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The Case of Video Game Soundtracks as Serious Music

A soundtrack can make or break the mood and atmosphere of a video game. Music in video games is even more passive than movies and television — you don’t always notice it’s there. If you’re a gamer, go back and play a classic like “Halo” or “Devil May Cry” with no music and see just how void the experience really is. If you’re a musician struggling to find your niche, take a look at how some artists created some of the best tracks in the most unlikely place.


The first “Halo” launched in 2001, and its menu music is still the most iconic of the series. The mixture of chants, strings and percussion is the perfect trio to jazz any player up to take on the Covenant. The soundtracks been evolving ever since, but the ambiance is still the same. Such a short track started it all.

Devil May Cry

Not all game soundtracks are composed by faceless producers in the studio. Popular Dutch electronic group Noisia put together several tracks for the dark PlayStation 2 thriller “Devil May Cry.” The music lives up to the name: The game’s demented setting perfectly matches the the dark and violent tones of Noisia’s compositions. Just one hour with the game, and you’ll see how it’s a match made in, well, hell.

Silent Hill

Talk about creepy. The soundtrack for “Silent Hill” is as equally eerie as it is iconic. From treks across the foggy town to tip-toeing down the dark hallways of condemned hospitals, “Silent Hill” is full of hair-raising music. The game was followed by a movie which kept the same theme of music, but it never quite matched the level of spookiness the game achieved.


Not all games need a dark soundtrack to find success, either. It’s hard to tell if Portal is more famous for its intriguing and puzzling gameplay or the song “Still Alive,” which plays after you beat the game. Catchy, isn’t it? The song is so popular, in fact, that it’s a downloadable track for the game “Rock Band.”

Battlefield 3 & 4

It’s difficult to create music for war-based video games without resorting to cliches and stock loops. The composers behind the “Battlefield” franchise managed to find a balance between “video game” and “Band of Brothers” that fits with the game quite nicely. Its sequel, “Battlefield 4” (available online through Origin), follows the same type of music and has produced a few classic tracks of its own.

Final Fantasy VIII

You could pick iconic tracks from five or six different “Final Fantasy” games. The franchise is known both for its creative and emotional stories as well as its fantastic soundtracks. This particular piano piece by Nobuo Uematsu from “Final Fantasy VIII” stands out as one of the best and most loved in the series. Perhaps above any other game out there, “Final Fantasy” relies on music to drive its narrative through its massive role-playing games.

Reader Comments (2)

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November 26 | Unregistered Commentersee it here

Whoah great! Hope to hear wonderful music from these games

July 23 | Registered Commenterfirsly

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