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Music can certainly contribute a lot to the gaming experience. If you enjoy listening to the soundtrack even after you're done playing, your enjoyment is not finished yet.

My favorite ones are:

The Secret of Monkey Island (both the original and the re-recorded)

Gemini Rue

Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice (incluing the two licensed songs from VNV Nation)

And a special mention for best theme goes to Civilization IV's Baba Yetu.
I think noone can deny that music makes game experience just so much better esp when it is a good music ! Definitely not a must but it does make a difference. I don't think a game like the Witcher 3 would be the same without its amazing soundtrack, I don't think people would have the same memoires going to places like Kaer Morhen or Skellige without the background music ! I guess the genre also matters. I think I would care more about it in RPGs where you spend a lot of time wandering around or in adventure games while in other genres like FPS or strategy probably I would not think about it that much.

Personally I love listening to music from games no matter the game! I bet many still remember old music themes from classics like Oblivion for example. I still remember even the music from games like Sonic & Knuckles/the final boss song/ that I played more than 20 years ago on my /rented at the time/ sega ! I also listen to music from games I have not even played like Undertale and that makes me interested in playing these games so I guess for me it is a big deal /but not a must as I said/
Post edited May 08, 2021 by Haku__
Hello patrikc!

I have played both types of games, those with forgetable or replaceable kind of music and those that I would never want to play again without their iconic music. With older games it was often a question of what version of the game you were used to play. The Redbook audio tracks in the DOS and early Windows 95 era or cross platform releases come to mind.

My usual candidates for iconic and for me inseparable music or scores would be:

- "Tomb Raider" (the original one on the first Playstation): Soundtrack playlist
Especially, the adventurous "Tomb Raider" title or main theme:
main theme
shorter version
Or the variations of the dangerous encounter theme building up tension and suspense: track 05 Thor, track 07 wolfs, track 15 T-Rex, or track 19 'Time to Run' in the playlist.
Since, I initially knew it on the Playstation, I was really disappointed when I played "Tomb Raider" for the first time in its DOS version, lacking almost all in game music!

- "Tomb Raider II" (PSone) has a nice remix of the original's main theme:
TR II main theme
and adds a nice classical violin piece:
Lara's Mansion and Venice boat ride

- I also liked "Tomb Raider Anniversary's" rendition of the main theme
as well as the new score for the egypt levels, e.g. despite actually being Persian inspired music: TRA City of Khamoon

- "Icewind Dale":
The remarkable musical score from Jeremy Soule contributes a lot to the unique atmosphere in the game. My favourites are:
Easthaven in peace putting me in the right mood for an expedition!
Kuldahar theme gives me the sense of a warm and safe haven in this harsh and dangerous world of the ten towns.

- "DSA - Die Schicksalsklinge" (DOS, "Blade of Destiny" in English, first part of the 'Nordlandtrilogie'):
It is difficult to select a single track from Chris Hülsbeck's soundtrack for the first adaptation of 'Das Schwarze Auge' ('The Dark Eye' in English) pen and paper roleplaying system in a computer game. The music is so different from other typical computer roleplaying games and somehow fits perfectly in my mental image of 'Aventurien' ('Arkania' in English). It has a lighter, joyful and almost playful tone, encouraging both me the player and my party of characters for the adventure. I spent many hours in the character generator alone and never got tired of the corresponding music (third track in the link).
DSA Schicksalsklinge Soundtrack

- "Advent Rising":
Try playing "Advent Rising" with its music turned off... and then compare it to your experience with the amazing original score. The music and theme song are so emotional, at times it is awe-inspiring, or making you feel powerful, or pushing you forward, other times it lets you feel regret and sorrow or desperate and alone. The music let me easily forget or overlook the game's shortcomings and lifts this space opera right among (and for me often above) the likes of "Mass Effect" or "Halo".

- "Out of this World" ("Another World" in Europe) on the SNES:
Like the original Tomb Raider this falls in the category of cross platform releases were the difference in sound and music can be huge (at least for me). I played "Another World" long after its release and finished it first on the SNES, where it had additional and rearranged music. Others may find these laughable, but for me they are part of my original experience of the game and the protagonist's journey. Simple melancholic melodies that carry the heavy weight of what happens in this adventure:
title theme
ending theme

- "VVVVVV" (the letter V six times):
Amazing chip tune music based on memorable short melodies, full of energy, engaging both by pushing forward and by feeding curiosity: PPPPPP (playlist)
Tracks like 'Pushing Onwards', 'Positive Force', 'Passion for Exploring' and 'Predestined Fate' are reminiscent of classic oldschool chip tunes that are highly memorable!

