It’s Monday, and which means it’s time for Ask Kotaku, the weekly function during which Kotaku’s rank and file weigh in on the burning questions of our instances. Typically they’re severe, generally they’re much less so, however principally it’s simply one other excuse for us to speak vidya video games. You down?

This week on Ask Kotaku, to have fun the launch of our new Morning Music function: What’s your single favorite piece of online game music?


There are various songs in video video games that I like and might hum alongside to. There are only a few that elicit precise, deep, emotions and recollections. The primary music you hear whenever you boot the opening mission of Doom is a kind of uncommon tracks. To this present day the second I hear it I’m flooded with recollections of killing demons as a child on my previous Compaq PC. Any time a contemporary Doom sport contains a part of this music I really feel like pumping the air with my fist, grabbing a shotgun, and killing some zombies.

Doom is one in every of my favorite video video games of all time and the soundtrack is a giant a part of why I can nonetheless return and benefit from the unique Doom in 2020. And I’ll in all probability return and play it in 2030. And in 2040 too. Effectively, assuming I’m nonetheless alive and the world remains to be round.


Grandia III just isn’t my favorite Grandia sport. It’s removed from my favorite Japanese role-playing sport. Hell, it in all probability wouldn’t even crack my prime 20. However generally I drop the disc into my PlayStation 2 simply to let the edited English model of Miz’s “In The Sky” play again and again. It’s an ethereal pop music that completely captures the surprise and pleasure of setting off on a grand journey.

Right here’s the model from the sport.

I do know the music backwards and forwards, in English and Japanese, and it’ll be with me ceaselessly.


My prime choose all the time teeters on a whim. What I can do is select one thing properly consultant of my enduring passions and pursuits, a check simply handed by the soundtrack to Sega’s 1988 “super-scaler” arcade sport Galaxy Pressure II, “Past the Galaxy” specifically. Casiopea-style jazz fusion in my 32-year-old arcade sport? It’s extra seemingly than you suppose when Sega’s S.S.T.Band is on the helm.

“Past the Galaxy” is a far cry from the energetic, heroic themes you would possibly anticipate from the primary stage of an outer-space shoot ‘em up. As a substitute it’s downbeat and mysterious (like me!), with a remarkably outstanding bassline that carries us via a number of distinct passages, the primary of which is downright plaintive… mournful! What is this, S.S.T.? Y’all are nice, and I like this monitor.

All through, the instrument samples sound shockingly good for the period. How completely unbelievable that video video games went from public-domain covers composed of beeps to competently sampled, unique jazz fusion within the house of 5 years. What was it like for the artists fuelling this fast innovation, consistently one-upping each the competitors and themselves? Hopefully sometime this story will get the in-depth exploration it deserves. Within the meantime, “Past the Galaxy” stays each an amazing jam and a small milestone for an rising artform.


I used to be 16 after I first performed FFX, and it was the identical yr I wrote my first fic. The Ashley that was round when Remaining Fantasy X got here out was the sort of Ashley who was obsessive about romance, delivery, fanfiction, and every thing that needed to do with scarred-up and ruggedly good-looking protagonists defending their softer, female (to not be confused with helpless) girlfriends.

I’ll always remember how I felt after I first noticed that scene within the Macalania Woods, when Tidus and Yuna do it. They completely had intercourse in that river, you possibly can’t persuade me in any other case, and it was probably the most romantic factor I’d ever seen in a online game. I feel it was the primary time I’d seen anyone kiss in a sport, not to mention have closely implied intercourse. “Suteki da ne” was the music taking part in over that scene, and I’ll always remember it for that. If I ever get married… once more… and have an actual wedding ceremony this time, that is what I need to play for my first dance. 16-year-old Ashley could be thrilled.


How can I choose only one favorite? Online game music has resonated with me in a approach few different elements of gaming have ever because the first time I dropped down the chemical falls of Mega Man 3’s Shadow Man stage. The Lavender City theme from Pokémon Purple and Blue nonetheless offers me chills. Limitless Saga is a barely incomprehensible, borderline unplayable board-game JRPG, however “Listless” is my head’s go-to music for when life is idling. “Sky Burial” from Kou Otani’s masterful Shadow of the Colossus soundtrack seared itself into my mind after looping it on the bus experience again from a nasty breakup. “Silent Edge” made me fall in love with Remaining Fantasy VII: Dirge of Cerberus after falling asleep to it whereas taking part in one night time. I nonetheless keep in mind beating Star Ocean: The Second Story yet again simply so I may seize the credit monitor “We Type In Crystals” on my dad and mom’ tape recorder.

The checklist goes on: Xenogears’ “Shevat: The Wind is Calling,” Chrono Set off’s “Sealed Door,” Secret of Mana’s “Into the Thick of It,” Mass Impact’s “The Presidium.” And on: Donkey Kong Nation’s “Aquatic Ambiance,” Donkey Kong Nation 2’s “Stickerbrush Symphony,” Remaining Fantasy XII’s “A Second’s Relaxation,” The Final Story’s “Ruli Fort,” and Remaining Fantasy XIII’s “The Cradle Will Fall,” and Remaining Fantasy XIII-2’s “Parallel World.” (Little recognized reality: FFXII-2’s soundtrack is without doubt one of the finest in the complete sequence). This barely scratches the floor of each piece of gorgeous gaming music that’s transported and reworked me, and even these are principally the B-sides. I’ll go forward and decide on a favorite although: the soundtrack of Fez by Richard Vreeland, aka Disasterpeace. That’s dishonest, I do know, however the complete rating builds so superbly that I nearly really feel like I’m replaying the sport after I hearken to it.

