“Red’s Top 7 Favorite VGM Composers”

Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.
-Claude Debussy


Hey! Alright! Did you submit a guess yesterday? Well then today you get to find out if you were correct or not!

You get 1 point if you guessed my #1 favorite video game music composer, so let’s get on with the list! These are the soundsmiths that get my inner ear all aflutter.


kristofer-maddigan_large#7. Kristofer Maddigan

Kristofer Maddigan is a BAFTA award-winning percussionist who is here for a single solitary reason: the award-winning soundtrack for Cuphead. This soundtrack is easily my most listened-to album for a game I have never even played! When do we get Cuphead on the Switch? Energetic, incredibly authentic, and demonstrative of incredible musical skill, I listen to Maddigan’s Cuphead constantly, like an average of three or four times through a week. In fact, I’m listening to it right now!






















#6. Manami Matsumae / Setsuo Yamamoto

Can I really pick two composers for one spot on a top seven list? Sure, it’s my list. Like any self-aware, autonomous adult, I do what I want! Manami Matsumae and Setsuo Yamamoto are here because of my love for the Rockman, the Blue Bomber, Super Fighting Robot, Mega Man! His games feature some of my favorite video game music of all time. Matsumae is responsible for the music of the first Mega Man game, setting the precedent for the sound design to come. She also took part in Mega Man II’s “Air Man theme”, which is probably my favorite Mega Man song ever. Then there’s Yamamoto, who crafted a majority of the soundtrack for Mega Man X. For their foundational work with Mega Man, I’ve got to name both of them here.







Shimomura#5. Yoko Shimomura

Unlike the composers above who I noted for singular favorites, Yoko Shimomura is a composer with a body of work massive and magical enough to win her a slot on my list. Seriously, she’s been making music for over 30 years! Maybe you’ve heard of some of these obscure titles? Street Fighter IIFinal FightSuper Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven StarsParasite EveKingdom hearts, or Final Fantasy XV? She’s even set to compose Kingdom Hearts III and Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story + Bowser Jr.’s Journey. Maybe she’ll compose the Bowsette theme. If anyone could do it, Shimomura could! Did I just mention Bowsette…?






Koji_Kondo-0#4. Koji Kondo

There are heroes, there are legends, and then there is Koji Kondo. Perhaps the most heard video game composer in human history, Kondo was the wizard behind Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda, and he’s worked with those series ever since. Who hasn’t heard the Super Mario overworld theme song? Even your mother has since you played it incessantly as a kid. It’s synonymous with video games! Some of the most iconic songs in gaming history can be traced back to Kondo, the international treasure.




8739106018b2fc6ebc5d250fe69ff2c51438011713_full.jpg#3. Yasunori Mitsuda

Of course. I know that Mitsuda has done much more than just the music for Chrono Trigger but none of his other soundtracks have had the impact, longevity, and iconic status of this dream-inspired, ulcer-creating masterpiece of music. Composing the music for XenogearsMario PartyChrono CrossShadow Hearts, and Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is nothing to sniff at, but of course he’ll always be remembered most for his work on the Dream Project. As well he should.






rah_48153945781#2. Austin Wintory

I first encountered composer Austin Wintory in the incredible experience that was Journey, and I’ve never looked back. I hunted down his other work in flOwThe Banner Saga, and Abzû, and I love the realism, the tenderness, and peace of his music. Its intimacy immediately sets it apart from the vastness of video game music, to my mind.

Few video game composers have ever been as transportive for me as Wintory has. One word: Apotheosis.








nobuo-uematsu#1. Nobuo Uematsu

There can be only one.

Nobuo Uematsu will forever be that one when it comes to video game music composers. So eloquent, diverse, melodic, and character-driven it ought to come as no surprise when I mention that he helped complete the Chrono Trigger soundtrack and that’s not even what he’s most known for. This is a Final Fantasy-themed site so that might’ve been a dead giveaway for some, but I have to say that his career spanning three decades of video game history has brought forth some of my favorite songs of all time, not just in video games, but all time, period.

3-D WorldRunnerRad RacerRomancing SaGaLost Odyssey, and the freaking main theme for Super Smash Bros. Brawl are just a few titles off his intense list of works, and that’s not even mentioning his work in every single numerical Final Fantasy game (and some spinoffs!) from the first all the way to the twelfth. How can Square salvage the Final Fantasy VII Remake? Get Nobuo Uematsu to recreate the nuclei of that incredible soundtrack.

