I have a confession to make: I never played The Legend of Zelda when I was a kid. It wasn’t until my adult years that I actually got a chance to play Zelda using an NES emulator. The result of this is that while I enjoyed the game, the tune from it isn’t the modern lullaby that it is for most people. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of video game tunes that instantly bring me back to my childhood! Here are five that I can’t hear without getting flashes of a young me playing endless hours of console games with my friends.
5. NBA Jam
I’ve never been a big fan of sports-themed games, which is why it’s a bit strange that I played as much NBA Jam as I did as a young’un. Even today, it’s one of the only sports games that I have any interest in playing, and I think the reason for it is that it’s just so simple, but so much fun. The fact that the players can practically fly around like superman when they go for a dunk probably has something to do with it too. Either way, the main menu music from NBA Jam never fails to take me on a short trip down memory lane.
I like to think that this music is one of those universal nostalgia trips for people. Who among us didn’t spend hours upon hours playing Goldeneye? There’s lots of great music from the soundtrack to inspire nostalgia, but the big one for me is the Chemical Warfare Facility music. Those metallic clanks are iconic!
3. Streets of Rage
One of the few consoles I ever owned was a Sega Genesis, and Streets of Rage was my absolute favourite game for a very long time. To this day, I’m still a big fan of side-scrolling beat-em-up games, and Streets of Rage was one of the greats. The opening music that plays over the scrolling text (and sounds like Enigma) takes me back to my buddy Kevin’s basement room, where we’d spend many days getting hyper on caffeinated cola and playing Streets of Rage from start to finish.
2. Sonic the Hedgehog
Even before I had my Sega Genesis, I had a Sega Game Gear. This clunky machine was about twice the size of a classic Gameboy, and it took about fifty AA batteries to operate. But man, it was a lot of fun. The first game I ever got for it was Sonic the Hedgehog. I never did beat it, but I sure poured a lot of time into that game. And since the Green Hill Zone was the first level, this was the music I heard the most.
1. Super Mario Bros.
Could there have been any other video game theme in the number one spot? This music is almost as famous as Beethoven, if not more famous! You’d be seriously hard-pressed to find someone who can’t hum a few bars of this tune. It’s so well-known, in fact, that I feel like anything I write here would be obvious to anyone reading it. Super Mario Brothers is one of the most famous games of all time, and it’s music is just as famous…if not more!
BONUS: Earthworm Jim
I only had my own copy of Earthworm Jim for a short while before I ended up selling my Sega Genesis, but man did I play the hell out of that game. It’s still one of my favourite platformers.