Celebratory Post: 40k hits! “Share your favorite VG OSTs to write to”



Hail, NPCs!

This is very much unlike me, both in its admittance and in its onset, but I’ve been having a hard time getting any writing done lately. Motivation is low. What is this malady? I’ve always tried to make it a point to consistently post as frequently as possible, if not daily then every other day. I’m sure this all stems from some misplaced sense of showmanship over my childhood bullies and naysayers, but I’ll blame it on anxiousness over the fact we’re still waiting for our baby to arrive!

However, a little metric came along today to give me an excuse to write about something I’ve been wanting to for some time: we reached 40k views today. Here is an artist’s rendition of the calcified Well-Red Mage receiving all those hits.


In the past, we’ve hosted some fun community projects, so in that spirit I’d like to ask if you’d share your favorite video game soundtracks, specifically those you use for writing. Which VG OSTs are simply the best to get some writing done to? Nothing like some stellar music to get the creativity flowing again. See how I’m using this post as an excuse to squeeze some motivation out of our readers? Hah! Ingenuous! *wink*

Here are a few of my own personal favorites:


Final Fantasy Piano Collections
While not actually soundtracks, I’ve been collecting and listening to this series for years and it’s my immediate go-to for writing inspiration and focus. I typically utilize non-lyrical music (befitting soundtracks) for more emphasis on acuteness of mind. And now I don’t have to list every FF soundtrack individually.

Austin Wintory’s lonely score for this masterpiece always caps the top of my non-FF soundtracks. It never ceases to move me to some degree and it’s perfect for getting focused.

Hyper Light Drifter
This was one of the best games I played last year and it’s soundtrack is the perfect acid-tech accompaniment for its magenta-cyan world. Some of its tracks are skippable if they’re too dissonant but on the whole it’s great for writing.

If you haven’t played Bound yet, shame, doc. It’s unforgettable both visually and audibly.

Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch
The most traditionally adventurous soundtrack on this list, Joe Hisaishi took the leap from scoring film to scoring video games with this OST and he brought all of his penchant for magic and whimsy with him.

Shadow of the Colossus
Yes of course Shadow of the Colossus. It’s always Shadow of the ColossusThis is a soundtrack I go to if I want to think more seriously.

To a lesser extent than the previous mentioned title, Ico provides some great atmosphere for undertaking the craft of the writer.

Also by Wintory, this brief, elegant soundtrack is driven by cellos and I love its profundity. Great for achieving that focus.

The soundtrack from Okami is a little more culturally specific than a lot of these others, so I generally turn to it if I’m writing something with the same flavor. It’s both magnificent and quirky.

Breath of Fire II
Yes I sometimes write to a 16-bit soundtrack. So what?

Katamari Damacy
Every once in a blue moon that’s about to be rolled up by a gigantic, sticky ball, I turn to this ridiculous soundtrack to get in the right mode to write something ridiculous. Not for everyone.

I Am Setsuna
I’m a sucker for piano so this all-piano soundtrack off of 90’s throwback I Am Setsuna was a match made in nostalgia heaven. It is beautifully soft and cold, like falling snow.

I instantly fell in love with the soundtrack from Abzûagain by Wintory, which captures all of the mysterious and awe of the sea.

Grim Fandango Remastered
Swanky as they come, every once in a while I’ll turn on this beauty for the sheer sake of classiness.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
The newest addition to my list of favorite soundtracks, I knew this one was a keeper in the first hour of hearing it. Atmospheric piano in an open-world game? Yes please.

Chrono Trigger
On this list, I’ve stuck to games I’ve had an opportunity to review here but I’d be failing you if I didn’t mention this one. My favorite game of all time also bears one of my favorite soundtracks of all time. The best part is, there are a lot of great remixes and interpretations of this OST to be found for free on YouTube. I’ve greatly enjoyed returning to this soundtrack over the years.


I’m very much looking forward to expanding my musical horizons and I hope you are too! Please name drop your favorite soundtracks in the comments below!

These celebratory posts typically take the form of listicles, so if you want to check them out, you can do so by moving your cursor here and clicking the left button. Thanks for sharing and thanks for reading!

-The Well-Red Mage


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58 replies »

  1. Congrats on 40K hits! That is awesome! I love video game music and while I do listen to it while writing, I also love to listen to it while cleaning…. makes mundane chores so much easier! 🙂 Some of my favorite OSTs include Animal Crossing, Super Mario RPG, Donkey Kong Country (all of them, including Returns and Tropical Freeze), Yoshi’s Island… I could go on and on. I tend to gravitate towards SNES- era games for some reason 😉 Maybe because it makes me feel so nostalgic!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I feel for ya dude, I was feeling rather unlike writing stuff for about 4 weeks until my latest kick up the arse. Congratulations on the milestone, though, and even if you’re writing less frequently, the content is still awesome! I don’t listen to video game soundtracks on their own, but I’m a big fan of these suckas:
    Sonic Adventure 2
    All the Mega Drive/Genesis Sonic games
    All the Smash Bros.
    All the Kirby
    All the Pokémon
    Burnout Paradise (because mine was a custom one…)
    De Blob 2
    Rayman Origins/Legends
    Street Fighter IV/V

