Game & Sounds Poll for Videogame Soundtracks (Planning/Interest Gauging Thread)

So, a lot of us seem to really like the opinion poll format that we've done here, in imitation of the Sight & Sound version for movies. We also did a movie one which was also fun!

The forums have been [positively]( [abuzz]( over the idea of doing one for videogame soundtracks, so, let's see if we will have some interest in doing so, and also plan and go over a few things.

I'll reproduce the rules as explained by @"Morphic Resident"#385, with some cursory adjustments:

### 3 Rules:

  • - Don’t rank your choices, just list 10 games
  • - Lists will be considered final as of **TBD**, but let's say, probably somewhere in the second half of June. Editing your list freely until the deadline is totally allowed. The more lists we have the more nuanced and detailed the results will be so lurkers and new users please post!
  • - Put the words "List" or "My List" formatted as Header text (made by putting three hashtags like this ### in front the text, one space, and then put in some line breaks after that. This is just so it's easier to find for the purpose of collecting the data.
  • - Minor Note: I think I can probably commit to doing the data collection, and while I will adore and appreciate all of your lists, I will be using the Like function to keep track of which lists I've collected, once I get down to it.
  • **words of advice: you will see other lists posted here. Other forum users will state opinions about them. Don’t listen only your opinion matters in this thread. You’re right and they’re wrong (for the purposes of this thread)

    **A note on “Greatestness” - your choices don’t have to by guided by an attempt at objectivity or historical importance (unless you want them to). Read through some of the contributors’ rationales for some ideas of how to approach your list

    I think just because of the sort of granular nature of the subject matter of the poll, I am going to just throw out some axiomatic statements about what I think are true about videogame soundtracks and the listing thereof. I'd kind of like to at least get an idea of what others think about them, so that we can adjust the criteria for submissions accordingly. I'm completely open to changes and discussion and I think doing so will result in a more interesting and varied list.

    First off, there are probably going to be a LOT of weird edge cases on what could be considered a game's soundtrack, so I just want to try to throw out a sort of unifying definition of what a "soundtrack" is and can be considered:


    A game's soundtrack is anything that would be played during gameplay


    OR that is included on the storage media of a physical release (or theoretically would be in the case of games that have only existed in a digital format)


    OR has been included in an official “OST” style release, and is not implied to be bonus arrangements or whatever.

    An unexhaustive list of further micro-implications and clarifications:

  • - Supplementary song collections or arrangements, even if they‘re official, are NOT a part of a game’s soundtrack. For example, Tommy Talarico ass orchestral arrangements and OC Remix concept cover albums are NOT part of a game's soundtrack, even if you get some on the CD release of the soundtrack, because they were not explicitly produced to be used as a part of the game.
  • - Songs that don't appear in the final release because they were cut content, ARE a part of a game's soundtrack, so long as they're accessible within the game's files (i.e. on the storage media), or are included in an official OST. For example, [Song That Might Play When You Fight Sans]( is a part of the _Undertale_ OST. It's not included in the game's files, but it is on the official OST album.
  • - Secret tracks available on certain disc media games that can be played by putting the game disc into a CD player, such as with the PlayStation version of [_Symphony of the Night_](, ARE a part of the game's soundtrack (included on the storage media).
  • - For simplicity's sake, if an official OST album has regional differences, like regional dependent bonus tracks, as long as most of the tracks are the same, let's say the game's OST includes all of the available bonus tracks.
  • - If a game has multiple versions, and those versions have fundamentally different soundtracks, those would be two separate soundtracks, even if most would agree the game itself is a port.
  • - A soundtrack that has been remastered on a later re-release, but not significantly changed otherwise, is not a fundamentally different soundtrack. You can choose to say that you like one particular version over the other but we'll count that as one soundtrack.
  • - Those so-called "[Restorations](" of game soundtracks to allegedly restore compressed samples that appeared on games into "studio" quality or whatever are definitely their own thing and are not to be considered as a part of a game's soundtrack. If one really blew your mind, make it its own submission, I guess.
  • - If there are any fan games or ROM Hacks out there that were ambitious enough to create a whole new soundtrack to add to or even replace the existing soundtrack, it is a separate soundtrack from the original. Put some respect on them for doing that!
  • - One issue I have no idea how to address is early computer based releases with MIDI soundtracks that would sound different based on your computer's sound card. So... anyone feel like they can make a ruling on that?
  • Some other more philosophical musings:

