Musical Monday: “Swanky Maximino” (Grim Fandango), composed by Peter McConnell

This week’s song is another of my favourites from Grim Fandango. It’s possible to miss it entirely — it plays in one teensy, tiny, optional room — and that would be a shame. It’s so great that I lingered to listen. Enjoy!

Note: I’ve decided to change the format again – the site’s been lagging, and I suspect this because there are too many videos on the front page. Click through for the video.

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Musical Monday: “Bone Wagon” (Grim Fandango), composed by Peter McConnell

In honour of the Grim Fandango re-release, I present one of my favourite tracks from the original. Enjoy!

 

Musical Monday: “Melee Cafe” (Rome: Total War), composed by Jeff van Dyck

If you played PC strategy games during the mid-2000s, this (oddly named) song will bring back memories for you. Enjoy!

Musical Monday: “Binary Sunset” (Star Wars), composed by John Williams

For this week’s song, I was spoiled for choice — ever since playing Empire at War, I’ve been in the mood for Star Wars music. In the end, I opted for the hopeful, yearning piece below. Enjoy, and may the Force be with you, gentle reader!

Musical Monday: “Pierre de Lune”/”Wizard Stones” (Endless Legend), composed by Flybyno

This year, I kick off with one of my favourite pieces of ambient music from Endless Legend, a game that has a lot of good ambient music. (Confusingly, the song goes by two different names.) Enjoy!

Musical Monday: “Heartaches by the Number” (Fallout: New Vegas), performed by Guy Mitchell

This week’s song is another one of my favourites from Fallout: New Vegas. Enjoy!

 

“Wilderness” (Crusader Kings II), composed by Andreas Waldetoft

After giving up on my dream of restoring the Persian empire in Crusader Kings II – believe me, I tried every strategy, half a dozen characters, and many, many times – I decided to try a Norse ruler instead. And wow, the Norse music (contained in the “Hymns to the Old Gods” DLC) is pretty good. The example below is lovely and mellow – enjoy! EDIT: It’s also mellower than the image would suggest – I only just noticed the dangling bodies. Yikes!

 

Musical Monday: “Desperate Fight” (Valkyria Chronicles), composed by Hitoshi Sakimoto

Here’s another gem from the Valkyria Chronicles soundtrack. It’s one of the game’s more iconic battle themes (despite the name, it plays in regular rather than boss battles); to me, this is VC. Enjoy!

 

Musical Monday: “Gabriel Knight Main Theme” and “St George’s Bookstore” (Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers), composed by Robert Holmes

This week, I present two variations on the same theme. The main title theme of Gabriel Knight is forty seconds of tension, followed by two minutes of intensity. It pops up again, this time a gentle guitar piece, as the ambient music in Gabriel’s bookstore. It’s stuck in my mind all these years, and below, I’ve linked the remastered versions from the new remake. Enjoy!

 

Musical Monday: “Triumph” (Frozen Synapse), composed by Paul Taylor

Frozen Synapse has recently been ported to Vita (as Frozen Synapse: Prime), so for this week, I thought I’d highlight my favourite track from the original game. Together with the visual design, the music is key to the game’s cyberpunk atmosphere – I suspect it’s especially important given the minimalism of the rest of the game. Enjoy!

Musical Tuesday: “Walls No Man Has Seen” (The Banner Saga), composed by Austin Wintory

This week’s song begins slowly, and it’s not as “attention-grabbing” as, say, the music that plays during the finale. Give it 30 seconds. I love how it builds to a higher, hopeful note. Enjoy!
 

 

Change of format this week – I’m including the video on the front page. I’ll revert this if it ends up lagging the page; otherwise, it should spare the need to click through. 

Musical Monday: “Cherry Blossom Color Season” (Katamari Damacy), composed by Yu Miyake

This week’s song is a great, quirky, happy piece from a great, quirky, happy game. It’s perhaps my single favourite from the Katamari soundtrack – no small feat, given how strong the other songs are. Enjoy!

 

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Musical Monday: “Cyan’s Theme” (Final Fantasy VI), composed by Nobuo Uematsu

This week’s song is another gem from FF6, which excelled at clear, simple, memorable character themes. I’m slowly learning how to play it on the piano; the version I linked below is the SNES original music. Decades later, it still sounds good. Enjoy!

 

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Musical Monday: “Main Theme” (Ni no Kuni), composed by Joe Hisaishi

With speculation swirling about the fate of Studio Ghibli, I’ve chosen to celebrate their work by presenting the main theme of Ni no Kuni. The world map theme, which I highlighted last year, is a variant. Enjoy!

 

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Musical Monday: “Tabi no Tochuu” (Spice and Wolf)

This week’s song is the opening theme to Spice and Wolf, a low-fantasy anime about the travels of a merchant and his unexpected companion — a pagan wolf goddess. It’s a gentle song for a gentle show (the franchise would make a great, non-combat-oriented game); enjoy!

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Musical Monday: Unreleased Serpent Boss Theme (Child of Light), composed by Coeur de Pirate

This week’s song is another piece from Child of Light, but it’s very different to the last one I linked. Last time, I highlighted CoL‘s sad, lovely main theme; but for this week, I’ve chosen a soaring, powerful boss theme, my favourite out of the battle themes in the game.  (I can’t understand why the boss themes aren’t available on the official soundtrack – they are excellent both in their own right and as part of the overall experience.) Enjoy!