    – Reuben

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Congratulations on all the hits! On the music question, I don’t listen to music when writing (just when working at my day job!) but as far as video game soundtracks, I like the ones from “Silent Hill”. I have the Silent Hill II and III soundtracks from owning the game and actually bought the Silent Hill I soundtrack on disc from like Half.com or eBay or something.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Do you usually just write to the sound of silence? Oh Silent Hill has some great atmosphere but I don’t think I could listen to the soundtracks for it without perpetually looking over my shoulder. Spooky stuff. Lol thanks for sharing your thoughts on VG music!


  4. Congrats on 40k hits! *throws confetti, refuses to clean it up, laughs maniacally*

    Legend of Zelda is one of my favorite OSTs to write to, and I don’t even think I need to mention Final Fantasy at this point hehe. I’m trying to remember where I read it, but there was an article about how video games music is specifically written to help you think/concentrate, so it makes sense that its useful for not just dungeon crawling (heck, it might even have been on here!) I have a playlist on YouTube specifically for writing/editing that I usually crank whenever such needs to be done. Currently, it’s mostly filled with the fore mentioned LoZ, but I also have playlists on my phone as well. I really love FF Symphonic Suite, which I listened to while writing my review for the first Final Fantasy, and I listened to the soundtrack to Journey while editing Journey, but I can see that being pulled out again for other projects. Songs sans words are a bit better imo. I *can* listen to them, but I find just instrumental music is better for concentration since there’s no distracting words.

    So Legend of Zelda (there’s this amazing artist Rebecca Tripp who does remixes of songs), Final Fantasy (there’s another amazing artist who does “Melancholy” remixes, though a lot of music is already that), Kid Icarus, Mario Galaxy, Gemfire (old SNES strategy game), and I just added music from Legend of Mana.

    Liked by 1 person

    • *Eyeballs confetti nervously, thinking of his confetti allergies* Thanks very much!
      I’ve never done significant research on it, but as classical is my favorite musical genre, I’ve heard repeatedly that it aids brain function and concentration. I don’t think game soundtracks are too far away from the same style of music, so it does make a lot of sense. Tripp and the Melancholy remixes, as well as the Symphonic Suite, are some of my favorites! Lyrics I just find too tough to concentrate to. It’s always been that way from homework to essays to sermons to blogging to creative writing. I can’t hang with that. I forgot about Gemfire! I need to spend some time expanding my YouTube playlist. Problem with me is I’m a person who’s easily distracted specifically by abstract ideas. Thanks for sharing!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I never even realized that lyrics sap my concentration until I noticed I was turning down my music when I really needed to focus on something. Since you’re writing aka figuring out words, it makes sense that it would be distracting if you’re hearing other words, though more times than I can count while editing, the same word I’m reading winds up being sung in the song. Ah coincidence hehe.

        I loved Gemfire back in the day, and it was one of my musical favorites, too!

        I, too, am easily distracted by abstract ideas, so I feel your pain. If I’m lucky, I’ll remember a song to add while I’m listening to a particular playlist. I still need to convert a bunch of them over so I can put them on my phone. YouTube is great, but it uses so much data when I’m not at home D:

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Congratulations on 40k! I recently found your blog and have been enjoying it.

    Some of my favorite soundtracks include The Witcher 3, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, No Mans Sky, Bound, Abzû, and, my new favorite, Horizon Zero Dawn.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh yeah, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture! Forgot to add that to my list. That’s a very compelling soundtrack however I personally found it hard for me to listen to because of the emotional response I have to certain tracks like “I Hope You Find Peace”, “Clouds and Starlight”, and “Slipping Away” which I guess is the mark of a great soundtrack. Still, I can’t help but go back to it because of how amazing it is.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I find it to be a very powerful soundtrack, and it definitely elicits an emotional response from me. I have to be in a particular mood or writing a certain piece to listen to it. “The End of All Things” and “The Light We Cast” are among my favorites.

        Liked by 2 people

  6. Mine are probably #1: tie between Metroid/Zelda #2: 7th Saga, #3: FF4 and #4: FF6. Then more contemporary stuff are Superbrothers: Sword & Sorcery’s OST, Hotline Maimi, Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon, and of course, Mother Russia Bleeds.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Congratulations on 40k! And that’s a great list of soundtracks. Chrono Trigger is a great one especially, and I actually wanted to say Chrono Cross as one of my favorite soundtracks to write to. It’s a very soft OST compared to Trigger, and there are a lot of melancholic pieces. But there are also nice, energetic tunes too. The game itself was okay, but the music has lasted with me much longer. Chrono Cross solidified my love for Yasnuori Mitsuda’s music. Congrats again! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Mr. Panda! Mitsuda is a genius. Did you know the composition for Chrono Trigger came from a dream the composer had? Far out! CC and CT both have excellent tracks. The music survived the game, as far as Cross is concerned!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Chrono Cross is probably my favorite of all time. I perhaps look a little more favorably on Cross than most because I actually started there and went back for Trigger later but I’m glad others can appreciate the soundtrack. Like you, it put Yasunori Mitsuda in the top tier for me.

