I can’t really call this list a “Top 5” list because it isn’t. There are songs in games I’ve played that have been more masterful; they’ve been performed by a full orchestra with perfect precision, or composed by somebody with a true love for music and games alike. These next five in game tunes (can’t even really call some of them “songs”) mean the most to me as a listener, however. These songs/tunes have impacted my life in one way or another. Some are pure nostalgia, others not so much, but all bring back lots of great memories. Hopefully through this article, however, you’ll learn a bit more about me as I tell you the significance behind these songs.
These songs are in no particular order, but first up is The Equalizer from Madden 06, and I think it’s been used in a few other Madden games as well.
When I was in (I think) 3rd grade, my cousin sent me Madden 06 for Christmas because that same year, she had gotten me hooked on football. I thought that was the most epic thing because I usually didn’t get new releases, as my parents were pretty restrictive on my gaming time. At the time, I had a tiny (I mean, like about 10 inches tiny) TV, but that didn’t diminish my love for that game. I played through the Superstar mode 2 or 3 seasons before the data file corrupted, I won the Super Bowl, became MVP, etc. Then I move onto Franchise mode for a while and made my own dream team. It was amazing!
The soundtrack matched; it was one of the best soundtracks I’ve ever heard in a video game. This is one game where it was tough for me to pick just one song to put on this list; there were near half a dozen that easily could have made this list because they brought back great emotions and memories. This one, however, takes the cake. The Equalizer, like all songs on this list, is one that I can hum to myself and it all comes back to me. That’s the great thing about music; just a note or two can cause you to relive all your in-game exploits, and it can happen anywhere. From the simple “doo, doo, doo” of the Mario theme to the Gregorian Chant of the Halo theme, imitating an in-game song is an instant way to cause it all to come rushing back, anytime, anywhere.
Next up is One Final Effort from Halo 3.
About 3 years ago, my friend sold me an Xbox 360 with two official controllers for a mere $45. I have no idea what drove him to do such a thing, but he did it anyhow, and it changed my life forever. It took video games from something I enjoyed in my downtime into something that will drive my career after graduation. Halo 3 was the first game I bought for my 360, and as such, it was the first game I beat on my 360. One Final Effort is the song that accompanies the explosive ending to one of my favorite games of all time. That final sequence in Halo 3 was an adrenaline rush; there was stuff exploding everywhere, I’m driving a Warthog through all this stuff, my ally is shooting down everything he can on the turret, and this total beast music drives me to the finish where we hurtle through the sky and into our ship which ends the game. It’s one of those songs that fits the mood absolutely perfectly, and when Halo 3 ends, it makes the perfect transition into the final cutscene that brings you from high-adrenaline, high-energy gaming to a complete standstill where you are forced to recollect everything you’ve done in the campaign and reflect on it.
You know that feeling you get when you finish a game and you don’t know what to do with your life (or is it just me)? This song segues into that feeling perfectly, and it left such an impression on me; it left me hungry for more games and more Halo. It created a desire to do so much more with video games than I had up to that point. This song changed my life. Literally.
Third on this list is the Pokemon Crystal Bicycle Theme.
Oh man, the feels. Pokemon Crystal was my early childhood. I played that game so much, it’s not even funny. The weird thing is, I never did beat the Elite Four, but as a kid, I was OK with that. I was content riding around, entering tournaments, catching Pokemon, facing gym leaders, solving puzzles, and the whole nine yards. I used to be able to know what tune was going to come on as I entered each city; I could tell you where just about anything was, what most items did, etc. I was in love with Pokemon Crystal, more than any other game aside from Halo 3. Even as I’m writing this, I’m seriously considering digging out the old GBC cartridge and starting over. You know that feeling you get in your chest when you think of your favorite game or your best memory? That’s what I feel right now; I’m more emotionally attached to this game than is probably rational.
Let me just say, Cyndaquil was the most amazing Pokemon ever; I had to get that out of the way. I think Pokemon Crystal was the game that probably led me to be so narrative oriented when it comes to games. As a kid, I had a lot of sports games, arcade type games, racing games, and other titles that didn’t (and couldn’t) really have a storyline. Pokemon did, and as a kid who loved to read, I had no problem walking into every house, talking to every person, and learning the ENTIRE story. So, considering it’s a pretty large game, (especially for its time) and there are a ton of different songs to choose from, why did I choose the bicycle theme? I rode that bicycle a lot. Like, a ton. As you may know, when you get on your bicycle, it overrides the theme song that usually plays in any area, as each area has its own theme tune. So, I rode around for HOURS listening to this song; this song is the video game tune of my early childhood.
Number Four: Everything Turns Grey from Mat Hoffman’s Pro BMX
So, I had a pretty slim PS1 library, but this was one that I played a ton. This song doesn’t bring out the massive memories that the Pokemon or Halo songs do, but this is definitely the most memorable song from any of my PS1 games. Everything Turns Grey set the mood perfectly for the game, and this was one of two songs that I kept replaying over and over, since that was a feature of the Pro BMX, and for that, I am thankful. My time with Mat Hoffman’s Pro BMX was spent with perfectionism. I wanted to get every achievement possible, but alas, I was still a young grasshopper; I was NOT skilled enough to pull it all off. I think that game broke my need for perfectionism, and for that, I am thankful as well.
The last song on my list is the Lobby Theme from Black Ops II
This song isn’t necessarily the most beautiful, nor is it the most interesting. However, I do enjoy it a good deal because it’s upbeat, and I usually don’t listen to music of that genre. It also marks an important turning point in my gaming life. It marks the point where I started to define myself as a gamer; I poured over 200 hours into BLOPS II, and although I don’t regret it, I definitely don’t think I’ll ever do that to Call of Duty again. I’m not bashing COD here; I’m simply saying that this song symbolizes me journey to find and identify myself as a gamer. Despite the fact I’m moving to Battlefield to scratch my FPS itch, I’ll always remember this song with fond memories.
So, tell me, what video game song means a lot to you? What memories does it bring back? Share a link so I can listen to it! Follow me @OpinionAsAGamer, leave a like or a follow, and be sure to check out the LP channels in my “Links” tab. Thanks for reading and reminiscing!
Swimming in Nostalgia