So as I’m typing this out, I’m genuinely moved to tears after listening to the soundtrack for Journey, a beautiful, symphonic journey in and of itself through a vivid soundscape that perfectly encapsulates the game. That made me realize just how important gaming soundtracks are. Sure, composers are scarce in the gaming industry where most soundtracks are composed with Fruity Loops and a potato peeler, but there was once a time when video games actually had theme songs. Yep, hard to believe. Can anyone actually recall the theme song of Call of Duty? No?
So it’s been brought to my attention that video games are severely lacking great soundtracks these days, especially in a climate so obsessed with how it looks and plays, they continuously forget to add extra effort into how it sounds. I don’t want to sound like some old coot and say that the classics were better, but… they were. I mean, one of the most iconic soundtracks of all time is the Super Mario theme. It’s simplistic, very catchy tune caught on with a lot of gamers, and thanks to that, we have a song to feel nostalgic about too.
Another fine example is the theme song to Mortal Kombat, which coincidentally wasn’t even made for the video game but rather for the pleasantly decent 1995 film. That theme song knows how to get people jacked to play Mortal Kombat or fuel some sweet rave parties. The irony is that it never even featured in a single MK game, which is a tragedy I wish Ed Boons would directly address at some point. I wonder if he wakes up every morning with the sole intent of not giving fans what they want. Let’s throw in some horror icons in Mortal Kombat X because… why not…?
Of the list of memorable impacting soundtracks for video games, one game that is actually defined by its soundtrack is Shadow of the Colossus. Like Journey, these two games share the same goals: to evoke great emotion. And cry I did, all the way into the far future where I want these theme songs played at my funeral while my grandson plants a copy of Shadow of the Colossus on top of my grave. But they are important because they create sonic worlds (no, not the hedgehog). They are able to make their games more iconic as a result, and plant it firmly within history as something more memorable than a few chanting monks (I still love you, Halo theme song). If you want your game to really be remembered, make it sound good.