The Classical California Ultimate Playlist Goes to the Arcade!

Need a dash of inspiration to help you vote for this year Classical California Ultimate Playlist? Last year, so many of you let us know that you love video game music as much as symphonies and operas! Three video games made it to 2021 so let’s hear a little more about them, as well as the games that almost made the cut.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim “Dragonborn Theme” by Jeremy Soule

Since 1994, players have explored the medieval world of Tamriel The Elder Scrolls game series. In 2011, we were introduced to the hilly, vast region of Skyrim – a land crawling with ghosts, monstrous insects, and dragons. Jeremy Soule’s epic score for the game instantly makes you feel like a hero as you learn to communicate and fight dragons.

Final Fantasy Series by Nobuo Uematsu

With more than 15 major entries in Final Fantasy franchise, Nobuo Uematsu’s melodies are instantly recognizable. He is perhaps the longest-serving video game music composer on the Classical California Ultimate Playlist, beginning with his tenure on the series in 1987. Since then, he has developed the musical framework upon which his successors have continued to work.

The Legend of Zelda Series by Koji Kondo

It’s a melody we first heard through an 8-bit synthesizer when we turned on our Nintendo Entertainment Systems, and a melody that still drives us to embark on an epic quest across the land of Hyrule. You play as Link, a young adventurer who must collect the pieces of the Triforce and rescue Princess Zelda from Gannon. Like music from Super Mario Brothers and Tetrisit is probably one of the most iconic musical themes in video games.

But that’s not all! There are a few that just missed the list this year or were listed last year including…

Detroit: Become Human “Hopeful/Opening Credits” by David Cage

In 2018, developer Quantic Dream took us to a near-future version of this country, where androids have replaced humans in most blue-collar jobs. One day the androids become self-aware and start fighting for their freedom. It’s a story shaped by your choices, and the music follows you on that journey. The score combines the talents of three composers, but it’s the opening title music from game creator David Cage that immediately draws you in as you follow the android Kara through the city streets of 2038 Detroit.

Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture by Jessica Curry

You explore a deserted town in the English Countryside, piecing together what happened to the inhabitants through puzzles, journals, and ghostly flashbacks. It’s a peaceful, melancholy experience elevated by Jessica Curry’s atmospheric vocal and orchestral score.

Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune “Nate’s Theme” by Greg Edmonson

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to explore remote jungle ruins, venture into caves, and unlock the secrets of forbidden tombs? The Not on the map The series lets you do exactly that when you become Nathan Drake. The series takes viewers on world adventures and pits you against some of the most fearsome foes. Greg Edmonson’s score captures Nate’s heroics – and we look forward to hearing how it’s adapted for the film version of Not on the map coming next year!

Fallout 4 “Main Title” by Inon Zur

like Not on the map, Fallout is about to head to more screens while a television version of it is in development. Set in an alternate timeline, Fallout is a series of story-driven games where you explore the war-torn regions of the United States and if you choose, try to make things better. Inon Zur keeps his score as moody and sparse as the scenery around you. In our interview, he revealed that he makes improvised instruments out of things you can find Fallout’s wasteland

ActRaiser by Yuzo Koshiro

ActRaiser first came to homes in 1990 on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and was an experiment on many levels, taking elements from other video games and seeing if they could work together. As the player, you create a world and then fight evil forces that would destroy it. Yuzo Koshiro’s high energy score was an integral part of the game and is still a favorite to this day.

Is there a video game musical score you want to hear on the station? Make a request!

Jennifer Miller

Jennifer Miller Hammel

Jennifer Miller Hammel hosts the KUSC Morning Show, weekdays 6AM-9AM, and The Opera Show, Sundays at 9PM.