OcUK's Gaming Mixtape

The soundtracks to games are often phenomenal. One Monday morning, the OcUK team were talking about our favourite gaming soundtracks. An idea after another snowballed, and now we have another collaborative blog for you! With a matching mixtape playlist. (Hands up those who always want a matching playlist for blog content. Just me?)

OcUK's Gaming Mixtape

Music elicits emotion, and gaming composers have mastered that art down to a tee. The score will tug at your heart strings in the sad cut scenes, or signal danger is just around the corner. (Looking at you, early Tomb Raider games.) With so much skill and musical genius on offer, it’s no wonder that so many of us were eager to share our favourites. So, dig out your headset and put Spotify on standby, we’re about to get nerdy over music. 

Emily’s Mixtape

If there is one thing to be said about my taste in music is that it is eclectic. My Heart Eyes playlist is a cluster-fork of morose ballads, film scores, and 90’s bops. It’s also 116 hours long. Instead of delving into the can of worms that is my music taste, I’m here to share a couple of my favourite gaming albums and songs. 

Final Fantasy IX by Nobuo Uematsu

It should come as no shock that my first pick is the soundtrack to Final Fantasy IX. It’s my most favourite game ever and you’ve only heard me say it a hundred times already. FF9 was scored by veteran gaming composer, Nobuo Uematsu. He has composed over 30 gaming soundtracks, most notably the Final Fantasy Series, and even has a rock band that does covers of his game music, called The Black Mages. (Their version of Vamo alla Flamenco is perfection.) Before I fall down the wiki rabbit hole and make this a blog all about Uematsu, I guess I should talk about why I love FF9’s soundtrack so much. 

For me, this soundtrack hits all the right notes. The battle music is the right level of hype, the overlaying melodic themes are recognisable but work in each of the different songs that use them, and You Are Not Alone is a bop. I had to name-drop at least one, c’mon. I first played FF9 when I was about ten and bought a copy of the soundtrack as an 18th birthday present to myself. It has been a strong constant in my life and, without getting sappy, I think that is pretty cool. 

Farming Sim Soundtracks

The other “big surprise”, I have chosen farming sim soundtracks in general as my next pick. Once again, discovered in my formative years, farming sims are a genre of game that I just adore. From the methodical gameplay to the chill soundtracks, I can easily sink a weekend into binge playing a great farming sim. Re:Legend is my current flavour. So many have great soundtracks, too! Stardew Valley has those lofi vibes, Story of Seasons is delightfully upbeat, and even the indie, Kickstarter farming sims pay great attention to the music. 

Narrowing it down, of course I am going with the nostalgia whimsy and picking Harvest Moon: Back to Nature. Spotify doesn’t have the original soundtrack by Miyuki Homareda, but it does have the Arcade Player cover version! 

Classic Arcade Music, Disney, and a Steam Powered Giraffe?

Finally, I have three notable gaming songs that have made their way onto many of my personal playlists. The main theme song from the arcade classic Bubble Bobble 2 lives rent free in my head. It’s always there, on the tip of my tongue, ready for me to break out into its catchy melody. If I was a phone, it would be my hold music. 

Kingdom Hearts was a dream I never knew I had come true. Bringing Disney and Final Fantasy together in one beautiful place? Yes, please. The whole soundtrack is fabulous, for all the games, but the one that capture my nerdy heart had to be the Hallowe’en Town music. The Tarzan music admittedly comes a close second. 

I only discovered this last track because I was a fan of the band first. How does one discover a band called Steam Powered Giraffe? The answer is convoluted, and I won’t bore you with the details. What you do need to know is that this band is formed of robot characters, and they sing fun, steampunk songs. Sometimes set in space. They repurposed a selection of their hits and composed a bunch of new songs for the puzzle platformer, SteamWorld Heist! Heist Ho! being the main theme. Honestly, give the whole album a listen, it’s a great cross-section of the SPG catalogue!

Ruth’s Mixtape 

Whilst my usual music taste is packed full of heavy metal and rock classics, the main thing I look out for in my gaming tunes is the feeling of nostalgia.  

If a soundtrack can instantly make me relive a childhood memory or one of my favourite in-game moments, it’s definitely going on my list. Whilst that list has about a hundred entries, I’ve managed to narrow it down to a select few.

