With the recent release of 3D Dot Game Heroes from Atlus Games, we’ve got 8-bit greatness on our minds. Below, we’ve compiled a list of 10 titles from the 8-bit era with fantastic soundtracks. Granted, I grew up in the 80’s, enjoying endless hours on my NES, and I’m biased towards its’ music. Many titles between now and then have offered us true musical genius, but how many are really as widely known and remembered as the pieces we heard on the NES?
Here’s a list of 10 of our favorite soundtracks in the 8-bit era – you’re more than welcome to share your own favorites by commenting below! All videos are property of garudoh – If you’re into gaming music too, we highly suggest you subscribe to his YouTube channel.
Mega Man 2
Probably the greatest videogame soundtrack of all-time, Mega Man 2 offers fast-paced 8-bit techno beats to the players. Each stage had its own theme song, as well as title screen and stage selection menus. To this day, any player who experienced Mega Man 2 will remember these magical pieces of music.
The Legend of Zelda
A personal favorite of mine – the overworld theme from The Legend of Zelda was used in a variety of games in the series, with slight upgrades of course. Of course, outside of the overworld, underworld, and final dungeon themes, there wasn’t too much variety, but the quality in the existing ones was more than enough for gamers to fall in love with this soundtrack.
Super Mario Bros. 3
Performed live in concerts, and popular to play on piano, the sounds of Super Mario Bros. 3 were addictive to hum along with. The best word to describe the music in any Super Mario Bros. soundtrack, most notably this title in particular… It’s FUN! There’s not really much to say about this soundtrack, other than the fact that it’s fantastic!
While every Castlevania title had a wonderful soundtrack, the second in the series really stood out. The night theme alone is a stellar piece of work, and often remixed by users at OCRemix.org. Aside from it’s unforgiving yet addictive gameplay, the soundtracks of Castlevania are one of the top factors contributing to the reputation of the game series.
Another personal favorite – and one of the greatest main themes ever created – Dragon Warrior paved the way for the majestic series, now known as Dragon Quest. In every Dragon Quest game to date, you’ll be treated to new incarnations of this titles’ main theme. Castle, towns, overworld, caves – all accompanied by great pieces of music, and still known and used today. It’s a classic.
Punch. Punch. Kick. Kick. This beat-em-up title is another that really shines with its soundtrack. Beyond it’s wonderfully-addictive gameplay, the beats and bleeps of this classic become burned into your mind when you play the game.
Super Mario Bros.
This may be the one that started it all – the classic Mario theme. It was short, it was bouncy, and it was easy to remember. Hearing the same theme in nearly every level really drove it into gamers’ minds, but at the same time, it was a great theme. Presently, it’s a common cellular ringtone, and it’s the song that even non-gamers will recognize.
Zelda II: The Adventures of Link
Taking a completely different style from its predecessor, Zelda II still has a unique sound to it. Caves, castles, towns, and other areas had their respective sounds, making it a well-rounded experience. Although not as widely-remembered as others in this list, we feel it deserves a spot due to its standing quality.
By now, we all know the sounds of Final Fantasy and Nobuo Uematsu – and they’re great indeed. Modified versions of specific themes have been using in nearly every Final Fantasy game t0 date, and gamers have come to expect and welcome them with arms wide open. The Chocobo theme is likely the most popular, with it’s bouncing beats, almost mock-able, yet lovable.
Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!
Outside of its title theme and fight music, Punch-Out!! featured short and sweet intros for each opponent in the game. Like The Legend of Zelda, it wasn’t the quantity of the pieces in the game, but the quality of the existing ones – and Punch-Out!! had quality music, not to mention the gameplay. Seriously, has there actually been a more enjoyable unrealistic boxing game created? We think not.