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Musical Monday: “War Situation” (Tactics Ogre), composed by Hitoshi Sakimoto

This week’s song I’ve known and loved for years — it plays between chapters of Tactics Ogre, as the narration explains how the characters’ actions have affected the broader war raging around them. Quite simple, but catchy and effective. Enjoy!

 

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Musical Monday: “Aurora’s Theme” (Child of Light), composed by Coeur de Pirate

This week’s song is the lovely main menu music of Child of Light, one of this year’s notable RPGs.  It does double duty as the main character’s theme, and its motifs recur thoughout the game. Enjoy!

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Musical Monday: “Frog’s Theme” (Chrono Trigger), composed by Yasunori Mitsuda

Chrono Trigger is another 16-bit classic whose soundtrack remains a delight, two decades on. It’s been remixed and fan-covered many times, and this week, I present Taylor Davis’ violin rendition of “Frog’s Theme” — Frog being one of your first party members, a knight who’s been transformed into a giant, bipedal… well, frog. Enjoy!

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Musical Monday: “To Zanarkand” (Final Fantasy X), composed by Nobuo Uematsu

This week’s song is one of those beautiful, melancholy pieces I like so much — I’ve loved it for years, long before I touched the actual game. It’s another recurring fixture of Final Fantasy arranged concerts, and below, I’ve embedded both an orchestral version and a piano version that’s closer to the simplicity of the in-game song. Enjoy!

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Musical Monday: “The Lazy Detective Agency” (Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner: Raidou Kuzunoha vs the Soulless Army), composed by Shoji Meguro

Since I recently highlighted Raidou Kuzunoha‘s re-release on PSN, for this week I’ve chosen the bright, jazzy song that plays when you return to the main character’s office. The game is set in an alternate 1931 Japan, home to both flappers and kimono-clad passersby, and as you listen to the saxophone, imagine that mix of eras and cultures captured in the setting. Enjoy!

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Musical Monday: “Mario Solo Piano Medley” (Video Games Live Level 2), originally composed by Koji Kondo

This week, I present a chirpy piano take on gaming’s most iconic music (as arranged on this album). The first video is a studio recording – just the music, no background sound – and it’s pretty cool. The second is a noisy live recording, frequently interrupted by audience cheers – but it’s worth your time, because the pianist plays the first half blindfolded. Enjoy!

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Musical Monday: “Into a World Becoming Impure” (Valkyrie Profile), composed by Motoi Sakuraba

With Dark Souls II just out, the time is ripe to highlight composer Motoi Sakuraba’s previous work! This week, I give you the opening credits theme of Valkyrie Profile, a beautiful song for a beautiful, unique RPG whose retrospective I keep meaning to write.  There’s a strong, majestic element to the song, but also a more pensive one; as you listen, picture the scene in-game, as Valkyrie walks through the fields of Asgard, wind blowing around her. Enjoy! And if you’d like to listen to more Sakuraba, you can listen to my previous round-up here.

 

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Musical Monday: Aeris’ Theme (Final Fantasy VII), composed by Nobuo Uematsu

Since I alluded to this song a few days ago, I decided to feature it as this week’s featured piece. It’s popped up in basically every single Final Fantasy orchestral concert over the last decade, and for good reason — it’s lovely. Below, I’ve embedded the version from the 2007 Distant Worlds CD. Enjoy!

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Musical Monday: “We Will Not Be Forgotten” (The Banner Saga), composed by Austin Wintory

This week’s song (by Austin Wintory, of Journey fame) is The Banner Saga‘s main menu theme. It’s very short, just 45 seconds, but it’s lovely and does a great job of setting the emotional tone for the game. Enjoy!

 

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Musical Monday: Reader’s Choice Edition

It’s time to round up the suggestions I received for Musical Monday! There are ten altogether below the cut; some were listed in the comments beneath my initial post, while others were the subject of a write-in. Above each song, I’ve added my own thoughts; the actual videos are embedded inside spoiler tags, to avoid crashing/lagging browsers. There’s some good and varied music here, so happy listening, and thank you all for taking part!

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Musical Monday: “Memories of the City” (Persona 3), composed by Shoji Meguro

For the first Musical Monday of 2014, I’ve chosen a song first heard when the heroes of Persona 3 welcome in the new year, and unlike most of the songs I post, this one is not cheery, exciting, or energetic. There’s a sadness to it — but also a sense of quiet, determined strength. I like it a lot, and I hope you will, too.

 

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Musical Monday, Christmas/New Year 2013: “Baba Yetu” (Civilization IV), composed by Christopher Tin

I’ve featured “Baba Yetu” before, but I can think of no better song for the current season of hope and goodwill. Enjoy the music, and may you all have a wonderful Christmas and New Year!

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Musical Wednesday: “Time To Make History” (Persona 4: Golden), composed by Shoji Meguro

This week’s song is the battle music for Persona 4: Golden, which replaces (most of the time) “Reach Out To The Truth”, the battle music in the PS2 version of the game. Like its predecessor, this is energetic, upbeat, and effective; if forced to choose, I’d say the PS2 music is the better of the two, but this is still well worth a listen. Enjoy!

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I want YOUR soundtrack suggestions! (December 2013)

Several folks have been kind enough to recommend various songs to me, ranging from period music in Assassin’s Creed IV to the surprisingly heroic main theme of Evil Genius. Over the next few weeks I’d like to round up a “reader’s choice” edition of Musical Monday, so if you’ve come across a particularly memorable, effective, or plain enjoyable piece of game music that you’d like to highlight, please let me know in the comments!