If you haven't seen by now, we have announced our nominees for the best of 2010, so get in there and vote for your favorite games of the year! This has been another great year for video game music--in the games themselves and outside of the gaming experience. Video Games Live, Distant Worlds: Final Fantasy, Play! A Video Game Symphony, Symphonic Game Music are just some of the live concerts that perform some of the most memorable tunes from your favorite video games. If you've ever been moved by video game music, then listening to it being performed live by a full orchestra and choir is an incredible and emotional experience.
Now even though our nominees of the year for best original music include DJ Hero 2, Nier, Red Dead Redemption, Super Mario Galaxy 2, and Super Meat Boy, that doesn't mean there weren't other soundtracks worth your attention. It's always hard to narrow down the top five, or even 20, and music is always so subjective. So I've compiled a list that encompasses a wide range of games (as well as individual albums) across different genres that I feel are worth a listen. This is by no means complete, but I had to stop somewhere. Even if you didn't play some of the games, which all did an excellent job of enhancing the experience, there are soundtracks in this list that hold up very well on their own. Check out our video below (courtesy of Tyler Winegarner) to get a taste of what's on the albums, and click on the individual links further down to find out more.
Some highlights from 2010, in no particular order.
Alan Wake by Petri Alanko
Halo: Reach by Martin O'Donnell and Michael Salvatori
Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood by Jesper Kyd
Tactics Ogre: Let us Cling Together by Hitoshi Sakimoto and Masaharu Iwata
Mass Effect 2 by Jack Wall
Enslaved: Odyssey to the West by Nitin Sawhney
Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon by Riei Saito
Silent Hill: Shattered Memories by Akira Yamaoka
Lunar: Silver Star Harmony by Noriyuki Iwadare
Red Dead Redemption by Woody Jackson and Bill Elm
Final Fantasy XIII by Masashi Hamauzu
Final Fantasy XIV by Nobuo Uematsu
Nier by Keiichi Okabe, Kakeru Ishihama, Keigo Hoashi and Takafumi Nishimura
Mafia II by Matus Siroky
Super Mario Galaxy 2 by Koji Kondo, Mahito Yokota, and Ryo Nagamatsu
Bayonetta by Rei Kondoh
Super Meat Boy by Danny Baranowsky
3D Dot Game Heroes by 3D Dot, SuperSweep Co., Ltd
Other album compilations to check out that were released this year: Distant Worlds Music From Final Fantasy
Benyamin Nuss Plays Uematsu
Video Games Live: Level 2
And for funsies to put you in the holiday mood: X'mas Collections: Music from Square Enix
My personal favorites include Alan Wake, Nier, Super Mario Galaxy 2 and Super Meat Boy. What are yours? Hope you guys enjoyed the Sound Byte features this year. I'll be back in January so keep looking out for my posts around the site. I will have interviews from the composer of Dead Space 2, Fable 3 and more, so have a safe and happy new year and see you all in 2011!
Sound Byte is GameSpot's game music blog, which covers every aspect of music in games, including interviews with top game music composers and discussions of new and classic game soundtracks. Have a question or suggestion? Leave us a comment below. For a list of previous Sound Byte features, click here.