It seems only right that we start this list off with an apology — as you’re probably not going to sleep all that well tonight thanks to us. In fact, you’ll probably be humming musical scores right through to sunrise and maybe even past brunch after finishing up here. But that’s okay. The truth is — I’m right there with you, and we can definitely expect to fend off a few addictive notes over the next however many hours together. Of course, it could be worse. Much, much worse.
Video game soundtracks have been the bread and butter of video games for quite some time — with some going as far as keeping the game afloat over the score alone. Composers are forever seeking new ways to form notes that harmonize in your ears, and developers are fighting tooth and nail to try and market their works just so a single track remains embedded after the story closes. A lot of the time, sadly, those notes fall flat, and we often forget half the soundtrack that aired throughout the game. Other times, however — we’re left with prickled hairs and positive vibes that sometimes endure a generation. Just take these five Nintendo 64 hits, for example.
5. “Lost Woods” — The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
It almost feels like an insult to reject the rest of the Ocarina of Time OST, as the Nintendo 64 classic truly did home some of the most mesmerizing songs in video game history. That being said, only a few tracks stuck in our heads after finally wrapping up our time in Hyrule. “Lost Woods”, also coined as “Saria’s Song”, is perhaps one of the most addictive, yet ridiculously endearing melodies that Ocarina of Time brought to life. Even after two decades from launch, the ocarina jingle still replays on a constant loop in the back of our minds. Playing, playing…and playing. “What a HOT beat,” as Darunia would put it.
4. “Slider” — Super Mario 64
Again, it feels like an insult to strip just one song from the whole Super Mario 64 collection. However, after sifting through the score a few dozen times just to refresh a few memories, “Slider” was the one that ultimately left a lasting imprint for all the right reasons. It’s cheeky, it’s nostalgic, and it encapsulates all of the things Nintendo fans adore from the beloved Super Mario franchise. Of course, it’s no thundering orchestra with mind-boggling dips, dives and breathtaking crescendos — but it is catchy — and it is memorable. Very, very *sigh* memorable.
3. “Spiral Mountain” — Banjo-Kazooie
Let’s be honest here, Nintendo wasn’t exactly starving for a solid platformer with a memorable duo back in the nineties. That being said, Banjo-Kazooie was still a welcome member of the 64 family with just as much to give players as the other relatives in the tree. The soundtrack, of course, was one of the many things the bird and bear duo brought to the table — with various influences branching from the likes of “Teddy Bear’s Picnic” and other notable works of art. And that’s exactly why we’re putting the iconic “Spiral Mountain” at the third spot on our list. It’s timeless, it’s oddly sinister — and it’s one of Nintendo’s greatest musical achievements, plain and simple.
2. “DK Isle” — Donkey Kong 64
Speaking of Banjo-Kazooie, this next track that stems from Donkey Kong 64 was, in fact, originally produced for the bird and bear duo. However, after a few hands were changed and Nintendo pulled the plug, Banjo-Kazooie’s “Lost” eventually spiralled into “DK Isle”, which eventually went on to become one of the most memorable tracks in all of Donkey Kong 64. Listen carefully and you’ll clock the similarities between the melody and those featured in the former.
1. “Windy” — Conker’s Bad Fur Day
Tearing away to one of Nintendo’s most criminally underrated, albeit ridiculously crude entries — Conker’s Bad Fur Day’s “Windy” is one that still echoes on the backburner even after twenty years. Of course, Conker & Co did produce quite the score for what the game entailed, with some tracks ranging from merry to downright terrifying. However, between the mounds of faeces singing about sweetcorn and cavemen bopping heads to techno, one instrumental definitely lit the way for the entire soundtrack. “Windy” is both iconic and stupidly catchy — which is why we’re putting it on our list. Just don’t even get me started on the Queen Bee rendition.