Whether you agree that video games are art, it’s hard to debate that the visual and audio design choices made aren’t. Everything in games is art, which is what sparks the debate, are games as a whole art? Regardless, music is a massive part of the video game experience and is indisputably artistic. The genre of music can help provide additional context to the mood the developer is going after for the entire game.
Electronic music, electronic dance music, techno, and many others like it always find their way into the soundtracks of our favourite games. Unlike other music genres, electronic music has a unique relationship with video games since both – in essence – are formed in the same realm of technological manifestation.
That being said, some of the best EDM soundtracks come from video games, and we are going to list off some must-play games electronic music soundtracks in gaming history.
What’s a list of video games with electronic music without the legendary Rocket League. Rocket League has done amazing things for the video game community, including subverting our expectations for what we believe soccer and racing should be. Another thing it did was bring high-quality electronic music to an otherwise classical community of consumers. Most games that gamers play have emotional, orchestral, arcade, or even sometimes pop vibes. However, Rocket League takes enormous inspiration from electronic music moguls like Deadmau5, Dion Thimmer, and many other top dogs in the electronic music genre.
Through its multi-decade-long run, Mortal Kombat has seen many iterations and advancements in its technologies from the early days. Because it was born in the 90s, which is now considered “retro,” electronic music was and has always been prevalent in the game’s soundtrack. Heavy hitters like Skrillex have contributed to designing and producing electronic sounds and music for the game. Even modern Mortal Kombat games use electronic inspiration in even their orchestral pieces.
Jet Set Radio is a cult classic, and its sequel—Jet Set Radio Future—is even better. The cell-shading graphic scheme was ahead of its time on the dream cast, and the Xbox sequel enhanced that even more. What’s more, is the fact that every song in the soundtrack worked perfectly with its quirky art style and eclectic characters.
There were electronic music tracks for every scenario, and none sounded like any other one. The songs were also on a shuffle, so you always played different songs in more extended missions. Loops were almost nonexistent since all the songs ran like full productions. The soundtrack still exists today and is a prime example of what electronic music should be, especially for a game about dancing skateboarding trouble-makers.
Unfortunately, not all classic titles last forever, and Zone of the Enders is an excellent example of a video game that didn’t overstay its welcome. It’s nearly impossible for people to experience the game as it was back in the day. However, the music forever remains among the best in a long list of fantastic electronic music soundtracks in the gaming world. It was released in the 2000s, right after the era known as “retro” to the current generation of gamers. This was when electronic music was among the only options that fit the mood of most action games. For that reason, we now have outstanding electronic music to playback, especially since the entire soundtrack was remastered back in 2012.
The Kingdom Hearts franchise is one of the most musically appreciated games globally, thanks to legendary composer, writer, and music producer Hikaru Utada. She has done wonders for the music in those games, and she has overseen many genres coming through the music department of Kingdom Hearts. The classic “Face My Fears” theme that even people who have never played the game was written by her. However, for Kingdom Hearts III, she collaborated with legendary electronic music producer Skrillex to create a fresher version while not straying too far from what made the original piece legendary.
There are so many games out there with unique soundtracks like these, and we’d love to hear your thoughts on some that we’ve missed. This list was short, but these were just some of our favourites and don’t reflect all that is available.