Top 30 Review / Download Soundtracks
By Bucky Wednesday, 1 Jul 2009

Yesterday we wrapped up our Top 30 NES soundtracks, as voted and ranked on by members of the shizz message

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board. As a quick follow-up, I’d like to offer a quick review of the list itself, and a link to download and enjoy all of the complete soundtracks in their entirety.

One thing I’d like to mention is that our list isn’t an attempt to be definitive. Any poll that is based on opinion is, of course, open to subjective opinions and arbitrary decisions. I do think the list has some aspects that serve both as strengths and weaknesses, which I would like to quickly highlight.

Strength: A fairly small, but not too small, number of voters.

-Only 44 people voted on this list. The more people you have voting, the more popular soundtracks are going to place simply for people sharing a wider, common knowledge of them. I think an appropriate top list would have a balance of nostalgia with esoteric picks based on a more modern chiptune perspective, the latter of which would be less likely to have any presence in a top list as the number of voters increases.

Weakness: Only one community was polled.

-I can’t think of a better community to ask for their favorite NES soundtracks than the shizz, having both dedicated video game nostalgics and chiptune connoisseurs alike. However, would the results be different if this was polled on gamefaqs? Or what about nesdev, 2a03.org, or the 8bitcollective? I’m confident that different communities would yield a different top list, possibly drastically so.

Strength and Weakness: A lack of some very classic NES titles with widely known music.

-While Gimmick! and Rollergames make the list, Mike Tyson’s Punchout and Super Mario Bros. are nowhere to be seen. To expand upon a point made by voter/ reader Ken Oh, some of us would likely come up with very different lists if we were to try and rank the most influential NES soundtracks vs. thirty we’d prefer to have available if we were stuck on an island with nothing else to listen to. However, voting with a certain mindset was no less valid than another. Missing some classic titles while including some lesser known ones can either be considered a negative or a positive trait of this list, depending on how you look at it.

And, finally, I would like to name-drop some some things that aren’t represented here. Some of my favorite video game composers to have worked with the NES aren’t present on the list. It’s at no fault to the voters, some of this stuff is just lesser-known. There’s Neil Baldwin for Magician, HeroQuest, Alberto Gonzalez for Smurfs, Asterix, Jeroen Tel for Overlord, and Rob Hubbard for The Immortal, and Skate or Die 1 & 2. Their absence is one aspect of this feature that would have me encourage any readers into chiptune or video game music to always dive beneath the surface and not trust any top list too literally.

Okay, with all that being covered, I hope you enjoyed this list as much as I enjoyed putting everything together. It was a fun project and made my month of June fly by. Thanks to the shizz for participating and good-evil for hosting. You can download all of the soundtracks here-

TOP 30 NES Soundtracks

The zip is less than 2mb in size as these soundtracks are in nsf and nsfe format. If you’re not sure what that is or how to listen to such files, don’t worry! I’ve included a text file that tells you where to find a variety of simple and easy to use nsf players.

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