PC Game Soundtracks have come a long way since the early 80s.
Sometimes when we feel nostalgia for one of our favorite PC Games, the music can bring us right back. It can suck you right back to those nights where the only light in your room at midnight was the glow of your VGA monitor. PC Game Soundtracks stand the test of time, sometimes more so than the graphics which can look dated quickly.
I decided to try and come up with a list of the 10 best PC Game Soundtracks.
There are a couple of limitations:
Even though an entire game series can have quality (and similar) music, I decided to pick single games, and not game series.
I can only include games I have played. So, there are some amazing soundtracks that might be missing because I have not heard them.
Music is a very subjective taste. I’ll try to be as fair as I can.
Now, on to the list!
10. Fallout 3
Fallout 3 mixed two different styles of music to amazing effect. The orchestral score is ominous, and sets the dark tone of the creepy world perfectly.The upbeat 50s style music that plays on your Pip Boy Radio is a juxtaposition to your surroundings. Together, they create a musical texture which has not been duplicated since (at least until Fallout 4).
Dune represents the pinnacle of MIDI style PC game soundtracks. It is so well produced, that it still sounds modern today. The music has many layers, and has some surprisingly modern sounding techno beats (which was a difficult thing to produce on sound hardware at the time).
8. Guild Wars 2
Jeremy Soule is a name you will likely see further down on this list. Here at number 8, we honor him for Guild Wars 2. Guild Wars 2 has a staggeringly huge game world, and the amount of music produced to accompany that world is equally staggering. It’s not just quantity, though. Jeremy Soule isn’t called the “John Williams” of game music for nothing. If you’re into listening to PC game soundtracks while you work, try this one on for size.
7. World of Warcraft
Another MMO, well the BIGGEST MMO, and another amazing soundtrack. It makes sense that these type of games always have well produced music because you spend so much time listening to it in game. Blizzard spared no expense making World of Warcraft, and that includes the music department. Many of the themes in this game are considered classics today.
6. Ultima VII
Of all the Ultima Games, I picked this one as my favorite. Ultima VII was a game that pushed PCs to their limits, and it included amazing Roland MT-32 support. Out of all the games on this list, this one really takes me back.
5. The 7th Guest
The Fat Man had to appear on this list, and I picked his work on The 7th Guest. What an amazingly quirky soundtrack this game has. If you own it, the second disc can be played in a standard CD player.
Riven, the sequel to Myst, has a very atmospheric soundtrack. The themes really build on the already solitary feeling of being alone in the world of Riven.
Composed by Matt Uelmen, there are few in-game songs which are as iconic as the Tristram theme. That song alone would put this game on the list, but the rest of the music is just as good. Diablo is an amazing game to boot.
2. Quake I
In my opinion, this is the king of id Software‘s game soundtracks. Quake 1‘s music was written by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, and it is an amazing atmospheric piece of work. Few game soundtracks can elicit the fear that this one does. If you own the game CD, you can also listen to it in a standard CD player.
1. The Elder Scrolls: Morrowind
I said that Jeremy Soule would likely appear on this list again. I almost included Skyrim, but I thought Morrowind was the real breakthrough soundtrack in this series. No soundtrack conveys the wonder of adventure and the scope of its world as well as this one does. It is an absolutely incredible achievement in game music.