You might be familiar with all sorts of musical genres, but have you ever explored video game music? Music from video games is a genre all of its own, and you don’t even have to play video games to enjoy it.
So, whether you want to dip your toe into video game soundtracks for the first time or you’re an avid gamer looking to relive your favorites, here are some awesome YouTube channels to listen to video game music.
Finding high-quality game music on YouTube can be difficult, especially for older games. You don’t want to waste time listening to tracks that sound like they come from a tape player. That’s where GilvaSunner comes in; it’s a channel full of high-quality game rips, mostly of Nintendo music.
Below is the main Athletic Theme from the beloved SNES platformer Super Mario World. It’s just one of thousands of videos on the channel from your favorite childhood Nintendo games. Remember that you can right-click and choose Loop if you want to listen to the track on repeat.
Be warned, however, that there’s a longtime parody channel of GilvaSunner titled SilvaGunner. That channel uploads bait-and-switch videos that turn game tracks into jokes, memes, or similar. Keep a close eye on the channel name.
SupraDarky is on a quest to collect the world’s best video game music all in one place. The channel started in 2007 because the owner “was frustrated at the lack of video game music on YouTube.” It now features a giant collection of excellent video game music tracks.
While it occasionally uploads other videos, like low-pitched game music, the meat of the channel is the Best VGM series. At the time of writing, SupraDarky is up to 2,259 “best of” videos.
The below track comes from indie title The Messenger. This game’s gimmick is that it starts out as an 8-bit Ninja Gaiden-style action platformer, but switches to a 16-bit Metroidvania partway through. Thus, each track in the game’s soundtrack has an 8-bit and 16-bit version.
Another indie title from 2018, the masterpiece Celeste has a retro-inspired soundtrack to match its look. Various artists remixed each of the game’s main themes for the more difficult B-side levels, so take a listen to those too if you like what you hear.
This channel, named after the man in green, is a great one to check out if you don’t want to pick out your own music to listen to, as it holds many compilations. Luigi’s channel gained popularity after it uploaded a mix of relaxing and calming Nintendo music. Since then, it’s released many more mixes.
Some of these are from certain games, like a mix of route music from Pokémon. Others are built around a theme, such as tropical/beach music from various games. These mixes are all excellent and offer a great way to listen to the highlights from a super-long soundtrack or set a mood.
Luigi’s original mix, below, collects tracks for studying or just calming down at the end of the day. Spin it up, put on some headphones, and forget about the world around you.
If you’re in the mood for something a bit more focused, you must experience this best-of mix from the Donkey Kong Country trilogy. It’s amazing what composers David Wise and Eveline Fischer squeezed onto SNES cartridges.
Despite the slightly strange name, F4m1LyGuy10’s YouTube channel is another great place to find loads of game music. Recently it’s started uploading compilations, such as all the boss themes from Super Meat Boy. But the bread and butter of this channel is single tracks and full OSTs for all sorts of games.
It’s not limited to just Nintendo, so give it a look if you like the idea of GilvaSunner but want more variety. We’ve looked at the best game soundtracks for studying if you need somewhere to start.
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is one of the most beloved games from the original PlayStation. It transformed the Castlevania series and helped popularize the Metroidvania genre, and had a rocking soundtrack to boot. It fits the creepy atmosphere of the game perfectly.
A Hat in Time is a love letter to collect-a-thon platformers that comes complete with a charming OST. This compilation of themes from the game’s rifts (special areas of platforming challenges) is a chill mix.
If you grow bored with all the official video game music on YouTube, don’t worry. You can find plenty of remixes, too. The best-known source for video game music remixes is OverClocked ReMix (OCR), a self-described “organization dedicated to the appreciation and promotion of video game music as an art form.”
It has thousands of original mixes, so you’re bound to find a favorite track interpreted in an all-new way.
Sonic CD is notable for having two separate soundtracks: one for the U.S. version of the game; the other in Japan and Europe. The Japanese soundtrack is often considered the superior version, and this remix offers a chill take on the Tidal Tempest stage.
Sometimes, remixes take a direction you’d never expect. That’s the case for this remix of a Contra III track. While Contra is an intense run-and-gun series, this jazzy tune sounds like it would fit in an old-time gangster movie.
If these remixes inspire you, check out these music genres all gamers should love.
Other Ways to Listen to Video Game Music
Video game music has so much to offer. You could spend days listening to your favorite tracks, picking up on details that you didn’t notice while playing. Or you might discover a great soundtrack that leads you to try a new game. Even those who don’t care about video games should enjoy at least a handful of tracks.
The good news is that video game music is available in more places than just YouTube. Check out the best video game music radio stations for lots more.