10 Underappreciated Soundtracks That Defined Your Favourite Video Games

Music to your ears.

Transistor Soundtrack
Supergiant Games

Music is perhaps the single most overlooked aspect of video games, something which is generally expected to be there, but which hardly receives much praise or criticism. That said, music is equally one of the most important components in the construction of a given experience, setting tone or maintaining atmosphere, as well as manipulating emotional responses, and even regulating pace.

Music is everything, and gaming contains a complex relationship between image and sound, despite most critics ignoring the former in favour of the latter. In fairness, music is a challenging component to discuss, especially considering its subjective qualities. I mean, what exactly makes for a great soundtrack? It’s a difficult question – one which most critics have a tendency of disregarding completely – choosing instead to comment on gameplay or storytelling because those particular aspects are easier to critique, as well as comprehend.

It can be a tough balancing act, and gaming is perhaps the one medium in which composers deserve the most credit, yet they usually receive the least.

That said, here are 10 soundtracks which completely defined your favourite games...

10. Katamari Damacy (Yuu Miyake)

This particular soundtrack was one of the game’s primary selling points, serving as a major talking point whenever anybody mentions Katamari Damacy. It’s imaginative and playful, drawing influences from jazz and samba, and combining those influences with more conventional video game music in order to create a wonderful hybrid sound, which is completely unpredictable.

The composer, Yuu Miyake, does an incredible job arranging the various instrumental components, creating a unique sounding mixture of numerous, seemingly incompatible sounds. It’s bizarre at times, certainly – merging estranged vocals with miscellaneous noises and otherworldly vibrations – but the effect is remarkably poignant, a natural extension of those qualities found throughout the actual game.

It’s precisely this ingenuity of arrangement as well as variation which manages to encapsulate the brilliance and humour of the Katamari Damacy universe, bringing everything, from the striking visuals and unforgettable characters, lovingly to life, including the main theme, ‘Katamari Nah-Nah’, which is just wonderfully addictive in its own right.

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Formerly an assistant editor, Richard's interests include detective fiction and Japanese horror movies.