  • - We can acknowledge that a game‘s soundtrack is the totality of it and not just a handful of songs, and while that is something to consider when creating your list, it’s totally your prerogative to include a game OST on the strength of even a single piece on it. In the words of @“Morphic Resident”#385 , you‘re right, they’re wrong.
  • - While I think we can all personally make decisions on whether or not its presence in the game changes whether it deserves to be on your list, a game being good or bad has nothing whatsoever to do with whether the soundtrack is good. Also known as [The Follin Factor](
  • - It's your call to consider whether or not the existence of something like _Chrono Trigger: The Brink of Time_ informs how you feel about the OST to _Chrono Trigger,_ but the inclusion of it in your list is specifically about honoring what was included in actual releases or forms of the game itself.
  • - I'm on the fence about this so I want to hear about how others feel about a game's overall audio design being a part of its "soundtrack." I think I'm of the opinion it would be cool of us to say that we're very much informed by the game's overall audio design as contributing to its soundtrack, and that an OST is not just a collection of things in song format. OR maybe if we should say this poll is about honoring game audio in general. Idk!
  • As usual while posting on the insert credit forums, I made something more complicated than it needed to be, so uh, yeah! Let's see if there's interest in doing this, and then go over some finer points, like "you're overthinking things as usual @"Gaagaagiins"#429."


    ① How shall we handle edge (hedge? I forgot the expression) cases like Smash Bros Ultimate which compiles a lot of different soundtracks _but_ typically arranges many of them?

    ② How shall we handle cases like KOF XV which includes the soundtracks from pretty much all previous KOF games? (They will even add KOF NeoWave’s soundtrack in this week’s update.)

    I think it’d be smart to provide Youtube (or Bandcamp?, Spotify etc.) links for everyone’s candidates in order to help @"Gaagaagiins"#429 provide references in the final list without having to track all of them down after the fact.


    MIDI soundtracks that would sound different based on your computer’s sound card

    I don't have much of a relationship with this phenomenon and therefore shouldn't be listened to, but: I'd say it is worth specifying in user-submitted lists, and that the question of how to address it in the master list of results can't be answered until data collection is over, when we see how many people submitted this kind of soundtrack


    OR maybe if we should say this poll is about honoring game audio in general.

    also on the fence about this myself and would love for someone else to come forward with a hard-line answer so my job is easier


    I made something more complicated than it needed to be, so uh, yeah!

    and I hoped you would be the very person to spearhead this poll


    ① How shall we handle edge cases like Smash Bros Ultimate which compiles a lot of different soundtracks but typically arranges many of them?

    on one hand Melee is on my (ever growing) shortlist, on the other hand I would have fewer darlings to kill if it weren't

    @“chazumaru”#p69924 Both good questions, with I think a somewhat related answer.


    These two examples bring up such interesting questions.

    It feels totally unfair to say that a game's soundtrack itself are only pieces that were composed or arranged specifically for that game. _SSBU_ and _KOF XV_ intentionally incorporating a sort of throwback/compilation element to their soundtracks is I think a legitimate aspect of their sound design, even if at least for _Smash_ it mostly ends up existing primarily in a sound test menu in practice.

    Makes me think of other weird edge cases like _Final Fantasy XV,_ which had in-game collectable albums of music from past _Final Fantasy_ titles, specifically to play in the car driving around with the boys. Or _Monster Hunter Generations_ existing as a compilation game that still brought its own share of original content, with music on offer from both old and new. Sure, those songs weren't written for either of those games directly, but their presence in the game does make its own kind of unique contribution.

    Maybe with all edge cases I think we ought to just say that everyone should trust their own judgement and communicate what they mean, it's not like we're trying to figure out which game has the absolute highest number of good individual pieces of music. So I can only really individually say that I personally think it would make a better list if people were to think most about original music written and/or arranged for the game. However, you're totally allowed to personally assign heavy weight to a game having a sort of Best Of album or compilation aspect to it, or if it somehow incorporates existing music into it in a way that is interesting or appropriate, like the above examples.


    @“captain”#p69930 OR maybe if we should say this poll is about honoring game audio in general.


    also on the fence about this myself and would love for someone else to come forward with a hard-line answer so my job is easier

    A specific game gave me reason to think about this question in particular. For that game, I would say the music is already pretty great, but it would practically be a disservice to the game to recognize it for just having a good soundtrack, because pretty much everything audible in the game is absolutely exquisite and makes the whole game work better.

    However, maybe that would just be too broad, and it'd be more fun to just say that once people are at the point of sharing their rationale behind their choices, it'll give them another thing to talk about.


    @“chazumaru”#p69924 I think it’d be smart to provide Youtube (or Bandcamp?, Spotify etc.) links for everyone’s candidates in order to help @Gaagaagiins provide references in the final list without having to track all of them down after the fact.



