In one sense, video game music is closely related to the classical composition of film soundtracks, opera, and ballet – musical scores created to accompany and complement a story that is being told by other means.

Video game music often follows in this tradition. There are musical melodies for characters, for places, even for themes, that mirror what is referred to as the leitmotif in opera, ballet or film scores. But for all its similarities, video game music has always been a different beast. The music does more than just accompany images and narratives, it reacts to the action too.

This is because players don’t just watch when it comes to video games. They also perform actions – they press buttons, they move characters, they make decisions. In turn, video games respond by acting on the player – displaying choices, providing rewards and taking them away. Music must exist as part of this delicate system.

Music is like a dream

Tons of tracks with great music released this year, tunes that support and elevate the feeling you get from a flawless platforming performance or the adrenaline rush from emptying a room of supernatural cultists. The best game music sets the mood and helps your imagination fill in the blanks where simple graphics or a necessary ocean of UI cannot. We’ll never have time to play or hear everything, but out of 2019’s innumerable glut of great games, here are the soundtracks that stuck with us.

We’ve also asked a few friends to help out with our choices, and some you might recognize as composers our our personal favorite soundtracks of the year. Because who knows music better than the musicians that make it? 

Read and listen below, and if you hear something you like consider heading to the linked composer pages and picking up a soundtrack or two. And if we’re missing something, be sure to share your favorite game music of 2019 in the comments. 

Best Sound Quality On:

 – SteelSeries Arctis Pro
 – HyperX Cloud Alpha
HyperX Cloud Revolver S
 – Razer Nari Ultimate
 – Astro A50 Wireless
 – Creative Sound BlasterX H6
 – Razer Kraken X
 – Corsair Void Pro RGB Wireless
 – Logitech G Pro
Turtle Beach Recon 200

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