For the necessities of in the present day’s query I’ll go along with “Nocturne.” Musical composers have been churning them out for hundreds of years, however none captures the distinction of darkish alienation and comforting nostalgia fairly like Vreeland’s. It makes being consumed by the glitchy void really feel like returning dwelling once more. From T.S. Elliot’s The Little Gidding: “We will not stop from exploration / And the tip of all our exploring / Might be to reach the place we began / And know the place for the primary time.”


I’m probably not one for online game music, to be sincere. However give me an opportunity to speak about “favorite” something and my ideas will all the time drift to killer7, the trippy GameCube fever dream from 2005 that I regard as Goichi “Suda51” Suda’s magnum opus.

“Rave On” itself isn’t all that particular — it’s a good little digital bop if that’s your factor. I principally prefer it due to the context during which killer7 makes use of it. Many of the sport’s ranges are in a bizarre, alternate-reality house often known as the Vinculum Gate, that appears and seems like a membership. The room is darkish and you’ll hear a loud, thumping rhythm coming from past the doorways.

It isn’t till you pay the requisite quantity of Soul Shells to the Gatekeeper (don’t fear, these phrases aren’t actually essential) that you just lastly get a full style of the monitor. “Rave On” solely performs within the small hallways that join the Vinculum Gate and the boss areas, and thus it’s straightforward to overlook when you’re speeding to complete the extent. However take your time, and also you’ll be handled to one in every of killer7’s extra memorable tracks.


There’s nothing on Earth that makes me happier than the opening few seconds of the Dragon Roost theme from Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. It’s so jaunty, and windy, and carefree, and each time I hear it I both need to dance a jig or soar in a ship and go crusing (please observe I can’t dance a jig nor stay anyplace close to the ocean, that’s how highly effective this monitor is).


I used to be planning, as I often do, to solely semi-seriously reply to this week’s question — perhaps name out “Escape From the Metropolis,” from Sonic Journey 2 Battle; or “Reside and Study,” from Sonic Journey 2 Battle; or “A Ghost’s Pumpkin Soup,” from Sonic Journey 2 Battle; or “It Doesn’t Matter,” from Sonic Journey 2 Battle. However the different week, I went via a very life-changing expertise.

On July 23, 2020, at 12:04 p.m. ET, I noticed the gameplay reveal for Halo Infinite. It was wonderful. Then, on the finish, round the eight-minute mark, it kicked in: the Halo theme, reimagined by Gareth Coker (who, by the way in which, composed the Ori theme, one other monitor for the ages). These unmistakable swells reawoke a dormant flame in my soul, and since then, I’ve been taking part in Halo just about nonstop. The music for Attain and 4 and 5 is nice, however you possibly can’t beat the primary theme of the unique trilogy. Not like you or me — not like everybody who performs Halo and everybody who doesn’t — some issues simply by no means get previous. Some issues actually are infinite.


A yr after I moved to Japan, Utada Hikaru’s “Hikari” was the newest in her lengthy string of hits. It was additionally the theme for Kingdom Hearts and was re-recorded as “Easy and Clear” for the English-speaking world. It’s an amazing, nice music and a terrific theme. Listening to it now jogs my memory of my early 20s and after I simply moved to Japan, so for me, it has a really giant resonance. I’m all the time excited when a giant, new Kingdom Hearts sport is introduced, as a result of I look ahead to a brand new Utada theme.

As an apart, the best {hardware} theme music of all time is that this ditty by Shigeru Matsuzaki for the PS Vita.

[This week’s last word goes to Chris Person, who was unexpectedly laid off on Friday along with about a dozen other video producers at our company. Chris spent eight wonderful years masterminding Kotaku’s video features. You can follow his future exploits on Twitter. Your heart, insights, and contributions will be missed, friend.]

Chris P.

“Oh sure, sure. That is the sound, that wonderful sound! We’d forgotten this sound for therefore lengthy.”

There are positively higher songs than The Legendary Theme from Gitaroo Man, nevertheless it units itself aside because the fruits of an ideal, lovely rhythm sport. Gitaroo Man was some bona fide freak stuff that hit me at simply the best time in my life. I even imported the CD from Japan. It makes me really unhappy that iNiS went from this, Ouendan, and Elite Beat Brokers to having to place out stuff like The Black Eyed Peas Expertise. Ah nicely, we’ll all the time have Gitarooman.

How About You?

Kotaku’s weighed in, however what’s your take? What one monitor represents, to you, the perfect of online game music? The dialog continues under, so have your say. We’ll see you within the feedback, and might be again subsequent Monday to tackle one other no-doubt nerdy head-scratcher. Till then, take pleasure in some Morning Music!

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