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OSVOSTOTY 2017: Brenna’s Picks

December 29, 2017 | | Comment? Share thison Facebook OSVOSTOTY 2017: Brenna’s Pickson Twitter

It’s that time of year again, where we recollect on all of the things we saw, listened to or experienced in the past 365 days. The year 2017 had a ridiculous amount of good game releases and an equally good amount of good game soundtracks. As with our previous year-end wrap-ups, we’ll be going through our top picks for game soundtracks and game arrangement albums for 2017 and highlighting what we thought stood out the most among what we managed to get our hands on. I personally didn’t get to play through a ton of games this year (Sorry, NieR Automata and Super Mario Odyssey won’t be on my list), but I’ll list what I thought stood out from what I did play.

Without further ado;

Game Soundtrack of the Year

  • Sonic Mania –  Tee Lopes

Sonic Mania was the answered prayer to the fans of Sonic the Hedgehog since Sonic Generations, and moreso. The 2D classic-style Sonic game was a throwback to the original game style of the early games, while introducing fresh ideas that seemed both new and old at the same time. Tee Lopes was in charge of crafting the Sonic Mania soundtrack which featured a mix of tunes from previous Sonic games, both as near-straight covers and arrangements, as well as brand new original music. While the arrangements of previous tunes was done well, Lopes kept the feel of upbeat oldschool Sonic music alive in his new compositions as well. Tunes like “Lights, Camera, Action!” from Studiopolis Zone and “Skyway Octane” from Mirage Saloon Zone fit with the rest, despite having a noticeably updated range of instrumentation such as more pronounced guitars to make the tunes pop. My personal favorite, “Built to Rule” from Act 1 of Titanic Monarch Zone really evoked feelings of “Scrap Brain Zone” and “Death Egg Zone” from Sonic 1 and Sonic & Knuckles respectively, which is exactly what I was hoping for.

Runner Up

  • Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment – Jake Kaufman

Technically, it could be argued that Specter of Torment is more of an arrangement album than its own soundtrack, but given the large changes made to both the gameplay of the Shovel Knight DLC as well as to it music, I think it qualifies as its own thing. Jake Kaufman did a magnificent job of taking almost an entire soundtrack he’d already composed, and re-composing it to fit with the new protagonist and arranged environments; something that wasn’t done to nearly such a degree in the previous Plague of Shadows DLC.

Nearly all of the music is reminiscent of the original game’s, but with new unique twists that put a darker, tragic tone to the music and make them their own thing. I really enjoyed the soundtrack for Specter of Torment, maybe even more than the original Shovel Knight OST, with favorite tunes being re-imagined and shaped in new ways. Kudos to Kaufman for being able to deconstruct his own work and remake it into something both old and new.

Honorable Mention

Resident Evil 7: “Theme Song – Michael A. Levine & Jordan Reyne

I have to give some props to Michael Levine’s entry into the Resident Evil 7 soundtrack for his twisted take on the old nursery rhyme “Go Tell Aunt Rhody”. Something about listening to that tune hummed through the game in a child’s manner, then completely brought out at the credits was menacing and delightful at the same time, which is appropriate for this new entry into my favorite survival horror franchise.

Arrangement Album of the Year

  • Resurrection of the Night (Castlevania: Symphony of the Night) – Wayne Strange & Tim Stoney

This one should be pretty self-explanatory for me, being the Castlevania fan that I am. Musicians Wayne Strange and Tim Stoney did a commendable job of taking the tracks of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night and giving them the appropriate symphony treatment for the game’s 20th anniversary. While I can’t say I loved every single arrangement on the album (“Tragic Prince” is and will forever be a very hard track to cover properly), the album does right by most of the music from the game and pays tribute to Michiru Yamane’s most well-known game composition.

I look forward to what we’ll see for the album’s follow-up, Alucard’s Elegy, since it reached its funding goal. Maybe it will be my Best Arrangement Album of 2018?

Runner Up


Who knew that playing video game music backwards and then forwards again would be so enjoyable? Well, Grant “Stemage” Henry must have, because he did just that and it was delightful. (As only he can pull off.) Classic tunes from Super Mario & Ghosts n’ Goblins among others are transposed completely backwards and played to form entirely new tunes that still have flavors of their origins mixed within them. The result is a game arrangement album that isn’t really an arrangement album but is, and it just works because Stemage.

So that’s my list for 2017. I say this every year, but hopefully I have a more time to play through new games this upcoming year (HAH!) and have a more diverse assortment to pick from. Either way, I still enjoyed this year’s crop and look forward to the next 365 days of game music.

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