...Honourable mentions to master pieces that are the atmospheric "Super Metroid" score and the always fantastic "Elder Scrolls" opening or title theme (which is actually always the same in a new arrangement, wonderous in "Morrowind", impressive in "Oblivion" and mighty in "Skyrim").

- And to conclude an interesting experiment:
Try playing any of the original "Rainbow Six" games ("Rainbow Six", "Rogue Spear", "Ravenshield") and replace their original music with the motion picture's soundtrack of "The Rock" (1996)...

After accidently playing "Ravenshield" in a LAN multiplayer game with the soundtrack disc of the movie "The Rock" in the disc drive, I realised that even really great game music can be replaced with somewhat similar fitting music. Of course, both the game series and this particular film have a common theme overall, hence are an easy match.
Rainbow Six main theme
Rogue Spear title theme
and my favourite, because of the soft guitar part in the end:
Ravenshield main theme

Since (full) orchestral scores got more and more common in video games, a lot of them tend to sound too similar and thus become unremarkable, replaceable and forgetable to me. When used too much or constantly, they even get distracting or disturbing.

In open world games such as "TES IV Oblivion" I wish, I could turn off only the music that plays during fights. Because they start too early, when the enemy begins charging me, and therefore ist acting like an alarm signal for an enemy's presence! And in "Gothic 3", for instance, the orchestral score for fights can get laughable in situations, for it has a too long wind up and is too strong for the often smaller fights with the game's wildlife.

I do prefer good recognisable melodies or (shorter) tunes over standard full orchestral scores, because a good melody or catchy tune is more memorable and more likely to become iconic.

Kind regards,
foxgog
Post edited May 09, 2021 by foxgog
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foxgog: I do prefer good recognisable melodies or (shorter) tunes over standard full orchestral scores, because a good melody or catchy tune is more memorable and more likely to become iconic.
Orchestral music can have memorable tunes; see the Hollow Knight main theme for an example.

Which brings up something rather interesting that this particular soundtrack does; the theme appears over and over again, in different contexts, throughout the game's soundtrack. Sometimes it even gets developed a little.

(There's actually a term for this sort of thing, "leitmotif", and it happens in many video game soundtracks, including many Final Fantasy games (FF4 being the earliest example, but at least including all later Nobou Uuematsu soundtracks for the series), Celeste, and others way too numerous to list here.)
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foxgog: In open world games such as "TES IV Oblivion" I wish, I could turn off only the music that plays during fights. Because they start too early, when the enemy begins charging me, and therefore ist acting like an alarm signal for an enemy's presence!
I think having separate "battle music" works best in games that have a clear distinction between combat and non-combat, like RPGs where battles take place on an entirely different screen. (Doing this also solves other issues caused by the game treating combat and non-combat differently, like whether resting or saving is allowed.)
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Haku__: I don't think a game like the Witcher 3 would be the same without its amazing soundtrack, I don't think people would have the same memoires going to places like Kaer Morhen or Skellige without the background music ! I guess the genre also matters. I think I would care more about it in RPGs where you spend a lot of time wandering around or in adventure games while in other genres like FPS or strategy probably I would not think about it that much.

Personally I love listening to music from games no matter the game! I bet many still remember old music themes from classics like Oblivion for example. I still remember even the music from games like Sonic & Knuckles/the final boss song/ that I played more than 20 years ago on my /rented at the time/ sega ! I also listen to music from games I have not even played like Undertale and that makes me interested in playing these games so I guess for me it is a big deal /but not a must as I said/
I think music in The Witcher 3 makes for a one-of-a-kind experience overall. In general, music was very good across the series. Dwarven Stone upon Dwarven Stone is definitely one of my favourites from the second game.
And since you mentioned Oblivion, I feel I should bring up another great tune: Through the Valleys.
Post edited May 09, 2021 by patrikc
DANCING ANIMALS

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-CBrkwKlmjQ
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foxgog: In open world games such as "TES IV Oblivion" I wish, I could turn off only the music that plays during fights. Because they start too early, when the enemy begins charging me, and therefore ist acting like an alarm signal for an enemy's presence!
I'd call that a positive, being a warning. The problem is if it bugs out, gets stuck or there are enemies that are stuck or otherwise can't reach you, and you'll keep getting the battle music but there is no battle, and there may be no way around it and you'll keep getting it whenever you pass the area.
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foxgog: In open world games such as "TES IV Oblivion" I wish, I could turn off only the music that plays during fights. Because they start too early, when the enemy begins charging me, and therefore ist acting like an alarm signal for an enemy's presence!
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Cavalary: I'd call that a positive, being a warning. The problem is if it bugs out, gets stuck or there are enemies that are stuck or otherwise can't reach you, and you'll keep getting the battle music but there is no battle, and there may be no way around it and you'll keep getting it whenever you pass the area.
There's more serious issues here, like not being able to wait or fast travel when this happens.

