20. Junko Tamiya

Little Nemo: Dream Master

19. Akira Yamaoka

Silent Hill

18. Jeremy Soule

Elder Scrolls

17. Martin O'Donnell

Halo

16. Junichi Masuda

Pokemon

15. Michiru Yamane

Castlevania

14. Hiroki Kikuta

Secret of Mana

13. Kow Otani

Shadows of the Colossus

12. Grant Kirkhope

Golden Eye, Banjo Kazooie

11. Manami Matsumae

Mega Man

10. Masato Nakamura

Sonic 1 & 2

9. Kenji Yamamoto

Mike Tyson's Punch Out, Metroid Prime

8. Yuzo Koshiro

Streets of Rage

7. Takenobu Mitsuyoshi

Shenmue

6. Harry Gregson Williams

Metal Gear Solid

5. Yoko Shimomura

Street Fighter II, Super Mario RPG, Legend of Mana

4. Yasunori Mitsuda

Chrono Trigger, Xenogears, Chrono Cross

This is one of the best overworld themes for an RPG ever. I remember when I first heard this song in the game I just set the controller down and enjoyed the game without even playing the game.

I have never played this game but I have listened to the music over and over again. This game has arguably the best music of any video game. Just sit back and let this one take over you. That's what this song does, it takes you over. Just wait until the song hits 2:06. Amazing...

Again, I've never played this game but the music says it all. Yasunori Mitsuda makes some of the best music.

This is my favorite song by Yasunori Mitsuda. As if the whole beginning part with the vocals isn't enough, just wait until the outro kicks in at 3:06. A complete level of its own... you hear the choir vocals? This is pure magic.

3. David Wise

Donkey Kong Country

David Wise is totally underrated when it comes to video game music. The work he did with the Donkey Kong Country series is matched by only a few composers. His music from those games transforms you into the level and sticks with you for years to come. Just listen:

Best David Wise song ever. I know it and every David Wise fan knows it.

I love how it uses the game sound effects in the actual song. In an interview with David Wise I have learned that this was done because only so many sounds could be loaded into the 16 bit SNES games and they did this for hardware limitations. Just amazing atmospheric songs.

And you would think that it would be hard for him to match such masterpieces when he was brought on to do the new music for the new DCK game. And the problem is his new music just isn't any good at all :(

Or is it?

I mean seriously. Talk about the perfect song for a stroll underwater. This song is so relaxing and beautiful.

Classic David Wise. So powerful and uplifting. This is what you call good video game music.

2. Koji Kondo

Mario, Zelda

Koji Kondo has probably the most memorable video game music out there. When you think Mario and Zelda you have to think Koji Kondo. His music is so catchy and so right for video games that he deserves to be one of the all time best video game composers.

Who would have thought that a Gameboy game could have such a badass ending song? I used to love beating this game just so I could enjoy these 2 minutes of pure bliss.

Ocarina of Time had so many good songs and this is probably my favorite from the game. I love how the whole Spanish feel was captured in this song.

Awesome song.

Even though I've never played the Mario Galaxy games I know a good sountrack when I hear one. These songs are so freaking awesome and I would love to immerse myself in these games one day when I have some free time.

And of course, how could you forget this classic? This song is just uplifting and triumphant. It describes the Zelda games perfectly.

1. Nobuo Uematsu

Final Fantasy

There's no question that Nobuo Uematsu is the best video game composer to me. He turned video game music into film music. He creates the most touching and breathtaking songs out there. His music has a way of reaching deep inside of you and changing you forever.

So damn good...

I remember how excited I was to get this game after previously completing FFVII. I purchased this game as soon as it was released, I popped it into my Playtation and this opening cinematic experience was just the best thing ever. Nobuo killed it with this song.

Yes!

Beautiful!

Probably the best boss song ever in a video game. It's awesome how you play like 40-50 hours through one of the best games ever to finally reach the 2nd stage of the end boss and this song comes on. Talk about badass.

Amazing!

This is probably my favorite piano melody that Nobuo has ever created. It is simply perfect.

 Filed under: Music, Music, Video Games, Composers

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Quinton Figueroa

Quinton Figueroa

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15 Comments

anson: You have done great job

You have done great job.Thanks

rich saaha: good one

it was very nice one

OliKad: What about Chris Hulsbeck?

What about Chris Hulsbeck? The Turrican series has just an Outstanding soundtrack!
Otherwise, this is a great list!

Justin Henderson: You really know your music...

I just want to tell you that I looked over your list, and I was shocked and surprised at what I found. Up until this point, I was somewhat convinced that very few people really know the who's who of video game composers. You did a fine job with this list. You get extra kudos for mentioning David Wise, Junko Tamiya, and Hiroki Kikuta. On a personal note, I think that Harumi Fujita deserves an honorable mention. She composed music in the early days of Nintendo for Capcom (Mega Man III, Willow). Her compositions were very 8-bit, but very complex, moving, effective, and well put together. If you haven't looked into her work, you should. ;)

Quinton Figueroa: Thank you very much :)
@Justin Henderson (view comment)

Thank you very much :)

I actually went through quite a few articles and lists before writing this and found most of them a bit unbalanced so I decided to order this one the way I see fit. I agree with you completely about Harumi Fujita. On some of the older games, especially from Capcom, it's hard to know exactly who composed what song in the game. With that said, here is an honorable mention to probably my favorite song from all the Mega Man games:

Saskia: top score

I love learning about video game composers & there is an awesome weekly radio program called "Top Score" on MPR (Minnesota Public Radio). Also, for anyone with kids starting band: it's not too hard to find sheet music of some of the popular video game music & if you cant find it, sometimes is just as well because the kid learns to figure out a tune by ear. Makes practicing a bit more fun.

