The Top Ten Most Iconic Songs In Gaming

Welcome to Part Three of a five-part series of the wonderful world of gaming music.

Every day this week, I will list my personal Top 10 for a variety of different topics, though there is a definite theme in the topic selection. Here’s the rundown:

Monday: Top 10 World Map and Stage Select Themes

Yesterday: Top 10 Opening Themes

TODAY: Top 10 Most Iconic Stage/Area Themes

Thursday: Top 10 Final Boss Themes

Friday: Top 10 Credits Themes

Icons. That which is revered above all else. When someone mentions a topic, the icons are the first thing that comes to mind. Today I’m looking at the ten songs that are most recognizable in the gaming industry. Anyone who calls him or herself a gamer knows these ten songs. Hell, even people who don’t play games know most of them too. These are the songs that will stick with gaming forever. They are the Top Ten Most Iconic Songs In Gaming

10. Dragon Quest VIII –  “Overture – Title Theme”

Everyone talks about how Final Fantasy is the big Square Enix RPG franchise, but Dragon Quest should not be overlooked. Since Dragon Warrior I on the NES, this series has been neck-and-neck with Final Fantasy and other RPGs, delivering the same quality gameplay and stellar soundtracks as the others. Now that the previously Japan-only iterations are all on the DS, there’s no reason why RPG fans can’t get acquainted with this stellar series of games. This is the main theme, a song that has followed the series throughout the years.

9. Metal Gear Solid – “Main Theme”

SNAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAKE! Metal Gear Solid is one of my favorite series, and Snake one of my favorite characters. Every time I hear this song, I go back to being ten years old, sneaking through Shadow Moses Island and fighting FOX-HOUND from noon until night. Some of the best moments in gaming all come from that lonely island in Alaska, accompanied by this distinct piece of music. Truly a song to stealth by.

8. Final Fantasy IX – “Prelude”

Say to a gamer “name a song with a harp” and they’ll say one of two things: “Final Fantasy” or if they know the name of the song, “Prelude.” Starting with the title screen of Final Fantasy I and going all the way to the final screens of Final Fantasy VIII, IX, and more, “Prelude” is as much a staple to Final Fantasy as the Chocobo. It’s the original fantasy song, from one of the originators of the RPG.

7. Street Fighter II – “Guile”

It goes with everything, from Maury Povich to french bulldog puppies to even Winnie the Pooh. Street Fighter has plenty of music that can be considered “iconic” but I don’t think any of them will be known as well as Guile’s, if only because of an Internet joke. Now go on reading and be a family man (or woman).

6. Halo – “Halo”

Master Chief took the world by storm back in 2001. Halo revolutionized the first-person shooter, bringing what was once a PC-centric genre (save Goldeneye for N64) to consoles forever. The music is just as steller, including the main theme here. For many current teenagers, the original Xbox was their first ever gaming console, and Halo their first action game. Because of them, Halo has become the juggernaut that it is, and this song will live forever with the games.

5. Mega Man 2 – “Dr. Wily Stage 1-2”

Mega Man has had a rough run the past few years. Exclusion from his company’s biggest crossover franchise, two cancelled games, and a caricature version of him appearing in another fighting crossover have kept fans nice and angry about their favorite robot. However, they’ll always have the classics, like Mega Man 2, and the excellent nostalgic gameplay they bring. I could have chosen a handful of songs to represent the Blue Bomber, but this track will resonate with anyone who has played through Mega Man 2. It’s the beginning of the end, the first level of Dr. Wily’s lair, and the perfect track to make gamers want to kick some mad scientist ass. There was no other choice.

4. Sonic The Hedgehog – “Green Hill Zone”

It’s a shame that Sonic is so low on this list; there was a time where he and Mario were at each other’s throats for the gaming spotlight. Back when Sega did what Nintendidn’t, Sonic the Hedgehog took the platforming format that Mario perfected and added to it, creating an experience that many thought was superior to what the plumber offered. Unfortunately, nowadays Sonic can’t hold Mario’s plunger in terms of popularity, but songs like “Green Hill Zone” will help us remember the good times…and hope for more of them, too.

3. Tetris – “Main Theme”

Talk about songs that get stuck in the head. Fifteen minutes with a Game Boy, Tetris, and this melody, properly known as “Korobeiniki,” and the music will fill your ears for the rest of the day. One would think that with the constant loop of this track and the addictive nature of the game, Korobeiniki would get old quick, but any time it enters my ears I still love hearing it, whether it’s the original Game Boy version or a fantastic remix.

2. Legend of Zelda – “Overworld”

We’ve all heard the track before, the familiar tune that joined a young boy gathering the Triforce and saving the land of Hyrule. The memories that can be invoked just by playing this tune are immeasurable throughout gamerdom; everyone has a Zelda moment. Whether it’s the original NES adventure or the most recent Skyward Sword, every gamer has the one Zelda scene or dungeon that sticks out in their minds. This song brings them all to the forefront.

1. Super Mario Bros – “Overworld/Main Theme”

There’s not a whole lot I can say about this song. Everyone knows it, gamer and non-gamer alike. Mario is gaming’s Mickey Mouse, the face of not only the company that created them, but the medium they represent. There is no Call of Duty, no BioShock, no nothing without the Italian plumber with the red hat. Just as Mickey Mouse has his March, Mario has his Main Theme. It doesn’t get more iconic than Super Mario Brothers.

Once again, I’d like all of you to let me know how you feel about my choices and to tell me your recommendations. As much as I call myself a gamer, I haven’t played everything, so anything I haven’t heard is absolutely welcome.

Tomorrow we will listen to the sounds of epic battles with the Top Ten Final Boss Themes. I hope you’re ready.

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  1. InkSix

    For gamers, the top three seem correct, but in the general populace Tetris would place 2nd. My lack of interest in most popular franchises left this kist lacking for me, but I recognized Zelda even tho I’ve never played one.

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