TES: Arena has this issue in the starting dungeon; while elevated platforms are safe to rest on in the starter dungeon, you usually can't rest because the game thinks there's some enemy nearby.

I'm of the opinion that games should either:
* Not distinguish between combat and non-combat; every action (including things like resting and saving) that's allowed in one situation should be allowed in the other. (I'm OK with restricting these sort of things to towns or other safe spaces; on the other hand, I don't like it when games allow resting in the wilderness but not in towh.)
* Change the game mode entirely for combat. This usually means an entirely separate screen. (Wizardry 8 doe this without a separate screen, but it does suffer from the issue that one lone enemy that's hiding or running away can prevent combat mode from ending.)

Edit: Also, having battle music be the *only* warning for an enemy being nearby creates an accessibility barrier to those who can't hear (or are playing with sound turned off).
Post edited May 09, 2021 by dtgreene
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dtgreene: There's more serious issues here, like not being able to wait or fast travel when this happens.
Sure, but this thread is about music.
This time, an action packed batch:

Unreal Gold
Flightcastle - https://youtu.be/9IISjIMpepo
Surfacing - https://youtu.be/9IISjIMpepo?t=4658

Unreal Tournament
Unreal Tournament Title - https://youtu.be/7MSFW8pZ-_4?t=121

Track that plays in the intro. Really like this one. Somehow feels more epic than it should. Then here are some more of those I like:

Go Down - https://youtu.be/7MSFW8pZ-_4?t=1907
Mechanism Eight - https://youtu.be/7MSFW8pZ-_4?t=2421
Run - https://youtu.be/7MSFW8pZ-_4?t=4565
Botpack #9 - https://youtu.be/7MSFW8pZ-_4?t=470

Unreal Tournament 2003/2004
For orientation, refer to this: https://liandri.beyondunreal.com/Unreal_Music#Unreal_Tournament_2003
As UT 2003 is barely spoken about anywhere (nor offered for sale), the soundtracks often get merged and UT 2004 reuses all tracks from 2003. However, there is a clear distinction in which tracks are from which game. All the links will be to the "UT 2004 OST", but for my picks, I will specify whether it's UT 2003 or 2004.

Menu Music (UT 2003) - https://youtu.be/05WLzGHQgZ8
Sniper Time (UT 2003) - https://youtu.be/Pf-dddhIVCE?t=10716

Assault (UT 2004) - https://youtu.be/Pf-dddhIVCE?t=947
Conduit (UT 2004) - https://youtu.be/Pf-dddhIVCE?t=1746
Convoy (UT 2004) - https://youtu.be/Pf-dddhIVCE?t=1928
Asbestos (UT 2004) - https://youtu.be/Pf-dddhIVCE?t=825
Skaarj Assault (UT 2004) - https://youtu.be/Pf-dddhIVCE?t=10095

Unreal Tournament 3
The complete soundtrack recently got pulled from Youtube because Epic became money grubbing idiots. So gotta link the tracks one by one as I find them like scraps on Youtube....

Necris Attacks [Extended Version] - https://youtu.be/Wls0DfSKdCw
Frozen Babylon - https://youtu.be/8m5sI19ILwc
Plasma Oscillator - https://youtu.be/z7toDFgwID0
Defector - https://youtu.be/EqNpIQUpG-I
Quantum Velocity - https://youtu.be/-gytw00FtvU
Post edited May 10, 2021 by idbeholdME
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ConsulCaesar: Music can certainly contribute a lot to the gaming experience. If you enjoy listening to the soundtrack even after you're done playing, your enjoyment is not finished yet.

My favorite ones are:

The Secret of Monkey Island (both the original and the re-recorded)

Gemini Rue

Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice (incluing the two licensed songs from VNV Nation)

And a special mention for best theme goes to Civilization IV's Baba Yetu.
Baba Yetu is kind of special really emotional 2.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsINANZ6Riw