DJ: Good list. Have you ever

Good list. Have you ever heard of Zun or the music from Touhou? I'd definitely go check it out if you like Nobuo Uematsu or David Wise.

Quinton Figueroa: I've never heard of this, but

I've never heard of this, but I am glad you mentioned it! This was a great treat. Some really, really good music here :) Appreciate the share, cheers!

Double Ronald: Great List!

This the best top composer list I've seen on the internet! Or at least the most similar to mine haha

Nobuo is my #1 as well. Such a huge library of spectacular music. He's a huge reason I love the FF series so much. HIs music had such a profound impact on my childhood that I don't know if he could ever be supplanted as my #1.

Shimomura is my #2, outside of what you've mentioned she's also done the entire Kingdom Hearts series which has excellent music and is possibly my second favorite series behind FF, the Mario & Luigi rpg series which is pretty decent, and is one of the primary composers behind Xenoblade Chronicles. She's also currently working on FFXV and Kingdom Hearts 3, I'm sure they will be excellent.

Kondo #3 Again, a huge library of amazing music. Extremely catchy music in general and because of the popularity of the Mario/Zelda series, probably has create the most iconic video game music in existence.

David Wise #4 I agree he's quite underrated in general. It's a shame he doesn't do much anymore and doesn't have quite as large of a portfolio as the others.

The rest isn't too well defined but a lot of my favorites are in there.

I missed out on Xenogears/Xenosagas and Chrono Trigger/Cross as a kid, Already played Chrono Trigger and am planning to play through the rest pretty soon. I expect Mitsuda will shoot up my list, because Chrono Trigger was pretty damn awesome.

A few of my favorites that didn't make your list:

Setsuo Yamamoto: Primary composer behind Megaman X +others

ACE+: This is a group of composers consisting of Tomori Kudo, Hiroyo "CHiCO" Yamanaka, and Kenji Hiramatsu. They're a relatively new group so their portfolio isn't too large, but they, along with Shimomura and Manami Kiyota were the primary composers behind Xenoblade Chronicles. Luckily there is transparency in who did what for Xenoblade and they were responsible for some of the absolute music in that game (and that game is loaded with incredible music, one the best video game OSTs of all time, quite possibly my favorite for a single game).

http://xenoblade.wikia.com/wiki/ACE%2B if you don't already know their work.

The most popular ones in that list are probably You Will Know Out Names, One who Gets in Our way (An Obstacle in our Path), Engage the Enemy (or Confrontation with the Enemy), Gaur Plains, and Mechanical Rhythm, but there is tons of gold in there.

Even though their portfolio isn't that large what they've already done has earned them a place somewhere on my top list, and if they continue putting out music like that they will definitely end up near the top.

Manami Kiyota, the other Xenoblade Composer is created some really great music. Here's her list:

http://xenoblade.wikia.com/wiki/Manami_Kiyota

One other game OST that I really love that's unmentioned here is Mystical Ninja starring Goemon.
There is a ton of catchy music in that game. I have no clue who did what, but the composition is credited to 4 names:

Shigeru Araki
Yusuke Kato
Saiko Miki
Yasumasa Kitagawa

Anyway, definitely a great list. Music is one of the most important aspects of creating an amazing and impactful game, just behind gameplay/story, in my opinion, so it's good to see it appreciate. I feel like graphics are far too heavily emphasized nowadays by most. They're important for sure, but to me music is far more. Check out those others I mentioned if you haven't already, especially ACE+. And might want to check out Shimomura's Kingdom Hearts work if you haven't (which I suspect might be the case since you didn't list it, and imo is her best).

Quinton Figueroa: Good stuff, appreciate the
@Double Ronald (view comment)

Good stuff, appreciate the comment. It's interesting you mention Xenoblade Chronicles. I came across this song recently and fell in love with it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NlAy2WzNepU.

There's just so much video game music out there, especially these days, it's hard to keep up. I used to play video games all day, now I listen to them all day :)

Double Ronald: That is a beautiful piece,

That is a beautiful piece, one of my favorites. Having played the game I associate it with quite a few of the more emotional scenes. Xenoblade Chronicles is the gold standard at using its music to enhance the scene, in my opinion.

That particular song is attributed to ACE+ as well, it is the one called Thoughts Enshrined in the list I linked.

Pablo Galdino: Great job doing this list. I

Great job doing this list. I got very happy to know that we agree that Nobuo and Koji are the best composers.

Diego Pino: Congrats on the list. I like

Congrats on the list. I like to see what other people feel passionate about. I spotted a few "inaccuracies" you may like to amend.

Super Mario Land music was composed by Chip Tanaka, not Koji Kondo. If you click in the YouTube link of the video you posted (the one with the ending) you will see that. Also a lookup in Wikipedia confirms Tanaka was the composer of Super Marioland for Gameboy.

Shemue's soundtrack was composed by Takenobu Mitsuyoshi & many others (Yuzo Koshiro, Ryuji Iuchi, Takeshi Yanagawa and Osamu Murata, to name the main ones). Mitsuyochi actually was the music director of the sound team and didn't contribute with many compositions. You can check out the tracks names and their composers here: http://shenmue.neoseeker.com/wiki/Shenmue_Original_Soundtrack_-_Chapter_... On the other hand, he indeed composed Shenmue's main theme, probably the most recognizable theme of Shemue.

Anonymous: Shoji Meguro

Shoji Meguro

adam tompkins: your forgot one of the best

where the hell is Jesper Kyd? he has done soooo many scores in video games history, unforgettable hitman series, and yet is not mentioned in this list? what the hell are you thinking editor of this post? you leave out one of the best composers out there.

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