Top Ten: N64 Gaming Tunes

Who is this “Beyoncé” you speak of? We’re all about the nostalgia sound today.

By Mel Turnquist. Posted 10/19/2011 15:00 2 Comments     ShareThis

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Welcome to this week’s edition of Top Ten! Today, I will be taking you through my Top Ten N64 Gaming Tunes, from Star Fox to Mario and back. The rules I used for this list are that only one song per game is allowed on my list. While I may like more than one song from the game at hand, I prefer to do it this way so that I will be able to showcase more games. Besides, if I did that, about 50% of this would be Ocarina of Time, which wouldn’t be fair.

As a disclaimer, I must say that this is just an opinion-based list and that it doesn’t reflect the opinions of everybody else here at Nintendojo. (Noah has some issues with Yoshi ever since he got snubbed at a press event in 2005… let’s not talk about it.) If you have your own Top ten, feel free to list it down in the comments! So without further ado, here we go!

10) Area 6 (Star Fox 64, 1997)

I have a confession to make: While I adored this video game, the music wasn’t exactly something that totally charmed me much. I preferred the original StarFox music with the main theme that sounded like what would happen if Star Trek music and Star Wars music could have a musical baby. However, I like this song. It has a majestic feel to it like a bird in flight. Perhaps that’s why Super Smash Brothers Brawl played it during Falco’s grand entrance in the Subspace Emissary.

9) Birdman (Pilotwings 64, 1996)

This must be…. mid-aerial love… (according to Mel.)

I’m not going to lie– a huge reason why I put this one in here is because this tune makes me laugh. It’s very slow and it moves very smoothly. It’s sounds like a tune for night time flying. It’s a very pretty song. So if it’s such a nice tune, then why does it make me laugh? Well, let’s just say that if you happen to be alone in the house with the special lady or fellow in your life and this song plays…it’s surprisingly appropriate. It also sounds like something you’d hear in a Cinemax after dark film. It’s some grade A baby making music for sure. It’s just so odd that it’s in something like this game.

8) Chilly Waters (Mario Party 3, 2001)

I love the way that this sounds. It’s got like a combination of like the waltz style that the underwater themes tend to have in Mario games, but it has a really majestic snowy feel to it too. These may be odd descriptors to you, but be prepared for these. I kind of have a thing for cold level music. They tend to fall within the realm of my favorites, in case you were wondering.

7) Rainbow Road (Mario Kart 64, 1997)

I’m also a fan of “Choco Mountain” and “Moo Moo Meadows” songs, but you can’t go wrong with “Rainbow Road.” Each version of Mario Kart has its own rendition. They stay within the same realm of otherworldly wonderful tunes, but each one has their own variation. Most folks point to this one as their favorite, which is for good reason. It has a really good sound to it and it just sounds like a damn good driving song. I’m torn between this one and the Super Mario Kart versions of this song to point to as my favorites.

6) Termina Field (The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, 2000)

I like this Overworld theme a lot better than the Ocarina of Time, I have to admit. While I did like Hyrule Field’s theme, I like this one for a lot more reasons. For one thing, I like the snare drum cadence. I like the way it sounds like a march. Secondly, I love that there’s a bit of a counter melody that joins up with it in the second part of the song. It just adds a lot of texture to the song, for lack of a better term. Thirdly, and probably most importantly, they use the standard over world theme. I mean come on, how could a Zelda game be without that theme?! No offense to Ocarina of Time on that one. I still prefer Ocarina to Majora, to be fair.

5) Bob-Omb Battlefield (Super Mario 64, 1996)

I’m aware that most people would go for either “Dire Dire Docks,” “Credits,” or the “Bowser Theme,” which are all fine choices, but this is the one that I like the most. Call me lame, call me lazy if you want to, but I really love this tune. The way that the horns duel with the other instruments, which I think were intended to be saxophones, hooks me in. I like stuff that is big and brassy/bold (my background as a saxophonist in my high school band is why) so this is right up my alley. Plus, I really really really love the remix of this from Super Mario Galaxy 2 which is exactly how I imagined a jazz band performing it.

4) Shiver Star (Kirby 64, 2000)

For me, no list would be complete without at least one Kirby game representing. This is a game I only played a few times. However, I do love it so. This is my favorite song from the bunch. I like the way that a lot of the snowy levels sound in Kirby games. They really fit the atmosphere and I love the glockenspiel like sound that they use to represent snow falling. It’s just a pretty song. They remixed this one in Kirby Canvas Curse in the Cold Course level which sounds pretty fantastic as well.

3) Ending (Yoshi’s Story, 1998)

First off, have they ever said what the little Yoshis were singing when it was at the end. My cousin used to say it was “Eat apples” but there’s so many different suggestions. However, it’s the ending theme that I love. It kind of sounds like the ending of a children’s show, which I think is the aim. It fits the theme of a storybook very well and it just is so relaxing and happy. All you wanna do is just curl up with some hot chocolate and smile whenever you hear this song…or at least I do.

2) Yoshi’s Island (Super Smash Bros., 1999)

Some people may accuse me of cheating by including this one, however I disagree. There’s a difference between the main theme in Yoshi’s Story, the one it’s based on, and this one. This one is a faster pace and kind of combines the complete level theme part and the main level theme. It’s a mixture of the two. I just love the way this one pulses and is faster than the source material. It’s a little weird the way that such a happy song is in a fighting game, but then again this is Super Smash Brothers where the violence is comical at best.

1) Sheik’s Theme (Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, 1998)

I love this game a lot. There’s actually a lot of songs I could’ve gone with for this– “Saria’s Song,” “Gerudo Valley,” “Prelude of Light,” “Zelda’s Lullaby”; the list goes on. There’s so many fantastic tunes I could go with, so why did I go with the super short one? Because it’s my favorite, that’s why. I love the narrative that goes with it whenever Sheik would appear. I love the nostalgia it seems to convey when the song comes along. I love the way it kinda just sounds like it’s gracefully falling down to Link as a message to remember. I really wish this tune was longer because honestly it’s probably one of my favorites of all video game tunes. Not my absolute favorite, but one of them. It is easily my favorite of the N64 songs.

And so that is my Top Ten list of N64 Gaming Tunes. Agree? Disagree? Well, tough cookies. It’s my opinion dammit! However, as I said before, if you have your own opinion that you want to express, then comment away!

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