack, that was entirely made by a Canadian composer called Béatrice Martin, whose artistic name is Coeur de Pirate (pirate heart).
The piece has a piano as its main instrument, that is later joined by brass and a cello. It reminds me of the French composer Yann Tiernes, in the sense that the main melody repeats itself and it varies become more complex, increasing the intensity and the emotional load. The piece reminds me of the travels of the main characters, where they face many challenges to accomplish their personal missions.
I hope you enjoy these pieces that are some of my favorites. Later I will recommend others, there is many incredible videogame music that accomplishes the objective of all works of art: to make your mind travel and make you feel things. Feel free to contact me for questions or additional comments in: firstname.lastname@example.org.