What Are Your Favourite Classical Video Game Soundtracks?

Limelight is a magazine/website dedicated to classical music, and has just posted an interesting piece highlighting the increasing influence video game soundtracks are having on the classical music community. It's a really nice piece, accompanied by a selection of some of the best classical soundtracks found in gaming.

There is undoubtedly an influence — so many orchestras now are dedicated to performing renditions of video game soundtracks — but what I found so refreshing about this article in particular is just how accepting the classical community is of video games and the music that accompanies them. It's a misconception, but I always imagined that the community would be full of stuffed shirts lamenting the demise of proper classical music, but the folks interviewed for this feature were more than just receptive, they seem to be fully enthusiastic.

"I see no real difference between doing this and a recording of film music or ballet music," said conductor Andrew Skeet. "I treat it as if it is Brahms or Stravinsky or any of the big icons of Western music. It is not always for us to make value judgements about what we play; we must play it with the same conviction as we would play the classics and give new music a chance."

West Australian Symphony Orchestra principal conductor Paul Daniel agreed, reinforcing the fact that classical music absolutely belongs in video games and vice versa.

"Of course they belong inside the concert hall," he said, "just as much as symphonies belong outside them: making walls into barriers is the death of any music. I really admire the barrier-busting in this new school of live performance: lighting, sound, real theatre... Wagner would have loved all that, I'm sure!"

You can check out Limelight's favourite, but what are some of yours? Super Mario Galaxy 2's main theme is one of mine. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Thanks Melissa!

The best classical music in videogames [Limelight]


    I loved the Hitman 2 theme, that soundtrack in general was kickass.

    Final Fantasy VII and VIII have some of the best composed music I've heard in a game, ever. The Elder Scrolls series have also had traditionally amazing classical scores as well.

      FFVII was musical perfection. It's a shame the new composer kinda sucks... well, not sucks, i should say it's a shame they aren't Nobuo Uematsu.

    I have to say the Xenoblade Soundtrack is an amazing micture of classical and rock, but my favourite calssical music from anygame series lies with Final Fantasy.

    Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana, Super Metroid, Wonder Boy 3 (Dragons Trap) = WIN!

      Hell yeah Wonderboy 3 ^_^ Also Super Castlevania IV and the Elder Scrolls series.

      Totally feeling you on Chrono Trigger. It changed me.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BUSSa8aHAMk -- not quite classical, but I'd LOVE to hear an orchestra play this. A thing of beauty. Before YouTube came along, I'd routinely sit on GK3's main menu and just listen. I love that SMG video, gets me excited about playing the game without any gameplay footage or screenshots.

    By 'Classical' do you mean 'Orchestral'? Or do you mean as in the 'golden age' sort of meaning of the word, which I guess for video games would be retro 8-bit stuff?

      Going by the article I would say more orchestra, but honestly some of those old tunes from Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy and even Sonic sound great when performed by an orchestra.

        Even the article itself is a bit hazy - Dead Space for example is all whispered voices and tension strings, and Flow is mainly chords on a keyboard.

    Shadow of the colossus for me. The way the music rose when you fought a colossus helped reinforce both the helplessness of the main character and the epic nature of the fight.

    Pokemon Red & Blue!!! Best music ever!

    It was actually a game that got me to start listening to some classical music. Eternal Sonata got me listening to a bit of Chopin and it went on from there.

    Final Fantasy 7-10

    Okami/Okamiden and the Uncharted scores are a force to behold.

    Without sounding too cliche, Symphony of the Night

    The Last Ninja 1 and 2 (C64), and Wonder Boy 3: The Dragon's Trap (Master System).

    Final Fantasy..just the lot.That music composed by Nopbuo Uematsu brought back to life my love for piano.

      and the Kingdom Hearts series.

        +1 for Kingdom Hearts. Haven't played Final Fantasy though.


    But really anything from Total Annihilation (apart from the quiet ones)

    Or really anything by Jeremy Soule (he did Guild Wars music too)

    Suikoden II
    Reminiscence in particular:

    I completely agree with this article. Game soundtracks are becoming better and better and are a key part to the game. I mean Hans Zimmer did Modern Warfare 2 soundtrack, hans Zimmer! There's been many great composers doing game soundtracks. For me the best has to be Steve Jablonsky, Gears of War 2 soundtrack, Armoured Prayer. It brings back memories of that great level in the game. Awesome. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WzE4cKps1IE

      Oh yeah, and while I'm on Hans Zimmer, I think the best thing about Crysis 2 was the main theme that he composed!

      Hans Zimmer is 100% the man.

    Jesper Kyd does a lot of soundtrack work with Edios and Ubisoft, so all your Hitman stuff and Assassins creed soundtracks where scored by him. And they are all excellent.

    Between him and Hans Zimmer (The 'Montage's' he did for MW1/2/3 are great, plus the Inception soundtrack) I am pretty set all the way around.

    Anno 2070 also has a really sweepingly epic soundtrack for the subject matter the game is playing with. Its like I'm leading the charge into helms deep with Valkyrie on my flank whenever I'm setting up trade routes or building houses.

    There are a couple of games that have music which really stand out for me.

    Some are mentioned in the article, like Modern Warfare 2 (the music was the best part of the campaign).

    Then there are games like Smash Bros Brawl, which cheat by including the best of Nintendo's collection.

    To Zanarkand from FFX is one of my favourite songs for it's sheer beauty.

    Still, I think in terms of capturing the mood of "excuse me, I'm off to go save the fucking planet by blow up some aliens" and by just too damned awesome by half, the Halo theme has to get the nod as the best piece of classical music from a video game.

      Oops, I meant "Excuse me, I'm off to go save the fucking planet by blowing up some aliens." Not "by blow up". How awkward.

    Orchestra + My favorite game music = Manly Tears. I'm still shattered at the fact the Zelda Orchestra isn't coming to Australia...

    Anyway, the guys at VGO have some great orchestrated music, and they post a fair few of their performances on youtube:

    Wind Garden form Super Mario Galaxy:

    Silent Hill 2: Theme of Laura :D

    All of the Infinity Engine games had amazing soundtracks, especially those done by Jeremy Soule like Icewind Dale.

    Anything from the G1 Jockey Series! Amazing music, totally underrated! Seriously thou, the only soundtracks/music that is coming into my head thou, is Cowboy Bebop. I know it's not a video game. But seriously, the music in that series is just too good.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now