The Sims 2

The game that started it all! I can’t deny it, The Sims 2 is my favourite game of all-time, and ultimately what started my obsession with simulation games and The Sims franchise ( having over 5000 hours in The Sims 4 is a personal achievement of mine…) Therefore, its soundtrack holds a very special place in my heart.  

It instantly takes me back to sitting in front of the computer with my sister, arguing over who gets to control the mouse, and which Sim family we should go in and wreak havoc on. (Thankfully, we later got a laptop each…) 

Every track in the soundtrack is dedicated to a specific part of gameplay. For instance, when I want to sit back and enjoy giving a much-needed makeover to a townie sim, it’s ‘‘Makeover’’ or ‘‘Sim Time Sim Place’’. Alternatively, if I want to build the ultimate mansion, it has to be ‘‘Bare Bones’’ or better yet ‘‘Sim Builder’’.  

However, in reality, it doesn’t matter if I’m playing the game or drafting one of the latest blog posts – you can guarantee I’ve listened to this at least twice, and absolutely had a little dance whilst sitting at my desk alongside it.  

Animal Crossing

Another one that brings back all the feels is soundtracks from Animal Crossing. I’ve been a long-time player since Wild World came out in 2005, all the way to the game that saved lockdown, New Horizons. From upbeat tunes that you can’t help but bop along to, or completely chill themes that you can unwind and relax to – Animal Crossing has a soundtrack to suit every type of mood.  

 The first one that comes to mind and ultimately captured my childhood heart, would have to be ‘’The Roost Café’’. You can find me listening to this whilst I make the all-important morning coffee or breakfast on a Sunday – it is the ultimate morning soundtrack. 

Within seconds of listening, I’m transported to relaxing at the café and enjoying a coffee with Brewster and many more of my favourite villagers and NPCs (I am, of course, a Mr. Resetti stan).  

Spotify unfortunately doesn’t have the original version, but I’ve found a cover that still delivers all the feels and memories. 

Stardew Valley

Alongside life-simulator games, another love of mine is farming sims. My all-time favourite has to be Stardew Valley. The game and its soundtrack have been made by just one person, Concerned Ape, and is the ultimate farming simulator.  

Whether you want to get away from your 9-5 by escaping to the countryside, growing some crops, herding animals, or battling it out against deadly enemies in the Skull Cavens – Stardew Valley features something every kind of gamer will enjoy.  

When I think about playing Stardew Valley, the first track that comes to my mind is ‘’The Dance of the Moonlight Jellies’’. Thanks to the in-game juke box, this plays consistently on my farm, in every building, and my house. (Much to the despair of my partner…) Not only is summer my favourite season, the Moonlight Jellies has to be the best in-game festival.  

You can sit back and enjoy the beautiful sight of jellyfish migrating, with cosy lighting and this relaxing tune as the backdrop. 

If I could, I would make the entire album the soundtrack to my life, and ultimately the entire thing deserves a listen too! 

Simon’s Mixtape

Now I wasn’t very interested in music until I got into my late teens. In fact, I owned one single as a child (Turtle Time by Partners in Kryme), and didn’t buy an album until my teens (Chef Aid: The South Park Album). But gaming music always stuck with me. Even today I can hear those distinctive melodies from classic games way back in the past, such as Ballad of the Windfish from Link’s Awakening, the Super Sonic Theme from Sonic 3 & Knuckles, and the ending track of Super Mario Land.  

World of Warcraft – Mists of Pandaria 

I’m a huge WoW fan, and have been pretty much since it dropped back in 2004 (existential crisis on the time spent on Azeroth). Through all the highs and lows, there’s something that has always stayed consistent, really good music. From stepping into Magmadar’s cavern back within the Molten Core, to riding your Dragon during a race around the Dragon Isles, there is an epic soundtrack to match. 

I have found it really difficult to choose a favourite soundtrack from amongst all the bangers but finally I settled upon the Mists of Pandaria Soundtrack. This, I believe, has a great balance of tracks, from calm mellow melodies perfect for relaxing to with a drink, to high energy upbeat bops. Just the thing to get you in the mood to take down the BBEG! Oh, and the real reason I chose this soundtrack and not Cataclysm, despite Nightsong being fantastic: the Tavern Music. You owe it to yourself to listen to this kazoo filled masterpiece

Sonic Mania

Oh boy, when I first saw the tailer for Sonic Mania it made all the pain of recent Sonic games just fade away. This was how Sonic was meant to be, in all his 2D glory with some music that just gets you ready to shout “You’re too slow!” at yourself for not doing better! Sonic Mania was a true love letter by fans of Sonic showing Sega how it was meant to be done. 

