Weekend Gaming Vibes – Playlist #3

It’s been two weeks since my last blog post. As much as I’d like to say there’s a particular reason I haven’t posted anything recently, I’ve quite simply hit a bit of a drought regarding WordPress posts. I have a handful of loose ideas I would like to write up something for, but most of them require me to finish playing the specific game…which I have not. Whenever I have trouble coming up with ideas or generally concentrating on writing, I usually spend extended periods of time listening through video game music as I find that often times provide some sort of inspiration to write. I have been playing through a fairly ecclectic group of games at the moment, so I decided for today’s post to simply include some of the music I’ve been listening to as of late…

Cyberpunk 2077 – Hyper-Spoiler

We’ll start things off with a track from Cyberpunk 2077. After 8 years and an insurmountable level of hype around this game, it was finally released this past week. The game’s reception has been…..less than stellar as countless bugs and glitches – sometimes game-breaking, sometimes plain funny, have very negatively affected CD Projekt Red’s mega-hyped release. Say what you will about the game and it’s littany of issue, it does have a pretty killer soundtrack. I’ve played the game for about 4 and a half hours without any catastrophic crashes or glitches – a few minor graphical hiccups here and there, and will be playing this at perhaps a more leisurely pace while the unfortunate dev team at CDPR scrambles to salvage this train wreck of a game launch. I do have a bit to say about the game and the events surrounding its release(yikes!), which I may write about in a follow-up post in the future, but for now I’ll stick with the awesome soundtrack…

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity – Overlooking Hyrule

I bought Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity a few weeks ago after really enjoying the game demo on my Switch. I hadn’t ever played any of the Warriors/Musou games before, but have had a lot of fun in the 8 or so hours I’ve invested. I’ve seen others stating online that they were satisfied with the game overall, but were a little disappointed in some of the story beats as it was presented originally as essentially, a prequel to Breath of the Wild. I love the dramatic grandeur to the track – Overlooking Hyrule as you hear the spirited strings and piano, but can also notice the march of the drums underneath as you envision the Hyrule Army preparing for the onslaught of Calamity Ganon.

GoldenEye – Dam(Tweaklab Synthwave Version)

I recently went back to bask in the nostalgia of playing GoldenEye on my N64 a couple weeks ago as part of a random Twitch stream. The game certainly shows its age in the visual department, but still manages to remain entertaining after 23 years. It also has an iconic soundtrack that instantly conjures all those warm, fuzzy feelings of nostalgia. So, naturally, I’ve spent a fair amount of time recently going through and listening to random OST remixes on YouTube. Here’s one of my favorites that sounds more or less like a meeting of 007 and Stranger Things…

Yakuza 0 – Heartbreak Mermaid

I’ve recently been playing the Yakuza games after knowing OF them for many years, but having never played them. I’m really, really loving the cocktail of seriousness and absurdity in both the characters and storylines. One of my favorite activities within the Yakuza games has been the karaoke mini-games. Here’s one of my favorite songs that has been stuck in my head almost endlessly since playing…

Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla – The First Departure

I’ve been playing Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla here and there for the past month, and I’d say overall I’m really enjoying the game, but feel like it doesn’t quite have me “hooked” just yet. One aspect of the game I absolutely love is the soundtrack, which finds longtime AC composer Jesper Kyd returning to the series along with Sarah Schachner, who was responsible for AC: Origin’s wonderful instrumentation. I love the solemn tone of the stringed instruments, and the spacious sound that’s created within the track. Sometimes, the most impactful pieces of music aren’t ones that fill every second with sounds, but rather allow the space for the selected notes to resonate.

Hades – God of the Dead

Well…I wasn’t going to write a list of video game music I’ve been listening to lately and NOT include something from Hades – my Game of the Year pick for 2020. I absolutely love the Hades soundtrack and the range of instruments and styles showcased within. Supergiant Games composer Darren Korb(also the voice of Zagreus and Skelly in the game) described the music featured in Hades as “Mediterranean prog rock”. Take a listen to this epic battle music…

That’s really all I have for now, gonna go play some more video games. Thanks for reading!

Geek Out Challenge – Day 17

Day 17 of the Geek Out Challenge! Today we’re talking about video game soundtracks. The scores and soundtracks for video games are light years away from where they began in the early years of video games in terms of complexity and impact. We’ve come a LONG way since the “bleep-boop-beep” music that accompanied early arcade games. Soundtracks for games play an even more important role in conveying the feelings that may not always be established through just dialogue and setting; some games are remembered almost exclusively for their soundtracks. The problem that arose in thinking of my favorite video game soundtrack is that I don’t think it would be possible to name just one, from classic games like Sonic 2 or Donkey Kong Country, or more modern games like the jazzy upbeat Persona 5 soundtrack or the beautifully ambience of the Red Dead Redemption 2 score. RPGs like Final Fantasy routinely have great soundtracks, as well as Legend of Zelda games. What I have done is included a few examples of single pieces within certain games that I would point to as some of my favorites.

Donkey Kong Country – Underwater Theme – An all-time classic game for the SNES with a classic soundtrack that is still recognizable today. David Wise created the soundtrack for Donkey Kong Country and the underwater theme has always been my favorite. I’ve mentioned before I usually have some sort of attachment to underwater levels, such as Donkey Kong Country and the Mario games. The relaxing aura of the underwater theme in Donkey Kong Country is probably the first example of favorite soundtracks that springs to mind.

Far Cry 5 – Keep Your Rifle By Your Side – This one kind of surprised me at how much I loved it after hearing it in game a couple times. Far Cry 5 has a mixture of original score, licensed classic rock and alternative songs that play primarily in vehicles while driving around, but there is also a list of original songs that are scattered throughout the game. Far Cry takes a cue from games like Grand Theft Auto, you can change between a few different channels while driving vehicles around the fictional Hope County, one channel will have classic rock songs like Ram Jam’s – Black Betty or Free’s – All Right Now, or another will have what is the music played for the cult members of the Project at Eden’s Gate. I found myself really enjoying the…ahem….cult music while playing through Far Cry 5 and the soundtrack has since become one of my favorites. Keep Your Rifle By Your Side is the choral arrangement(there’s different arrangements for all the songs), that exudes a really western “Americana” sound to it; a musical genre that usually doesn’t appeal too much to me. I have become weirdly attached to this soundtrack…

Banjo-Kazooie – Spiral Mountain Theme – The soundtrack from Banjo-Kazooie is still one of my favorites after all these years. Grant Kirkhope’s use of everything from marimba, flute, to banjo(obviously) was really unique at the time and has become a favorite of seemingly many people who grew up with the odd soundtrack from this classic N64 game.

The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask – Astral Observatory Theme – I wasn’t going to have a list of favorite video game music without something from the Legend of Zelda games, a franchise with many epic soundtracks. Majora’s Mask had a darker, more ominous tone to it than other Zelda games, and I think the soundtrack complimented that perfectly. Out of all the wonderful music in Majora’s Mask, my favorite has to be the ethereal theme for the Astral Observatory, somewhere you only spend a few minutes throughout the entire game, but nonetheless is still one of the most beautiful musical pieces I have heard in a video game.

That’s all for now! What video game soundtracks are your favorite? Let me know in the comments below. Only two weeks left of the Geek Out Challenge, let’s keep this up! See you tomorrow…