Music From Classic Video Games You Forgot About
Let’s say you meet someone new and you’re discussing your common interests. Maybe the topic of video games will come up, including video games you played in your childhood. Games like Super Mario 64, Animal Crossing, Zelda, and more are classic games that a lot of people have played, or at least heard of. But do you ever talk about the music from those games? Probably not.
Music is an integral part of video games. You may not think so, but the songs from these games are in your mind and you will feel things when you hear them again. So get ready, and join me as we go down this rabbit hole of nostalgia!
Animal Crossing – “Wild World Theme”
I remember laying in bed with the title screen on purely so I could listen to this song. When it ended I would turn off my DS, turn it back on, and listen again. This song has such a laid-back attitude, which the game itself really emphasizes. Animal Crossing is about relaxing and having fun, whether it be catching bugs or hanging out with your animal friends, and I can pick up on that from this song. The acoustic guitar and banjo help to envision a summer twilight, with cicadas crying and fireflies buzzing. The harmonica also adds to the small-town feel. Honestly, I could include so many songs from Animal Crossing, since they’re all so great—especially the hourly songs, which all tell their own story.
Fun Fact: One of the composers, Kazumi Totaka, also does the voice acting for Yoshi in the Mario franchise. Thank you, Yoshi, for this national treasure.
Super Mario 64 – “Dire, Dire Docks”
This level of Super Mario 64 always gave me anxiety. Diving underwater, watching my health meter deplete slowly, being in constant fear of that terrifying eel with the huge teeth coming after me… At least this song is calming enough that I didn’t have full blown panic attacks. “Dire, Dire Docks” has a slightly ominous feel at the beginning like there is something about the level the music doesn’t want you to know about. Then the drums kick in, you finally find that eel, and suddenly it’s more upbeat. You found the secret to the level and everything will be okay.
The Sims – “Buy Mode 1”
The Sims soundtrack creators didn’t have to go this hard, but I am so glad they did. I don’t know why they thought the mixture of flute, strings, and harp would make sense for one of the Buy Mode themes, but somehow it does. You can’t help but be excited to spend tons of Simoleons on a new TV because a burglar ran into your house and pocketed your old one. Or maybe your Sim is stomping on the ground in anger because a plant is blocking their path, leaving them immobile. Anyway, I’d love to put on my headphones and blast this as I walk through the aisles of the grocery store. If only capitalism and consumerism actually sounded this pleasant.
Wii – Mii Channel Theme
This one may be more well-known due to its meme status. It is, after all, a classic. The song is simple, with not too much going on at once, but it has a definite progression. The bells keep the song going, with little string interludes in between. It also has a hint of silliness, which might be the odd instrument combinations, or from the Miis themselves—I’m not too sure. Either way, this song is perfect for the Mii Channel. It couldn’t have been any other way.
Honorable Mention: Danganronpa – “Beautiful Dead”
This isn’t exactly a childhood nostalgia song, but it’s nostalgic for me since I first heard it at least four years ago. Plus, it gives off a vibe of memories lost. This song is, simply put, beautiful. If you heard it without knowing anything about the game, you would probably assume this is just a classic Japanese high school tune for a video game. How could you ever guess that this song is in a video game about high schoolers murdering each other? The song is upbeat, yet melancholic in a way. I am a huge fan of Masafumi Takada’s work, and I definitely think this is one of his best.