We've come a long way since the first 8-bit tunes hit the limits of their respective chipsets. Top composers and conductors are brought in to translate entire worlds into musical notes. This all goes much further than your bog standard ''orchestra swells, violins wallow, cry now please''-pieces, because we all recognize when a developer has gone the extra mile to integrate music into the world, the characters and the emotions at play.
Of course, not every piece of music is created for the same purpose. Some are meant to make you feel joy, or relief, like that moment you firmly plant that elbow on the bar at the pub after a busy week. Others are meant to make you sob like you're watching the climaxes of Bambi, Finding Nemo and Coco all at once.
So, like my psychiatrist said last week: emotions are what we're aiming for here. The feeling of being an absolute badass, being taken by the total grief of the death of a character, the melancholia of seeing some sun shine through the rainy day. It's amazing that these simple lines of code are able to make us feel those genuine emotions.
So let's not muck about any longer: open those YouTube OST-lists on your tab, grab some tissues, and enjoy some of the finest video game music of the 21st century.
10. NieR Automata (Keiichi Okabe)
NieR is a weird game. It consists of equal parts philosophy, tragedy and emotional world building as it does of giant skeleton masks and upskirt imagery (it was an accident I swear). Most of its pieces have an almost surreal and ethereal feeling that strikingly fits the wonderful yet unnerving world.
NieR's soundtrack has a weirdly ''sweet'' feeling. A lot of its pieces feel very light, almost as if filling your room with the feelings of the characters on screen. All this sweetness disappears in a second for the more dramatic parts in the game, especially the excellent bosses. The sweet voices vanish, the tempo starts to rise, and the choir starts to swell. You'll feel the tension rise, and before you know it, you are sitting at the edge of your seat, intensely focused on the bullet hell gameplay infused hack 'n slash action.
The game's choir-like vocals recall those of the Ghost in the Shell movie and reveal the desolate earth that 2B and 9S find themselves in. In this, the game finds a unique balance between the aforementioned softness and slight and subtle tones of dread. A feeling that this is not our earth anymore, but merely a husk of what has been.