Video Game Music – Where to Plug Your Headphones In First?

I’ve been waiting a long while to start this article because of the project that I’ve been a part of. The goal of it was to create a Canon of video game music so that anyone who wanted to listen to VG music, would have a good place to start.

VGM Canon

If you listen to Video Game Music often, or maybe every now and then, or maybe even when you’re simply playing the game, you might think to yourself, “Damn! that’s pretty good!” and then of course you may want to check out more music by the same series or composer. Then of course you may want to find other music like it, and the quest goes onward; but, sometimes finding some good solid music is not the easiest thing in the world – especially when fanboys are everywhere. Not that certain games don’t have excellent soundtracks, but there are simply too many unpopular games that deserve massive recognition for their music, and so the Canon came to be.

I’ll post the current working list here for everyone to read, but I will also link you guys to the topic itself because this list is always changing, and we can always use the support of fellow enthusiasts. If you’re fresh into the pond of music, check it out and please enjoy.

Every song that is put on the list is voted on by everyone interested, and then arthurgolden, who runs the topic, then makes the tally and ultimate additions or rejections. Here are the 3 parameters voted upon:

The qualifications for what goes on this list should be that the soundtrack is either:
A) the soundtrack for a game that is hugely popular or important
B) one of the greatest soundtracks in video game music history
C) or a soundtrack that is important to the history of video game music

Finally, here is the songlist:

Amiga/Comodore64
Comic Bakery
Commando
Ghouls and Ghosts
Great Giana Sisters
Green Beret
LED Storm
Monty on the Run
Neverending Story
Turrican 1, 2, 3

Nes/Sega Master System


Batman
Bionic Commando
Blaster Master
Castlevania 1, 2, 3
Contra
Dr. Mario
Dragon Warrior
Duck Hunt
DuckTales
Faxanadu
Final Fantasy 1, 2, 3
Journey to Silius
Kid Icarus
Kirby’s Adventure
Legend of Zelda 1, 2
Lifeforce
Mega Man 1, 2, 3
Metal Gear
Metroid
Mike Tyson’s Punch Out
Ninja Gaiden
Shadowgate
Silver Surfer
Super Mario Bros. 1, 2, 3
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Tetris
Wizards and Warriors

SNES/Genesis/Turbo Gfx 16


Actraiser
Breath of Fire I, II
Chrono Trigger
Donkey Kong Country 1, 2
Earthbound
Earthworm Jim
F-Zero
Final Fantasy 4, 5, 6
GunStar Heroes
Killer Instinct
Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
Live A Live
Mega Man X
Ogre Battle
Phantasy Star IV
Secret of Evermore
Secret of Mana 1, 2
SimCity
Sonic 1, 2
Sonic CD (Japanese ver.)
Street Fighter II
Streets of Rage II
Super Mario RPG
Super Mario World
Super Metroid
Tactics Ogre
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time
Terranigma
ToeJam and Earl
Yoshi’s Island
Ys Book I and II
Zombies Ate My Neighbors

PS1/N64/Saturn


Banjo Kazooie
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
Chrono Cross
Final Fantasy 7, 8, 9
Final Fantasy Tactics
GoldenEye 007
Grandia
Guardian Heroes
Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
Lunar 1, 2
Metal Gear Solid
Parappa the Rappa
Resident Evil 2
Silent Hill
Star Ocean 2
Suikoden I, II
Super Mario 64
Turok 1, 2
Vagrant Story
Valkyrie Profile
Xenogears

PS2/Gamecube/Xbox/Dreamcast


.hack//Infection
Devil May Cry
Final Fantasy X
God of War
Guilty Gear X
Halo: Combat Evolved
Ico
Katamari Damacy
Kingdom Hearts
Kingdom Hearts II
Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker
Metal Gear Solid 2
Metroid Prime
Okami
Shadow of the Colossus
Shenmue
Shinobi
Sonic Adventure
Silent Hill 2, 3
Skies of Arcadia
Star Ocean 3: Till the End of Time
Suikoden III
We (heart) Katamari

PS3/Wii/Xbox 360


Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
Super Mario Galaxy
Valkyria Chronicles

PC Games
American McGee’s Alice
Cave Story
Deus Ex
Diablo
Dig, The
Doom
Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
Hobbit
Little Big Adventure 1, 2
Monkey Island 1, 2
Quake
Total Distortion
World of Warcraft

Handheld Games
Castlevania: Circle of the Moon
Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
Mother 3
Pokemon Red/Blue
Shantae

If you would like to join in and vote – Please Do! – or just check it out, then stop in here:
registration takes two seconds. The website will go down every now and then, but it’s up within a few days if it does.

Also, after you have done some hard earned listening, please check out Garudoh’s The Music of Video Games series on youtube. He has been doing it for over a year now, if not two (though it’s a new guy now). His work compiles an innumerable number of games and it’s excellent to listen to and watch.

Garudoh

And if you want to test our your knowledge after all of that, check out this excellent video game quiz on Sporcle:

Here

~Dan

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