When a great video game has a memorable soundtrack, the music sticks with you like none other. As a life-long gamer, I have fallen in love with many video game soundtracks over the years. Below are three 2000s video game soundtracks I consider the best:
1. Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life
Released in 2004, Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life is a farm-simulation role-playing game whose franchise has spanned over twenty years. Fans of the series will know the game’s main goals like the back of their hand. You are passed down a farm in a small-town from your deceased father. After handling the day to day responsibilities of the farm, you explore the town around you, befriend its citizens, and hopefully, start a family.
The soundtrack mirrors the series’ loving embrace of the simple life. Like Pam (a.k.a Jenna Fischer) said at the end of The Office, “There’s a lot of beauty in ordinary things. Isn’t that kind of the point?“
Japanese composer Hiroshi Nakajima produces the Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life soundtrack. He is known for composing many Final Fantasy games such as II, III, and V Advance.
Whether upbeat or slow, each song is satisfying to listen to while milking your cows or riding your horse through Forget-Me-Not Valley. Before you know it, its soundtrack will whisk you away for hours at a time. Soon enough, you will be hours deep into this game and clamoring over what to name your new chicken.
2. The Urbz: Sims in the City
When faced with the sheer number of Sims-related games released over the years, it completely boggles my mind that there was never a sequel to The Urbz: Sims in the City.
The Urbz: Sims in the City, released in 2004, is what happens if you take a typical Sims game and sprinkle some Lawry’s on it. In a 2004 Gamespot article, The Urbz is referred to as “The Sims’ hip cousin”. The 2004 game is set in a city run by cliques. Each clique is differentiated by their style and social demeanor. You spend the game emulating different cliques and finessing the entire town until you are the most popular person in the city.
The game’s affiliation with the Black Eyed Peas was one of the game’s main selling points at launch. According to the previously mentioned Gamespot article, the Black Eyed Peas produced The Urbz’ official soundtrack and re-recorded nine tracks of their 2005 album Monkey Business for The Urbz‘ soundtrack.
From Missy Elliot’s “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)” to Lil Nas X’s “Panini”, hip hop has always had a fascination with the futuristic. The Black Eyed Peas is no different, which is directly present in the Urbz soundtrack. A decade later, the soundtrack doesn’t sound dated. Even though the soundtrack is almost completely in Simlish, each song is catchy enough to have you singing along like it’s in English.
The Urbz had the potential to be a long-standing series, especially if it kept connecting with new artists with every new reiteration.
For example, Migos would have worked perfectly on a 2020 version of The Urbz: Sims in the City. They already sound like they are speaking in Simlish, so it would have been a slam dunk.
3. Kingdom Hearts
The soundtrack for Kingdom Hearts is one of the top two video game soundtracks of all time and it is not number two.
The Kingdom Hearts soundtrack knows how to capture raw emotion. Whenever I hear the series’ unofficial theme-song, Japanese-American singer Utada Hikaru’s “Hikari” (also known as “Simple and Clean” in the United States), I feel the same sadness I felt watching the first game’s ending sequence.
The legendary Yoko Shimomura composed the Kingdom Hearts soundtrack. You may recognize his music from many Square Enix games including Final Fantasy XV, Heroes of Mana, and Front Mission. Depending on the scene, KH’s soundtrack could add tension or tugs at the heartstrings.
The soundtrack immerses me into the Kingdom Hearts universe. If I hear a KH track, I’m ready to drop whatever I’m doing and save the world with my pals Sora, Donald, and Goofy.