monsterboy: Yuna from FFX staring into a rainbow sky, with the text "a child-like wonder". (childlike wonder)
So apparently, [personal profile] coffeevore was supposed to compile a list of her own favourites for [personal profile] niya, and while I'm not sure what originally spurred this, I figured... hey, what the heck, this makes a good meme!

So here, in no particular order, are my top 10-- or at least, a top 10 at this particular moment; I doubt I could pick a true all-time 10, but this is a pretty close approximation. I've limited it to one track per game, because otherwise this list would just be completely filled by one or two games; you can pretty much assume that, for everything listed here, I'm a big fan of the rest of the soundtrack as well.

1. Final Fantasy IV: Main Theme of Final Fantasy

I'll confess that it was a long time before I heard this theme in its rightful setting: I didn't actually play FF4 until shockingly late in my gaming career. But I remember stumbling across a MIDI, of all things, of this track in an online MIDI collection back when such things were popular, and I always found it oddly haunting, for some reason-- and compelling, because of that.

2. Kirby Super Star: Ending

Ending themes always tend to be winners in games: the composers always want to go out of their way to make you feel like you've really accomplished something. Add to that the emotional high of having actually defeated the game, and the nostalgic memories thereof, and it's no surprise that there would be at least one of these among my favourite tracks. This particular theme starts off simple, but gets pretty soaring at about 1:34, and keeps going in that vein, throwing some remixes of the classic Kirby themes in to boot.

3. Donkey Kong Country 2: Stickerbrush Symphony

Not much to say about this one: it's probably on pretty much everyone's top 10 list, at least among those who've played the game, and it's probably one of the few themes that didn't come from a Final Fantasy, Mario or Zelda game that has some currency outside of the game's actual fanbase. Surreal, dreamlike, and always makes me think of blue skies and unfamiliar landscapes.

(If we're talking DKC2, Forest Interlude is amazing, too.)

4. Mega Man X: Ending

I never finished this goddamned game, but I loved it anyway. Mega Man was just always one unit of Nintendo Hard too much for my abilities, though I gave it countless valiant stabs. I listened to this one all the time in the sound test, though, and while I had absolutely no idea what was going on, it always sounded like something horribly portentous and sad. I'd make up my own stories about what was going on, and always end up feeling very forlorn, though in the good, fiction-induced way.

5. Tetris Attack: Forest Lullaby

Gaaaawd, I love this game. It's one of the games, along with Secret of Mana, that I consider to be pretty much pure distilled essence of me: a soaring soundtrack, soft colours, dinosaurs, blue skies and pixellated hope. Adorable with that twist of pathos that keeps it from being completely saccharine, this is a wonderful game both for the gameplay and for the atmospheric experience that accompanies it. As far as favourite tracks go, Forest Lullaby is closely tailed by A Walk On A Rainbow, the ending theme, but this one just edges it out for its delicate guitar and relative complexity for a repeating track.

6. Final Fantasy VI: Terra

I believe OCRemix once dubbed this the "Hotel California" of videogame tracks: somewhat overplayed, yet timeless. Another world map theme (and hey, I just noticed-- it's, like, Terra's theme, but it plays on the overworld, which is also, yanno, terra! Dude, pass the bong), and like most of Uematsu's map themes, it hits all the right notes of hope tinged with apprehension at the increasingly overwhelming quest.

I'd've put Aria de Mezzo Caraterre in this spot, for the fact that it was a technical achievement at the time and it's my favourite character's theme too, but to be honest I really prefer the opera when it's performed by a full orchestra (as recent FF concerts have done), and this writeup is about the original games, so it didn't seem fair.

7. Secret of Mana: Pure Night

Okay, I could have put the whole darn soundtrack on here if I'm honest: if I had to be stuck on a desert island with one videogame soundtrack in all of history, it'd be this one, no contest. But if I have to pick one, this is going to be it (closely edging out The Oracle, one of the only tracks in the whole SNES catalog that can be said to approximate gothic metal, and man it does it well). I can seriously listen to this track on repeat for hours: it just feels like home. Like most of the tracks here, it's a little haunting and definitely mystical, yet oh so peaceful.

8. Chrono Trigger: Singing Mountain

I'll admit, Chrono Trigger wasn't one of those games that grabbed me like it grabbed some people. But I also can't deny that the soundtrack is a thing of beauty. Technically this is an unused track from the game, but it does exist in SPC format and is, therefore, a legit SNES track, and it's easily my favourite.

9. Plok: Akrillic

A soundtrack that the majority of people haven't heard, because it's a game that the majority of people haven't played; but the game was amazing, and the soundtrack, by Tim Follin (look him up on Wikipedia; he did amazing things with video games), is well worth a listen. This track starts off simple enough, but by halfway through it's transitioned into something you'd never, ever expect out of a SNES platformer.

10. Wario's Woods: Round Game

A simple and rather short piece compared to the others: the basic phrase of the song only lasts 23 seconds, but somehow it always managed to feel more complex than it was. A puzzle game is a true test of a song: you'll end up having to listen to it for hours on end, and I can honestly say I never got bored of this one. It's not as grand or epic as most of the others here, but it holds good memories for me, and, like I said, anything that can stand up to level upon level of frustrating puzzles and have you actually waiting for the music in the brief lulls between stages, instead of loathing it, deserves some respect.
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