Desert Island Discs is a British Institution. The format is simple: a guest is invited by the host to choose the eight records they would take with them to a desert island. Since it was created in 1942 the show has had hundreds of guests including such illustrious people such as Tom Hanks, Lily Allan and Bill Gates.
However rather than just doing a list of 8 songs I thought I'd do the 8 video game soundtracks I'd take on the desert island with me instead. Many gaming music composers were anonymous and they didn't realise until recently that their music had a profound effect on millions of people across the world. For many of us it was the soundtrack of our childhoods. These are tracks that have scored my life.
Shadow of the Colossus - By Kou Otani - 01 Prologue.
This is one of the greatest soundtracks of the Playstation 2 era. The soundtrack is orchestrated wonderfully and works well to create some very emotional sounding pieces of music that echo the lead character's determination to save his loved one, as well as the loneliness of his quest and the land that it's set in.
This track is used right at the beginning of the game and introduces the protagonist through an epic cut-scene which sets the mood wonderfully.
The Legend of Zelda: Windwaker - Koji Kondo et al - Dragon Roost Island
I love the Zelda score and all the games have an amazing soundtrack but this track is just wonderful. It has a light breezy mariachi band feel which is punctuated with staccato castanets under the floaty panpipes. Whenever I listen to this track it reminds me of my time sailing around the world.
Beyond Good and Evil - Christophe Heral - Redemption
BGE is an underappreciated gem that didn't get the recognition I feel that it truly deserved. As well as having a wonderful female character and brilliant gameplay the soundtrack was astonishing. There are moments of real beauty contained and it was hard to choose but this track near the end of the game perfectly captures the essence of the game.
Thunder Force III - Toshiharu Yamanishi - Ellis: Take a Chance
Thunder Force III is one the the best shmups ever and has very fitting upbeat music. Each stage and boss has a unique sound set specifically for it. While the usual mechanical sound of the Sega audio chips is present, it's not very distracting since the game is meant to be futuristic. Ellis is the ice world and the track for this level is pretty awesome. Whenever I hear the music it has me hyped!
Thomas Was Alone - David Housden - A Time For Change
Sometimes a game comes along and surprises you. It may be for any number of reasons but for me Thomas Was Alone is the game that most surprised me. It made me feel things... for a bunch of quadrilaterals. Yup, a bunch of squares and rectangles had me feeling things, emotional things. The game is a simple puzzler but the witty heartfelt writing and majestic score raised the stakes on the emotion front higher. This track is wonderful and I still listen to it most days, especially when I'm in one of my soul-searching moods.
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze - David Wise et al. - Seashore War
The Donkey Kong soundtracks are all amazing, especially when the great David Wise composed them. Out of all the great soundtracks that stick with me the most recent game, Tropical Freeze has the track that still send shivers down my spine. Seashore War is majestic and sweeps along beuatifully. The track appears near the end of the game. After a long, tough battle to get close to the finishing post this track seems like a balm giving you hope and motivating you to beat the game. A true gem that I listen to daily whilst marking my pupils' work.
Journey - Austin Wintory - Nascence
There are few games that you know you will remember for the rest of your life. For me Journey is one of those games. It is a short experience but within that limited time you questions the meaning of life, universe, everything. The game is gloriously scored by Austin Wintory and his wonderful orchestration touches the heart. A profound yet beautiful score which will stick with me forever.
Sonic the Hedgehog 3 - Michael Jackson (?), Brad Buxer, Cirocco Jones - Marble Gardens Act 2
This is a bit of a weird one I know but I love it. The original 4 Sonic games had some amazing soundtracks but this one stuck with me for some reason. I just loved Sonic 3 and even though Marble Gardens is not a good level by any means the soundtrack was amazing and even now I still hum the tracks occasionally.
So these are my 8 video game Desert Island Discs. I'm sure a lot of you are thinking 'what the heck, you missed blah blah blah' but this isn't an official top 8, just my personal favourites. So what are your favourite tracks and why? I'd like to know and if doing 8 is too much just give me your one favourite in the comments below.