George Hysteric’s Strange Selections: Music for Video Gaming

Every month, George Hysteric takes time away from running the “strange music from beyond” Facebook group to create a playlist for SSFB from the group’s extensive music library. This edition is all about music used for video games.

This was a popular topic in the group; it was interesting to read the variety of different video game soundtracks that people identified with. The starting point for me was this astonishing reggae version of the familiar Ghouls ’n Ghosts theme, destined to be lost on a port for the unfortunately short-lived Sega Saturn.

Video games are often so strongly associated with a particular time in our life that just hearing the music from them can bring on strong feelings of nostalgia. The games I remember most fondly from my youth are the ones that had (in my opinion) the best music and which I have enjoyed hunting down on Youtube to listen to 20+ years later.

Although Video Game Music (or VGM) has long been regarded as a serious musical genre in Japan, it’s not till recently that it began to enjoy wider popularity in Western culture (and beyond). Nowadays there are labels such as Data Discs pressing previously unreleased Video game soundtracks on vinyl, something I never would have thought possible even five years ago.

Note: this subject is so vast and of course highly subjective; the seven tracks listed here are barely scratching the surface and further research is strongly recommended!


Ghouls ’n Ghosts (Stage 1) – Reggae Arrangement (Sega Saturn)

Ecco the Dolphin – Full Original Soundtrack OST (Genesis)

Castle Theme – Super Mario World (N64)

Mario Paint OST – Special Stamp (SNES)

Wolverine: Adamantium Rage (SNES)

Altered Beast Soundtrack – Gaum Hermer (Genesis)

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night – Crystal Teardrops

Also check out this mix dedicated to SEGA video game music by Cris Kuhlen aka Dazion.