      Liked by 2 people

      • You’re making me really want to replay Cross. I wish I had a save file for it since I’d love to just breeze through it with that New Game + fast forwarding machine. Er… spoilers I guess, for anyone else reading. I don’t know if I could sit through that awful battle gameplay again though with the three tiers of accuracy and the homogeneous characters.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. This is a nice run down. Some of them I haven’t heard, and will be looking into them!But I can add a few to that list!

    Giana Sisters Twisted Dreams OST – (Chris Huelsbeck/Fabian Del Priore/Machinae Supremacy)

    PPPPPP The OST to VVVVVV – (SoulEye)

    Mega Man Classic Series OST (Capcom. Various)

    Turrican OST – (Chris Huelsbeck)

    Target Renegade OST – (Tim Folin)

    Pretty much anything by Jeroen Tel/Maniacs Of Noise

    Unreal Tournament Series’ OST ( Epic, Various)

    Rise Of The Triad OST (Lee Jackson)

    Forbidden Forest OST (Paul Norman)

    Ys OST (Any of them) (Falcom, Various)

    Liked by 1 person

  9. American McGee’s Alice, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 1&2, assorted Castlevania series tracks, Kingdom Hearts series, Adventures of Batman & Robin (Genesis soundtrack by Jesper Kyd), Legend of Zelda series, Dark Souls series, Bloodborne, The Witcher 3, Valdis Story: Abyssal City, Quake. Epic and atmospheric are my favorite for writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Congratulations on hitting 40k views! I remember when I hit 40k. I was super proud of myself. I don’t use any game music for writing, but I’ll share some of my favorite soundtracks anyway :).

    Mass Effect 1-3
    Dragon Age Origins/Inquisition
    Dark Souls II-III
    The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
    Starbound (Don’t know many people that play this game, but the soundtrack is amazing.)
    Super Mario

    That’s all I got off the top of my head :).

    Liked by 1 person

  11. A lot of video games I like one or two themes from; Shadow of the Colossus is the one video game soundtrack I could listen to on its own again and again

    Liked by 1 person

    • Shadow has such great music. Some of it is a little too monstrous to write to but some of them are perfect. I chop up that soundtrack when I need to. Thanks for commenting! What are some of your other favorite themes beyond Shadow of the Colossus?


  12. FF Piano Collections: Ah yes, always soothing, they have been some of my go-to albums for many, many years, along with the vocal collections “Love will Grow” and “Pray”.

    Lately I have been stuck on the Dissidia and Dissidia 012 soundtracks when I want to be pumped up. Though they have a number of low key tracks most of them are battle themed and remixed from their originals (FF1-9).

    Along with that the FF14 soundtrack offers a myriad of genres ranging from battle to relaxing and everything in-between. Since I play a couple of nights a week I get constant reminders of “Hey, that’s an awesome song! I should listen to it at work!”, and there you go!

    I don’t see how Chrono Trigger, or the (mostly) excellent arranged “The Brink of Time” could not be on any hard-core gamers list. I would even go as far as to say that many of the tracks on Chrono Cross are equally as incredible, even if the game was only so-so (talk about confusing storylines. CCross makes Kingdom Hearts look like an easy reader back in grade school).

    Congrats on all the hits!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! I love FF Piano Collections. I still need to get around to listening to the newest one for FFXV. I do need to listen to the FF14 OST since I haven’t played that one. Thanks for the recommendations! Cross was a miss in a lot of ways except for that music. CC and CT are among my favorite soundtracks. That violin always gives me chills.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Not that I write much but whenever I need music to get the creative juices flowing I’ll put on the following:
    Chrono Cross
    No Man’s Sky
    Heavy Rain
    Deus Ex: Human Revolution
    Final Fantasy (various titles plus Distant Worlds)
    Velocity 2X
    The Last of Us

    I use these for creative writing and conceptualizing so most might not be appropriate for blog writing but they’re enjoyable nonetheless.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for sharing your favs, TM! I’ve found that the soundtracks I used for creative writing back when I focused more on novellas and short stories transferred easily to blogging. Most of them anyway. Chrono Cross! I was hoping someone’d mention that one for me! A couple of those I’ve never listened to, and I still need to get around to The Last of Us! I’m sure a lot of those you mentioned that I wasn’t familiar with will be great for blogging to, thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

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