Considering it’s via public transportation, my commute to and from work every day always has a soundtrack to go along with it. I’m always plugged in to my portable music player of choice – as are the majority of every one else who I see embarking on their own journeys – however what this day-to-day soundtrack consists of is usually the result of an unnecessarily arduous internal struggle. It takes me forever to pick, and even when I do come to a decision I’m immediately in turmoil over whether my decision was the right one.
What a class-A first world problem, right? Luckily there is a ray of light that shines brilliantly on this problem, however; a ray of light that comes in the form of a special YouTube playlist I have set up for myself in anticipation of such trifling situations. Without fail, its contents will tap into deep emotions: a sense of nostalgia, resplendent in positive reinforcement that results in the realization that I 100% made the right decision.
This playlist I’m so adamant about contains various theme songs from a multitude of video games, both past and present. Often the unsung hero of game development, sound design is by far one of the most vital. It ties all the other elements of the game together by setting the mood, but is often overlooked when compared to art or design. Whenever people recall their favorite games, rarely will they cite the sounds of the game as crucial selling points.
What I’m ultimately aiming for here, in a grand, “what the hell I’m waffling on about” sort of way is that many themes from a few of my favorite games have a strong metal sensibility about them, and are worth re-listening to for that reason alone – not to mention how gosh-darn catchy they are. For the purposes of brevity I’ll list only two, but I encourage you to hit me back with more.
First up is the title theme from Rare’s Killer Instinct. This title was released in the mid 90′s on Super Nintendo and arcades during the rise of popularity in fighting games that was preceded by Mortal Kombat and Street Figther II by a couple of years. Rip off or not, this game had a killer theme song. The rhythm is simple enough, but has a groove that you could undoubtedly listen to on repeat for days on end. Throw in the solo and you have a winner here.
Secondly, I will present to you the theme from the “Spark Mandrill” stage of Capcom’s Megaman X. Picked for reasons very similar to the Killer Instinct theme, this track has MAJOR replay value. This track will keep your head bobbing, but at a much faster pace. Where the rhythm stands out more on KI’s theme, the solo stands out more with Spark Mandrill’s. It’s present in the entire theme, which is reason enough that it stands out more, but it complements the rhythm well by also having a faster pace and chops that will make want to pick up your SNES controller and tackle Spark Mandrill with the Blue Bomber yourself.
I realize that there’s an endless abundance of themes I could’ve selected for this post, but hey, you gotta start somewhere. If there’s any themes you think I should be crucified for not mentioning, sound off in the comments!