#15. Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter – Menu Theme
The Xbox 360 marked a major change in my gaming focus. Though I’d certainly played quite a bit of Halo, I had primarily been a single-player gamer up until this point. Yet I’d become part of a gaming community now — the Fragdolls Dollhouse — and whatever they were playing, I wanted to be playing. And so, somehow, I managed to get an Xbox 360 very soon after launch, and a copy of GRAW besides, and that was that. I was a multiplayer gamer. Over endless stretches of night we’d play and chat and play again, and between bullets, this song played on.
#16. Halo 3 – One Final Effort
I got pretty good at GRAW from playing with people who were much better, but I never really got used to the third-person thing. When Halo 3 hit (just as college came on the horizon), I stepped back into the Chief’s boots and felt right at home. The most somber of the trilogy (of course, ODST has somber in spades), Halo 3 was fun primarily because of how smooth it was. Not much had changed over the three interceding years, but that was a good thing (a thing that would be missed come Reach). Rather than building new parts, Bungie had simply spent its time oiling its flagship machine. One Final Effort is a musical echo of the game: the hallmark sound of Halo, bringing new life to the original without sounding like just another rehash.
#17. Portal – Still Alive (spoiler alert: do not listen if you have not played)
When I heard about The Orange Box, I knew I had to buy it. I’d watched a friend play through all of Half Life a couple years prior, and knew it was high time I got around to playing HL2. I didn’t really care about the other stuff, but five games for the price of one was too good to pass up. Well, I’ve still never played Half-Life 2. And after a few really awful rounds of TF2, I haven’t played much of that either.
But Portal. You can’t explain Portal to someone who hasn’t played it, and anyone who has played it already knows. A brilliant puzzle game with some of the best, blackest humor ever, all paced perfectly. The only thing better than playing Portal is introducing other people to it, and reliving the brief, wonderful experience all over again. Without Still Alive, Portal would have been a great game. With it…dare I say? Perfect.
#18. The World Ends With You – Calling
Over the years I’d become quite the Square fanboy, and the visual style of TWEWY grabbed my attention. In hindsight, I don’t think I was prepared for the intricacies of gameplay (particularly the fashion district stuff). I also wasn’t prepared for the soundtrack, but that turned out to be a good thing, a very good thing. If you ask anyone who’s played TWEWY about TWEWY, they’re probably going to bring up the music. They might talk about brand awareness, and mysterious countdown timers, and betrayals and whatnot, but inevitably they will have to talk about the music.
Oh, and they just re-released TWEWY for iOS. Hint hint.