As technology has evolved, so too the options available to composers have expanded. Modern games can boast any kind of soundtrack to suit their theme, from the soaring strings of Skyrim to the jazzy big band bombast of Super Mario Odyssey to the amazing variety of tunes found on casino sites like Casumo.
Of course, electro has also had a huge influence over gaming in the past-half century, so if you are looking to play something with a synth-drenched soundtrack, here are a few of the best options around.
Released back in 2008, Mirror’s Edge was a boundary-pushing game that focused on free-running and movement rather than combat.
With a story set in a curiously pristine near-future city in which a group of underground parkour enthusiasts ply their trade on perfectly-maintained rooftops, it made total sense for the developers to choose an electro soundtrack to amplify its most intense moments.
Much of the composition work was handled by Swedish electro stalwart Solar Fields, and the results are suitably pulse-pounding, as well as having their calmer, more ambient periods.
The 2016 sequel Mirror’s Edge Catalyst has a similarly impressive soundscape, once again put together by the same artist. It is also a great idea to check out the Chvrches song “Warning Call”, which was the official theme for the whole game and is a slice of electro-pop perfection.
Like the game itself, the soundtrack to top-down shooter Hotline Miami is dripping with 80s charm and evokes that neon-soaked decade incredibly effectively.
The lazy synths of certain tracks are juxtaposed jarringly against the more eclectic and discordant elements of the soundtrack throughout, reflecting the fact that this game as a whole is a bit of an oddball and does not want to conform to any preconceived notions the player might have.
Rather than being created by a single composer, Hotline Miami was scored by a number of different artists including MOON and Jasper Byrne. This helps to add to the overall eccentricity, yet it all comes together to leave a lasting impression long after the final bullet has been fired.
You may not have heard of this retro-inspired puzzle-platformer, but before you dive in beware that it is punishingly difficult and very much aimed at an audience who is happy to take a trial and error approach to overcome challenges, often only attaining victory after tens if not hundreds of deaths.
Thankfully the stunning electro soundtrack that accompanies the unusually named VVVVVV is enough to keep you going, providing a mixture of polyphonic melodies, pounding drums, and soaring synths.
Composed predominantly by Magnus Palsson, a major force on the chiptune scene, the music mirrors the game in being a love letter to a bygone era.
While a lot of the soundtracks mentioned so far can be divided neatly into tracks that can be enjoyed in isolation, a lot of Portal’s music is entirely contextual and is difficult to appreciate when stripped out of the game itself. Even so, it deserves a place on this list because of just how well the ambience is enhanced through the use of electro.
Like the game itself, the soundtrack starts out subtly and gradually amps up over the course of the relatively short single player campaign, climaxing in a terror-inducing tune to accompany the final boss battle, before easing off with an end-credits song that is the mother of all memes.