But it has to be said, if you really want to get the full experience for these soundtracks give these games a spin.
Gaming is a medium that’s meant to be engaged with, and these reactive, organic scores are no different.
This list brought back a lot of memories, more than your typical retrospective list, and during the very long process of growing it these tunes brought us back to specific times — Christmas mornings, drunk nights as teenagers, half-forgotten Blockbuster rentals and so much more.
We hope this list brings back some memories for you too.
Most importantly: licensed soundtracks — an incredible act of curation and an art form in their own right — are out of bounds.
This means no Beatles Rock Band, no Tony Hawk, and no Grand Theft Auto (for what it’s worth, Vice City is the best) because to mix those with original soundtracks is simply unfair.
Go for either one, as the Ecco games make up some of the spaciest music of the era.Even some boss battles were simply drum loops and pads.Unfairly maligned, but Soule’s approach to ‘90s RPG music was one of a kind.Extra points go to Yacht Club for convincing original Al Lowe (PC, 1987) Not as classy as Journey-composer Alex Wintory’s orchestral score for the remake, but we’ll stick with the Roland MT-32 original, which perfectly captures the chintzy trashiness of this Las Vegas vacation (sorry, we mean Lost Wages vacation).When winning means getting the titular 40-year-old virgin laid, classy barely comes into it.Video games and music have always gone hand in hand.But what are the greatest examples of this marriage?That way we can include even more games that might have gotten snubbed otherwise (there are, obviously, some exceptional cases).Finally, we’ve included a song for each entry and a playlist for them all.Attila Dobos, András Magyari, Andy Armer (Genesis, 1994) The Ecco: The Dolphin series is probably a lot weirder than you remember.What seemed like a cute kids game about a dolphin quickly turned into a very difficult, very trippy adventure that involves aliens, time travel, and the lost city of Atlantis.The result is a genre hopping carnival ride and one of Peter Mc Connell’s wildest scores.Whatever fractured mind you enter Mc Connell finds a way to make the music stick., developers Yacht Club Games knew they had to make sure there was as much attention paid to the sound as there was the rest of the game’s presentation.