Tee Lopes has composed some true masterpieces in here, from re-imaginings of classic level themes to entirely new tracks that match perfectly. If I had to pick a favourite, it’s got to be Ruby Illusions, the theme for your final battle (or is it?) with Dr Robotnik. No, I will never call him Eggman! This track is enough to give you an overdose of adrenaline, as you try to squeeze in a hit between him jumping around and zapping everything in sight. 

Soundtracks and More

Now I have three more tracks for you, and one of them I’ve cheated with as it’s not officially from a soundtrack but is based on a game. But I’ll leave you in suspense for that as first we have a couple of actual pieces of music from soundtracks. 

First off is my most recent pick, Disposal Unit from the Warhammer 40K: Darktide soundtrack. This is what you’ll hear in game when facing off against an assassination target. It captures the grim darkness of the 41st Millenium, with a perfect blend of electronica and choir music. By order of His Most Holy Inquisition, you are tasked with Purging the Heresy of not listening to this track now! 

Next up is the track that cemented the Yakuza series in my heart. Just hearing this track kick in lets me know I am in for one hell of a fight with KUZE!!! This gaming series is home to some amazing music, but Pledge of Demon just gets me hyped no matter how many times I hear it. 

And lastly, here’s my little cheat song. Miracle of Sound, aka Gavin Dunne, is an artist who composes and performs music based on many popular gaming titles. For my pick from his extensive catalogue, I’ve gone for Edge of the World. This song was penned to celebrate Rise of the Tomb Raider, and features an amazing performance by Lisa Foiles. 

Jacob’s Mixtape

My personal music taste is something of an enigma to define. My preferences exist in an odd Bermuda triangle of rock, metal, and alternative with David Bowie straddled atop riding a tiger made of lightning ruling above all else. When it comes to video games though there is often one commonality – memories. 

It Has to Be This Way 

Each of the albums and tracks on my personal mixtape evoke something nostalgic in me. At the very least, they awaken the same dopamine rush playing the game gave me. Never is that more prevalent than when I put the Metal Gear Rising Revengeance Vocal Tracks Selection on. There’s something distinct about every track whilst they’re all still equally adrenaline pumping. The way this game used music in combat, especially in boss battles, stays with you. Rules of Nature gets an easy headbang out of me, but nothing is quite as epic as the final boss beat of It Has to Be This Way. Every song has a message though, with lyrics conveying the philosophies and conflicts key to the characters they’re linked to. 

Knock, Knock It’s Knuckles

The Sonic Adventure 2 soundtrack is a cultural milestone, and I will not hear anything different. Songs were written for every level and character that you could then listen to at your leisure from the game’s built-in jukebox options. The iconic Pumpkin Hill theme was only ever a button away. I am the E.G.G.M.A.N., Escape From The City, It Doesn’t Matter…all certified platinum bangers. But also, only appetisers to the real main course; Live & Learn. Crush 40’s magnum opus is, in my completely correct opinion, the greatest final boss music of all time.

And All the Rest 

As for other tracks? Honestly, the Sonic franchise needs a ranking for all the bangers it put out in the 2000s. But Sonic Frontiers brought some fire back with its many boss battle themes. Undefeatable stands atop the pile in my opinion, but that opinion could be different tomorrow. 

To the surprise of absolutely nobody who knows me, I must give Pokémon a tip of the hat for my other two track selections. Granted, I could write a whole article on the greatest music from Pokémon, but I’ve been told to keep a lid on it. Sadly, Pokémon’s OSTs have not made their way to Spotify just yet. The anime soundtracks have though if you want to dig up some nostalgia in the meantime.

While we wait for Pokémon to sort itself out and get OSTs on Spotify, do yourself a favour and hunt down the stadium sounds of Sword & Shield’s Gym Leader Battle and the completely different, ethereal majesty of the Area Zero Theme that Undertale’s Toby Fox did for Scarlett & Violet. You can thank me later with gifts of Shiny Pokémon. 

Glyn’s Mixtape 

I’m going to be honest and admit something… I’m not actually a gamer and prefer to spend my time camping. I feel dirty for admitting this, and want to apologise for being a gaming fraud. I hope y’all forgive me.

