Whether you listen to it outside of games or not, the music that plays in the background during our experiences only helps to enhance gaming. With every generation, we try and figure out which games had the best tracks, overall soundtracks, or most memorable tunes. Game music is a very common subject and Leviathyn has had plenty of articles and list about it. We love our music here. For some of us, the music we hear in our games takes on a very real aspect. For me, whenever I write my own personal stories and other works I almost always have a game music mix on. I normally don’t listen to full soundtracks, though. I like to mix it up from different games to keep things fresh. If I listen to the same sounds over and over again I’ll get bored and it effects me and my writing. I need to keep myself on my toes in order to churn out the best words I can.
Whenever I write for the site I sometimes do the same thing. Right now I’m listening to a playlist I made of my favorite tracks from OCRemix’s Maverick Rising compilation. Speaking of, I actually did a review for that. What I’d like to bring to you all is another one of my more frequented playlists. This list of music is specifically designed to help me mellow out and chill. It’s for when I have just need to calm down and sooth my mind in order to write, think clearly, or anything else that requires my utmost attention. Game music is powerful. It empowers scenes and when you remember why that track was played during that part of a game, you start to feel that connection in your own life. Well, at least I do.
This is my relaxation playlist full of gaming gems.
10. Dragon Age 2 – I’m Not Calling You A Liar
This beautiful rendition of Florence & The Machine’s song really gave a great closure to Dragon Age 2. While the game gets a bad rep, I thoroughly enjoyed it and I couldn’t think of a better song to accompany the credits as the story closes out. I can’t tell you I’m a fan of the original but the way the band redid their song to fit the theme of the game was amazing.
9. Mass Effect 2 – New Worlds
Uncharted Worlds from the first game was a great piece to accompany the Galaxy Map. The series kept using that base song and adding new pieces to it like a puzzle. New Worlds is the best track in the entire series. It really gives you a sense that you’re in a sci-fi universe exploring a vast galaxy. How? Notice how calm the track is with subtle yet powerful sounds breaking in and out to enhance the impact of the song. It gives me a sense of openness which is perfect for a game that is featured in space. The Galaxy Map is the series’ way of space travel. The only time we get to see this travel is when we use the Mass Relays. This track really helped me feel like I was a space traveler and at the same time, give a soothing break between action sequences.
8. The Secret of Monkey Island – Intro
Guybrush Threepwood is a curious, brave, and lighthearted fellow. The intro theme to Monkey Island really is a great way to convey the character that you play as and even tells of the nature of the island itself (which is shown in all its glory). Its tones give off a light mood but at the same time also give off a sense of adventure that you’ll have. It is a calm track with a small and slow ramp up that basically screams out, “this island is full of adventure and you’re about to have one.”
7. Super Mario 64 – Dire, Dire Docks
Super Mario 64 is a legendary game. It catapulted gaming’s superstar into the future and the soundtrack was no different. Ever since 64, Mario games have had some of the most atmospheric and amazing tracks. Nintendo knows just how to get it right with gameplay and immersion. Dire, Dire Docks is a wonderful example. The tracks gives you a sense of a calm and soothing area. Water can be a beautiful and wondrous thing to behold but at the same time can be terrifying and dangerous. Dire, Dire Docks helped me focus on the calm nature of the level which brought surprise when it came time to battle enemies. It is a great way to get your players in one mood yet have them experience something completely different.
6. Final Fantasy VIII – Fisherman’s Horizon
What a beautiful track. Fisherman’s Horizon is perhaps the best track in the entire game. In this part of Final Fantasy VIII, we’ve just crashed a hovering city into the mid-way oceanic destination. While waiting for the Balamb Garden to get repaired, Squall has to save the town from being burned down by Galbadia. The tune for Fisherman’s Horizon is set to show off how remote and carefree it is supposed to be. It isn’t meant for this kind of anger and destruction.
5. Sonic CD – Palmtree Panic ~Good Future~
When I was a kid I was huge into Sonic. One day my mother brought me home the Sonic Boom soundtrack which was all of Sonic CD’s US tracks. There are completely different soundtracks for the US version and other territories. While the others opted for traditional stage tunes, the US got atmospheric songs that tried to enhance the stages you played in, no matter what time frame Sonic zoomed into. Palmtree Panic’s good future is one of the tracks that I really got into and still am to this day.
4. Chrono Trigger – World Map
After getting into Final Fantasy as a kid, I had decided to try out Squaresoft’s newest RPG, Chrono Trigger. Good morning, Chrono was a great way to open a game that begins in a great time of peace and advancement. I was so happy to hear that the World Map music stayed the same for a bulk of the game. It was like a piece of the characters’ love for their own time followed them through the adventure. A little solace of comfort that perhaps one day they would finally return home.
3. Kingdom Hearts 2 – Dearly Beloved II
I can’t get over how amazing this track is compared to the original arrangement in the first game. Dearly Beloved is almost like the title track for the game. It plays during the title menu and at certain parts of the game. It really is quite a lovely track. It’s one of those tunes that you can close your eyes to and just sink into the music.
2. Metal Gear Solid – The Best Is Yet To Come
I was very surprised at this track. After all is said and done, Solid Snake’s returning triumph ends with this — a soothing and beautifully done song. It is very different from the rest of the soundtrack. Where some other calm-sounding tracks played during the story, they were all meant to set up into something else. A boss battle, challenging room, etc. This track, however, was meant to close your adventure out. It really gave a reason to stick by for the credits after watching the spectacular ending to this classic.
1. Final Fantasy VII – Interrupted by Fireworks
Out of all the Final Fantasy games and just about every game I’ve ever played, this song is the one that sticks the most in my mind. Dubbed “Words Drowned by Fireworks” in the US, this track played during the romantic scenes during the game. I just remember the Gold Saucer ride and Cloud sitting with Tifa before the final battle. Everyone went to find closure to their lives just in case of failure, yet Cloud and Tifa stayed with each other and watched the sun set. It was a great scene enhanced by a wonderful track. This song plays in my head a lot when I’m trying to chill out. It reminds me that through the greatest challenges, there is always something or someone waiting for you at the other end. A thought that everyone should have in their heads.