    @“Gaagaagiins”#p69934 Final Fantasy XV

    This is such a weird case, for the car iPod reason you mentioned and for the fact that I listened to and became attached to music which ended up in the game but which was written as much as ten years earlier, for trailers for _versus XIII_. At least [two]( of (what for me are) the [most memorable]( pieces from XV, you could argue, have nothing to do with it, except that they were included on the game disc. Florence + the Machine's "Stand By Me" feels more like the FFXV soundtrack than either of those versus XIII tracks.

    Not really a huge thing worth any hand-wringing, just what it makes me think about

    EDIT [How could I forget?](

    Final Fantasy XV is a truly outstanding OST on its own, the Sunset Waltz for me is the most nostalgic. It really gently transports me back to a time where I needed some escapism, and the sense of freedom and odd inscrutable decisions all over FF15 hit the spot so perfectly.

    I also have to say say that having FFXIII's soundtrack in XV was personally a fascinating experience for me to experience it in a totally different context. I found that by listening to those songs while relaxing in an open world, rather than while frustrated on a linear track of melodramatic cutscenes, allowed me to really soak it in and appreciate it. It's one of my favorite FF OSTs, but my love comes from hearing it in XV.

    @“Tradegood”#p69945 we need a new button on this forum independent from Like which communicates “100% AGREE ENTIRE COMMENT”

    this thread has got my gears a-churning (in a good way, thinking about OSTs)

    re stuff like SSB, i feel like ssbb is the snake's maw at the very least nibbling its own tail with all the tracks lifted from the original games, but ssb and melee feel more their own thing with (iirc) mostly original arrangements. >!man, melee's live orchestra tracks hit harder than a john williams star wars text crawl !<

    @“rootfifthoctave”#p69970 Sure but, on the other hand, getting all these tracks cleared (especially the ones from other companies) and coordinating all the new covers from so many different collaborators while making the tracks fit the game (tonally and mixing-wise) is a considerable feat in itself. Shouldn’t this be celebrated just as much as a single composer’s thematically coherent piece of work for one specific game? (This is not a rhetorical question, I truly wonder.)

    @"Gaagaagiins"#429 By the way, why not just “your ten favorite tracks” rather than entire OSTs? Although this can be a separate topic, I guess. Besides avoiding the legacy recycling issues above, I feel like asking for tracks rather than entire OSTs would be both easier for some people and possibly lead to more surprising and diverse picks. I do realize it will probably disperse the votes even further.


    ten favorite tracks

    This would definitely give me a more interesting list (or maybe not); if nothing else I would be down to do both of these, and leave it up to @Gaagaagiins to decide what to collect final data on

    I think the simpler and broader the rules, the better. So just let people pick 10 whatever and if they choose individual tracks then count them as soundtrack votes imo

    we could save individual tracks for a future poll? I think I‘d enjoy seeing both! Looking at my shortlist, there are some games with just one or two bangers in a soundtrack that doesn’t move me at all.

    You can start suggesting OSTs for my part. I have some ideas of which is going to be the top 10, but I'm open to suggestions.

    looking forward to this, i like game music more than anyone on here. happy to help with tabulation


    i like game music more than anyone on here

    violence island captain vs tapevulture

    I personally think the huge level of information dispersal that would come out of a Top 10 song/piece poll, specifically of this formation, would make for a list that is way too much Honor Roll to derive much meaning from. The videogame one was fun because we elevated a decent amount of games even with the relatively small sample size, the movie one was fun because we came so close to doing that but somehow didn‘t. In other words I don’t know exactly how we would organize the result into something that is interesting to think on and talk about.

    That being said, I mean, if we're gonna be doing data collection that will require some organization anyway, then the problem of the other dataset not being organizable actually becomes a strength--how about we just say people can do one, the other, or both, and we'll collect them both at the same time, and just make a giant playlist?





    Wait... I got an even better idea.

    Hang on. Let me tinker around with something for a sec.

    Ok… how about this… it's kind of a totally different thing but it might also be fun.

    What if instead of a poll to submit 10 individual songs to, we had everyone who wanted to put together a playlist of hot tracks express their interest in doing so. Then we take that group of forum users, and assign them another user from the group. Then everyone makes a playlist of songs, which is then anonymously distributed to their assigned forum user.

    As in, a Secret Santa style videogame tune mixtape exchange!! Then we could make a post where the recipients share their impressions of listening to their mixtape.

    I think I figured out how make a Google Form that would make the anonymous sharing part easy.

    @“Gaagaagiins”#p70067 well this is a wonderful idea. would be cute tondo in the summer, like santa‘s on vacation and he’s going on a cruise to the achipelago of videogames.