TSA Game Of The Year 2014: Soundtrack

Bar the one or two exceptions that tend to crop up every now and then, all video games have a soundtrack. In essence, their use of ambient noise and music help to deliver another layer of artistry. One which helps to evoke an array of emotions, heightening the player’s sense of immersion while also helping to galvanise key narrative set pieces.

Like visual art styles, soundtracks are heavily diversified, ranging from grand, sweeping orchestral scores to the enduring chiptune synth. Although some big budget titles have the advantage of better overall production quality, there are plenty of smaller indies that achieve the same level of immersion through simple creativity using audio.

Listen to any video game soundtrack and you’re bound to pick out a handful of tunes that stand-out and begin to loop in your mind. There are those select few, however, that manage to be consistent from start to finish, their catchy melodies haunting your every involuntary hum and whistle.

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Mario Kart 8’s soundtrack is a prime example, leading our poll with 24.3% of the total vote. Unlike some categories, it wasn’t a complete runaway, however. Showing our penchant for the more poignant and original musical accompaniment, Velocity 2X and Transistor were right on its heels with 24.1% and 21.9% respectively. Never Alone even managed to rank in our shortlist of finalists, coming fourth with 6%.

As touched on before, consistency is the ultimate deciding factor. That, of course, and Nintendo’s enviable talent to bless everything it creates with such irresistible charm. From the selection menus down to each individual race track, Mario Kart 8 masterfully pairs old and new to create a real treat for the ears.

It’s easy to see why Velocity 2X and Transistor were so close behind. Joris de Man & James Marsden’s score for Velocity is tonally on-point from start to finish, imbuing the on-screen action with an appropriate sense of urgency and tempo. Similar things can be said of Danny Korb who, after delivering a grand performance with Bastion, did the same again for Supergiant’s latest downloadable masterpiece.

Mario Kart 8 is TheSixthAxis’ Game Soundtrack of the Year 2014.

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9 Comments

  1. Well deserved for Velocity and Transistor, fantastic soundtracks. Not really heard any of the other games yet, but seems it has been a very good year for video game soundtracks which can only be a good thing!
    Hopefully 2015 will be just as good or better!

  2. But… Where is Child of Light…

    • Child of Light had a lovely soundtrack! In fact everything about that game was lovely. I still think Transistor should be top though.

    • I don’t think Child of Light was one of the selectable options. I think I had to choose ‘other’ and enter it manually. Maybe that had something to do with it?

      • That makes me sad, Child of Light had one of the best original game soundtracks of all time. Yet Mario Kart wins and it doesn’t even get listed. Sad indeed.

  3. Little disappointing that Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 isn’t at least a nominee :\

    I actually extracted the audio files from MGS:GZ(considering there is no official release yet) and while it’s a good listen(I love how well “Here’s To You” is incorporated) it still lacks melody or substance to remember it by as compared to previous Metal Gear installments.

    Mario Kart 8 is a good choice but if it were between MK8 and SSB Wii U, it seems odd that MK8 would be chosen over SSB considering it actually includes a number of tracks from MK8 and has over 400 songs in total, including some fantastic remixes I might add. But I’m sure most people didn’t have the chance to listen through all of the tracks to give an honest opinion, it took me a good week to get through all of them after all.

    No Child of Light either?..

    I do have to say, I’m glad to see at least one game site that did not nominate Destiny.. I’ve played through it, I’ve listened through it and other than wanting to give the award to a popular choice–these are the Halo guys after all–It baffles me why it keeps winning OST of the year everywhere.. So, props to you guys for that.

    Here are our picks for Original Score of ’14 https://www.youtube.com/user/OriginalGameScores in case you’re interested.

    • Well, Mario Kart has all original music whereas Smash is mostly a compilation with some new recordings. A damn good one though.

  4. Child of Light/Transistor/Velocity get my vote.

  5. Mario Kart has an incredible soundtrack, so it’s well deserved.

    But I can’t help but feel sorry for Donkey Kong, which is forgotten in these awards due to its early release. It’s easily in the top three soundtracks of the year, and got my vote.

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