Film Score Friday Top 5: Video Game Themes (8-bit era) – Early Edition

I’ll be leaving for New York and the Music and the Moving Image conference tomorrow, and while I plan to try and blog from the conference, I doubt I’ll have time.  So I’m posting this early, and I’ll try to write some thoughts on various papers when I get back next week.  In the mean time, I’ll try and tide you over with this meager helping.

I readily admit that most of these top 5 lists do come from my own personal experience, and with video games, most of that experience is limited to the 8- and 16-bit eras (with most PS1 and PS2 games I know limited to the Final Fantasy franchise).  So without further adieu, my selections for best NES (and one Game Boy) themes:

#1: Underwater Theme from Super Mario Bros. by Koji Kondo: Ya, I could of picked the main overworld theme, but that would be two easy.  I’ve always liked this waltz theme from the water levels better, anyway.

#2: Moon Theme from Duck Tales by Yoshihiro Sakaguchi: If you don’t know the game, or don’t frequent YouTube game videos, you might not know this level theme, but it’s pretty well known to 8-bit music fans.  I’ll give you two videos, the original music, then brentalfloss’s version with lyrics (you might remember him from second YouTube post).


And brentalfloss with lyrics:

#3: Main Theme from Mega Man III by Yasuaki Fujita (aka Bun Bun): I already wrote extensively, and shared many videos, on this theme in the above linked YouTube post.  All of that still goes, and even though I only discovered it through video game midis years after the game’s release, it quickly became a favorite of mine from the 8-bit era.

#4: Main Theme from The Legend of Zelda by Koji Kondo: Just as iconic as the main theme from Mario Bros.,  and by the same composer, these are the themes that launched Nintendo’s two power franchises that have lasted to this day; for over 20 years and five consoles.

#5: Prologue from Final Fantasy Legend (Game Boy) by Nobuo Uematsu:  As I said in an early post, Uematsu is the John Williams of the video game world (or in mathematical terms, John Williams : Films as Nobuo Uematsu : Video Games).  For most of my youth I only had a Game Boy, and some of my earliest favorite games were the Final Fantasy Legend games (even though to this day, I have yet to beat one of them!).  This theme was also an early favorite of mine, and introduced me to the musical world of Mr. Uematsu.  (In this clip, it is the first track you hear.)

So that’s it for now, I’ll see y’all when I get back.

Next Week: Top 5 themes from Uematsu’s score for Final Fantasy VI.

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