One of the most important aspects of video games compared to other entertainment mediums is their ability to invoke emotions that work alongside the user’s practical experience. Likewise, video game music conjures up this feeling in a way that makes it incredibly effective. Over time, composers continue to impress with their vast production of memorable and instantly recognizable themes. Many of the most iconic and memorable themes were able to stand out, and we’ll take a look at ten of them here.
10. “Main theme” – LA Noire
While this might not be the most easily recognizable theme of all the tracks on this list, the main theme of The black has slowly but steadily continued to impress now, 10 years later after its release. For fans of film noir, this is a perfect representation of the genre. There are nuances of Jerry goldsmiththe classic “Love Theme” of Chinese district; suitable for a Los Angeles based detective game. The use of the trumpet is absolutely sublime, and having a jazz score like that of a playing is something you rarely see in this industry. It really is a piece that adapts perfectly to the game it was designed for, and the end result of Andrew Hale is a theme that is one of the most memorable of the past decade.
9. “Nate’s Theme” – Uncharted
With Unexploredthe obvious influence being the Indiana Jones series, its main theme is one that just had to be successful. “Nate’s Theme” has become the de facto track over the course of the franchise, and for good reason. It is now instantly recognizable in the pantheon of PlayStation titles. Even though Nate’s journey is over, one has to imagine that the theme will still be on Naughty Dog’s mind if he ever returns on the show. It is a theme that is capable of creating a great sense of exploration; one that conjures up thoughts of what has become a phenomenal globetrotting adventure series. What’s even more impressive is that the top three Unexplored titles were the only video games that composer Greg Edmonson had never worked, but they so capture the quintessential adventure gaming experience.
8. “Super Mario Bros. Theme” – Super Mario Bros.
Play the first handful of notes for the “Super Mario Bros. Theme” for anyone and there’s a good chance they’ll be able to tell you exactly where it’s coming from. Like many other titles on this list, its sheer amount of variation is what gets more and more impressive on this theme. It’s an incredibly fun song to listen to, and its cheerful, cheerful nature makes all of those hopping even more enjoyable. It’s a theme that captures the overall tone of the song very well. Super Mario series, even from the start.
7. “Type A” – Tetris
Looking at puzzle games now, such as Lumines or even Tetris effect, you will see how these games use music in a very different way compared to the original Tetris securities. There is something amazing about the simplicity of “Type A”, and how effective it is in the overall game loop of Tetris. Mainly known as “Korobeiniki” in Russia, it is a theme that has a long history which even has its own page on Tetris‘, which explains in detail the poem from which it comes. It’s a game and theme that many consider to be the best ever made, and rightly so, considering its place in video game history. The “Type A” theme is synonymous with the series, as its catchy melody is easily spotted in the mind as these different shapes fall away.
6. “The Legend of Zelda (Theme)” – The Legend of Zelda
Like the “Super Mario Bros. Theme ”, the theme of THE Legend of Zelda is one who is able to remind many people of their childhood and the adventures that followed Link’s takeover as he made his way through Hyrule. In a series with so many classic pieces, it’s always fascinating to see how the original theme holds up to this day. What’s so great about seeing iconic themes like this Zelda is their evolution over several generations of consoles, especially for those that come from the NES. Aural composers are switching to more robust sound chips on later consoles and, in turn, starting to realize their visions more fully, it’s hugely impressive.
5. “Opening Sequel” – Halo
Halo releases always feel like major events, and there’s no better theme to go with it than “Opening Suite”. Almost the antithesis of what one would think the theme of this series would be if one only looked at box art, the lyrical quality of Halo: Combat Evolved ‘s The theme of the menu is one that always has the ability to knock you down. It is a trail that gives the impression of preparing you for an arduous journey; the one you might not come back to alive. When we talk about emblematic themes that also give goosebumps, the work that Martin O’Donnell and Michel Salvatori done with this one would definitely put it at the top of the list.
4. “Katamari on the rocks” – Katamari Damacy
By far the most unique theme of all the entries on this list, “Katamari on the Rocks” is a truly special song in the video game space. It’s a very unique theme that fits perfectly Katamari Damacydistinct gameplay from, which is a defining feature of this series. The upbeat nature of the melody associated with the image of your character running and picking up various items is extremely contagious and recognizable. The build-up in the first fifty seconds with the various instruments slowly coming into play is incredible. It’s just a really fun theme to listen to, and it will make you want to jump into the game every time you hear it.
3. “Battlefield Theme” – Battlefield
Keeping an iconic theme fresh seems like a task that would get harder and harder to accomplish. Not only that, but keeping it relevant over the decades would undoubtedly become difficult the more games you have to do. The theme for Battlefield is great in that the rapid changes it goes through from game to game almost always matches the overall feel of the game it represents. The original theme, which first appeared in Battlefield 1942 has acted as an excellent basis for all that follows. Over time, radical changes have also been observed. The latest iteration, which comes from the Oscar winner Hildur Guðnadóttir and Sam slater, might be her most dramatic version as she undertakes an incredibly chaotic nature. Hearing the latest rendition of the theme is always one of the most exciting parts of the next one. Battlefield games, and the latest entry does not disappoint.
2. “Final Fantasy” – Final Fantasy
The quintessential JRPG theme, there’s a reason you’ll often read YouTube comments on this theme’s videos that say something like “all stand up for the national JRPG anthem”. Hailing from one of the oldest gaming franchises, a number of emotions are aroused when listening to this particular song. Final fantasy as a series, in fact has a number of memorable tracks, and even one that could be called an iconic theme, namely “Prelude”. However, there is something about “Final Fantasy” that rings all the right bells when it comes to exemplary tracks. Like another popular franchise from Square Enix, Dragon Quest, it’s a theme that revitalizes the memories of years gone by for those who have played these games throughout their lives, recalling battles fought and friends made. Nobuo Uematsu is a titan of the gaming industry, both as a songwriter and industry icon, and his work on the theme of Final fantasy is just one example of his stunning production.
1. “Beloved Ones” – Kingdom Hearts
Like many other iconic themes on this list, Kingdom Hearts‘”Dearly Beloved” is the one who was present at the beginning of the creation of their respective game. It is a theme that greets the player every time you start the game from the main menu. Just like Uematsu who was mentioned earlier, Yoko Shimomura is one of the most influential composers in the video game industry, and for someone who has created such recognizable tracks as “Guile’s Theme” from the street fighter series, it’s no wonder she was able to achieve something as iconic as “Dearly Beloved”.
Unlike many other titles on this list whose iconic themes appear throughout their franchise, Shimomura is the main force behind the countless variations of “Dearly Beloved”. For this reason, it is more and more difficult to choose the best version. It’s impressive to see after all these years that “Dearly Beloved” is still able to capture both new and old fans of the series. In an interview with Square Enix, Shimomura spoke about the theme and how it came to her at the start of the first game when you’re on Destiny Islands, picturing the sea and the waves. You can clearly hear the inspiration of this just by listening to it, as you are greeted by the sounds of ocean waves hitting the shore in the background as the piano plays those iconic notes. It’s a really special theme that continues to invoke feelings of the past, hope and friendship.
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