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Our favorite game music of 2012 – Volume 1

This would make more sense if there were some airplanes.

It may already be February, but 2012 lives on thanks to my iPod filled with last year’s best game soundtracks. Put on some headphones and listen to a quick sampling of ten of my favorites below.

“Rocket Zero” – Rhythm Heaven Fever by Tsunku

Rhythm Heaven‘s extensive soundtrack features tons of styles and variety, making it tough to narrow it down to one favorite. One song never fails to put a grin on my face, though: the inspirational march of “Rocket Zero,” one of the only songs I’ve heard to prominently feature bowling pins.

“Dark Pit’s Theme” – Kid Icarus: Uprising by Motoi Sakuraba/Yasunori Mitsuda

Uprising‘s soundtrack boasts an all-star cast of composers, the likes of which hasn’t been seen since Super Smash Bros. Brawl. (Which also happened to be developed by the Sora team… hmm.) The standout, though, is the Spanish guitar theme that accompanies your nemesis, Dark Pit.

“Emmett’s Theme” – Starhawk by Christopher Lennertz

Christopher Lennertz makes Starhawk‘s futuristic battles sound sophisticated and still dangerous and frontier-sy by combining Warhawk‘s orchestral flair with some twangy electric guitar.

“Civil (Explore)” – FTL: Faster Than Light by Ben Prunty

If you ask me, the three-chord motif in the middle of this track is the most worthy of being considered FTL‘s main theme. It’s clean, minimal, and—with a little imagination—wouldn’t sound out of place over the intercom of some Hollywood starship.

“Main Plaza” – Nintendo Land by Hajime Wakai/Ryo Nagamatsu

Nintendo Land contains a huge assortment of classic Nintendo remixes, but it’s the main plaza theme that steals the show (and sticks in your head hours after you’ve put down the gamepad).

“Miami Disco” – Hotline Miami by Perturbator

If most of Hotline Miami‘s soundtrack feels like an uncomfortable drug trip, “Miami Disco” is like a splash of cold water on the face. (Then you go immediately back to mass murdering, but at least now you’re lucid.)

“Neon Jungle” – Double Dragon Neon by Jake Kaufman

The best part of Double Dragon Neon‘s 80s throwback is how deftly it toes the line between irony and authenticity. I love this song because it knows how cheesy it is… or does it?

Tokyo Jungle soundtrack by TaQ

If the sight of feral pomeranians rampaging through post-apocalyptic Tokyo wasn’t insane enough already, how about some house music? Somehow it’s just crazy enough to work.

“Her Reputation Precedes Her” – Crimson Shroud by Hitoshi Sakimoto

In Yasumi Matsuno’s latest, it feels like you’re either fighting a minotaur or taking a moment to reminisce. This song captures the spirit of the latter superbly. (If you’d prefer the former, try this.)

Did you end up with any of these stuck in your head last year? Let us know your favorite 2012 game music in the comments, and check back for Paul’s selections later this week!