I’ve said it before, but Nintendo has carried with it a goldmine of music since the days of Donkey Kong. From a whole legacy of games, we’ve listened to fantastic soundtracks composed by incredibly talented artists. I grew up on Mario games almost exclusively, as early as playing on my grandparents’ NES and SNES and my neighbor’s Nintendo 64 before I got my own Game Boy Advance; needless to say, I’ve become very familiar with the series’ music. There’s a sense of unbridled joy and pep that is just trademark Koji Kondo through scores like Super Mario World, Yoshi’s Island, and Super Mario 64, that you can’t quite get anywhere else.
While I was huge on Mario music as a kid, that all changed come one fateful day in the early 2000s. On a whim, my siblings and I went and rented Sonic Adventure 2: Battle for the GameCube from our local Blockbuster.
Crushing 40 all the time
The opening, the title screen, the first cutscene, and my god, City Escape. The moment Sonic landed on the slanted streets of the city, I was already suckered in with the explosive guitar work, featuring vocals from Ted Poley and Tony Harnell belting out the now iconic lyrics to “Escape from the City.” Those introductory moments to the game, all composed by the legendary Jun Senoue, immediately laid out the groundwork for what the rest of the soundtrack had to offer.
With how much I loved about everything Sonic Adventure 2: Battle had to offer, I wasted little time in checking out the rest of the series. I only became more familiar and more passionate about Jun Senoue’s work on other soundtracks, such as Sonic Adventure and Sonic Heroes, with each track blowing me away more than the last. Of course, I can’t go on without even mentioning his work with Johnny Gioeli in the hard rock band Crush 40; they became renowned for almost every iconic theme tune in the Sonic series! I still unashamedly sing along to tracks like “Open Your Heart,” “Live and Learn,” and “All Hail Shadow” all these years later, at least when I’m alone.
Fortunately for me, I have little to no trouble picking up his work on services like iTunes and Apple Music. That’s more than can be said for some…
So that’s my take, but now I want to hear from you! Who were some of your favorite composers for video game music? Sound off in the comments!