10 great video game composers

The gaming musical maestros that make our eardrums hum

Michael Giacchino

Notable scores: Call of Duty, Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, Mickey Mania

Another Hollywood composer who crossed the virtual waters to make sweet music for games.

If he's notmaking us cry when the theme of a certain slaphead hunter kicks in during Lost, Giacchino is usually getting the hairs on our arms to stand to attention in Call of Duty. Having scored nearly every game in the Medal of Honor series, his sweeping orchestral tracks accompany the cinematic bloodshed masterfully.

For us, his work on the original COD is yet to be bettered in an FPS. A towering score that forces your goose bumps to drop and give your ears twenty, it's probably the closest games has come to matching a big budget film soundtrack. Want proof of its power? During the suicidal charge on Red Square during the Russian campaign, a certain word monkey (who may or may not go by the moniker of Meikleham) physically screamed at his monitor, tears in his eyes, as the onscreen soldiers ran to their death. And yes, clearly I'm mental.


Michiru Ōshima

Notable scores: Ico, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

The only person on the list representing the XX chromosome, it's not the breadth of Oshima's work that gets her on the list, rather the sheer quality of it. The main reason we're plagued with the constant urge to have sex with our Ico discs is partly down to her amazing work on the game. The piece that probably bests sums up the title's gentle, otherworldly charms is Ico's save music.

A surprisingly simply, elegant tune, it never fails to give our stiff upper lips a stroke every time we sit on one of those magical couches with Yorda. Each time you listen to it, you know you're completely safe from the harsh dangers of the game's castle (namely those shadowy kidnapping monsters who're begging for a good twatting with a 2 X 4). Her work on the PS2 adventure was so celebrated, it earned Oshima a gig on Twilight Princess.


Takenobu Mitsuyoshi

Notable scores:Shenmue, SegaRally, Virtua Fighter

The man's whose music rocks almost as hard as that totally stylish little pendant Mitsuyoshi's rocking around his neck.

Responsible for some of the most iconic Sega tunes in history, Takenobu goes back over twenty years with the Japanese giant. Aside from scoring the company's definitive fighting and driving series, he also composed Shenmue's soundtrack.

And by Ryo Hazuki's manly yet sensitive cheek plaster, if the game's music wasn't epic. The scale and quality of the orchestral melodies were pretty much peerless back in 1998, easily matching most films of the time. It's just a damn shame we're unlikely to hear him score another Shenmue, seeing as the series has had the permanent kibosh put on it for nearly a decade. Ah well, we'll always have the memories. The 'slightly emotionally crippling, what could have been' memories.

Any other game composers you think warrant a mention? Want to share memories about what any of the above musical magicians' work has meant to you? Give us a shout in the comments below.

June 7, 2010


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