With that said, I did spend many hours of my youth playing Zelda Ocarina of Time, Halo, and Tomb Raider which are the primary sources of inspiration for this mixtape.

Like Emily, my taste in music is super eclectic, which works perfectly with my soundscape as it invokes a broad range of emotions. From listening to classical smashers while sprinting around Croft Maner, to driving a Warthog like a lunatic, trying to escape the Pillar of Autumn before its fusion reactors go critical.

It’s time to sit back, strap in, and relax as I take you on a tour down memory lane. 

Tomb Raider II 

Ahhh, the good old days playing Tomb Raider 2 on my Grandad’s beige behemoth. I was just 9 when this masterpiece originally released in 1997.

I have many fond memories legging it around Croft Manor, swan diving from great heights, and getting lost in the maze. It was especially enjoyable whacking on the classical music and locking the poor butler in the fridge, who didn’t? Absolutely iconic!  

In Tomb Raider II, you play as the very triangular femme fatale Lara Croft, hunting down the Dagger of Xian. Fun fact, I didn’t actually remember the storyline. I just know it involved shooting wolves and driving a boat. What more could a young boy want? 
 
My favourite tunes of the game have to be the Tomb Raider menu theme, Skidoo, and Venice. All absolute classics, quite literally!

Zelda Ocarina of Time

Zelda Ocarina of Time holds a very dear place in my heart. Released in 1998 on the Nintendo 64, a 10-year-old Glyn spent Christmas traversing Hyrule as the Hylian protagonist, and ocarina-wielding Link. This incredibly expansive game allowed you to time travel across a hyper-detailed map defeating various bosses, all while trying to save the realm, restore Hyrule, and rescue Zelda from the evil Ganondorf. You could even ride a horse. Do I really need to say anymore?  
 
Another key aspect of the game was playing your Ocarina to solve puzzles and teleport to previously visited locations. In fact, there were 12 memorable tunes that you could learn including my favourite, Epona’s Song. This particular melody could be played to call your trusted steed. If I remember correctly, you could also use it to get milk from cows in Majora’s mask. Mmmmm milk.

In addition to that horsey banger, there were many other memorable tunes that would play throughout your quest including the Kokiri Forest, Lost Woods, Great Fairy Fountain, Zelda’s Lullaby, and LonLon Ranch. 

Halo: Combat Evolved

From the moment you inserted the disk into your Xbox, the opening music would transport you to another world. Halo: Combat Evolved was released in 2001 and saw you playing as the UNSC Spartan John-117, otherwise known as Master Chief. Once awoke from hyper-sleep, your mission was simple, to defeat the invading alien race known as the Covenant. Ok, the storyline is a little more complex than that, but a 13-year-old me vividly remembers the thrilling battles, incredible vehicles, and stunning scenery. On top of this, the music was simply awe-inspiring. It created a pure sense of excitement that is still to this day, (in my opinion) unbeatable.

BBC Proms

The BBC Proms is a yearly event where classical music puts on its gladrags and comes out for a show. 2022 marked the first year with a prom dedicated to gaming music, featuring iconic music from Zelda, Final Fantasy VIII, and Pokémon. 

The OcUK Gaming Mixtape

Now for the playlist you’ve been waiting for. The OcUK Gaming Mixtape. It’s a tad eclectic, but that has honestly inspired the need to make a whole series of gaming playlists! There’s something for everyone on here, from Real Emotion (FFX-2) to Unforgotten (Halo 2).

the ultimate gaming headset guide

Need something to listen to all this epic gaming music? Check out our Ultimate Headset Guide and find the perfect model for all your audio needs. 

Volume Up

What are your favourite gaming soundtracks? Any songs that are a vibe? Let us know your favourites below and we’ll add them to the playlist! 

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Ozzy
Ozzy
1 year ago

The Last of Us 2 – Ellie “Take on Me” Cover Song
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKeU1twQYX4

All Ellie & Joel’s Songs, All Guitar Episodes – The Last of Us 2
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=624uhw5NPfU

The music hurts the soul, making us understand all that is lost and all that they had hope to gain.

Aaron Grubb
Aaron Grubb
4 months ago

Thanks for adding my music to your playlist!

Aaron Grubb
Aaron Grubb
4 months ago
Reply to  Emily Haylock

❤️