Uematsu is also a man I owe much personal thanks to. It’s his work which inspired me to take up the ivory keys. I taught myself how to play the piano because I wanted to feel his music in an even more profound way. I learned “To Zanarkand” happily. Uematsu’s work is literally a part of who I am.

Uematsu stands upon the validity, the legitimacy, and the craft of video game music:

“I believe that there are still people who believe that game music is something equal to just an effect incorporated into the game, something like a BGM. And therefore this is something that I would like to show that is not true.”


Special shout outs to Peter McConnell and David Wise! I love you guys and you for sure would appear on my Top 10 list of VGM composers. Please don’t be disappointed with me.



All that’s left is to prompt you to guess tomorrow’s #1 pick! Tomorrow’s Top 7 list will be my 7 favorite developers!

So let me know who you think my #1 top favorite video game developer is in the comments below TODAY! Remember to leave your name or username so I know who you are! Link to your Twitter or blog if you want to. Follow the event on Twitter with #TWRM7top7.

I’ll reveal my Top 7 favorite developers in a post on this site tomorrow (Friday), so come back and discover the truth! OR you can poke around the site and see if you can pick up any clues… or review the rules.

Good luck and happy gold-digging!


Did you enjoy this post? Consider becoming a Warrior of Light and join us in restoring integrity and quality to games writing. We specialize in long-form, analytical reviews and we aim to expand into a community of authors with paid contributors, a fairer and happier alternative to mainstream games writing! See our Patreon page for more info!becomeapatronbanner

40 replies »

  1. If Nobuo Uematsu wasn’t number 1 I was legit going to unfollow :p The last Distant World’s concert I was at he was there and he did this adorable little dance when they did One Winged Angel as an encore. There was an option to meet and greet, but I’m incredibly shy especially when it comes to, you know, THE PERSON WHO WROTE THE SOUNDTRACK TO MY FAVORITE THING EVER, so I passed on that. Koji Kondo is a VERY close second because I love the Zelda OSTs.

    My favorite Cuphead song (well…of what I’ve heard) is Inkwell Isle 1(?). I’m a huge fan of ragtime and that game is a goldmine for it!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I hope you’re going by CURRENT names of developers. Because distinguising between Squaresoft and Square-Enix is bleh.

    That said, my guess is Square-Enix.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. NOOOOO… My answer was fourth on the list… 😔. I should have trusted my instincts! Peppy would be very disappointed with me…

    Oh well, I won’t make that mistake this time, I’m gonna go with my gut and say…

    Nintendo. Final answer.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I bet Nintendo and Square are somewhere on your list, for sure. But your number one?
    Strangly, when I read the question, the first answer that came to mind was Sega.
    I’m a very intuitive person, so I go with….

    Not Square Enix, Squaresoft.
    I think I remember me mentioning on Twitter, that Squaresoft was better then Square Enix, and that you agreed to me.
    I might remember it wrong, but I go with it.
    My answer is Squaresoft.

    (Twitter: @Bukyoku_AlSara )

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Man, this is hard. Torn between Square Enix and Nintendo, but I think the latter with recent hits like Zelda: BOTW and Super Mario Odyssey versus Square Enix’s slowing down of releasing FFs/DQs will eke out the win.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Video game music is awesome! My favourites have got to be Akira Yamaoka for his Silent Hill 2 soundtrack, Michiru Yamane for Skullgirls (but she also did the music for Castlevania) and Jeremy Soule for Guild Wars 2.

    My boyfriend bought me the Hakuoki Soundtrack for my birthday so I’m listening to that a lot at the moment, and the BBTAG soundtrack is also in my playlist. I’m sure there are many more composers who’s music deserves a mention here, but those are the main ones I that stand out to me right now.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Uematsu recently quit on a project due to “health concerns”. Really hoping this doesn’t end badly for him, but he’s an older guy now. He’s easily my favorite game composer and, really, one of my most favorite composers ever! Shinmomura and Mitsuda are both close seconds, though, but I dont think I could rank them both as anything less than #2. Michiru Yamane is another, but the only thing I really know her for is Castlevania games, though it looks like she also did some work on Smash.

    Good post!

    Liked by 1 person

Kindly leave a civil and decent comment like a good human being

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s