Winter is here but as some of you may have noticed, this has been quite the unusual winter. Temperatures have not been exactly what one would associate with the season and as a consequence the spirit of the season feels...off*.
*Does not apply to the West Coast.
Unfortunately I can’t summon a blizzard like the Patapon can. What I can do is look up for songs to cool off to in this not-so-cold winter. Last year I posted a similar list, although the songs in that list focused more on the sound of Christmas, instead of just winter in general.
To be honest, I thought I had used all the good songs in that list, I mean Freezeezy Peak is the ultimate winter song in video games. But as I explored deeper into my never-ending list of seasonal video game music I found that not everything is lost. Fortunately enough for you (and me), I managed to dig up 12 more songs that give that cool breeze we all need right now.
And what better way to kick off this list than with an old classic remastered? “Give me a Lift” from Paper Mario Sticker Star is the same “Athletic Theme” from Super Mario Bros. 3 only this time it comes with jazzy undertones accompanied by enough bells and whistles to give that chilly feel.
I bet you all are thinking “Why did you pick a song from Sticker Star?” To which I will answer… “It may be the worst game in the series, but I can’t get enough of its soundtrack! It’s equal parts nostalgic and exciting!”
“How about Poland’s theme from Civilization V: Brave New World? It’s based on 18th century Polish Christmas carol, “Bóg Się Rodzi” (The God Is Born)”
This was one of the many comments left in last year’s comment section. In that same section there were other great recommendations like a song from a game called Jazz Jackrabbit, but sadly I didn’t have room for rock songs about Christmas (plus, Steve Lukather’s version was better). Bóg Się Rodzi on the other hand resonated with me. After doing some research about it I learned that the song was once considered to be the National Anthem of Poland, interestingly enough no one knows who composed the song.
There was a time when Capcom cared about other games not titled Monster Hunter. They had some of the most ingenious minds behind their most creative projects, one of them was a title that was visually inspired in the sumi-e paintings of East Asia. Ōkami, led by a younger (and probably less bitter) Hideki Kamiya, tells the story of how the sun godess Amaterasu saved Nippon from falling into complete darkness. Travelling all across the land she encontered many challenges, amongst them the frozen plains of Kamui, a region in north Nippon trapped in a constant blizzard caused by the demonic owls Lechku and Nechku.
Many years ago, I used to hang around at a friend’s place. This guy was the biggest Final Fantasy fan I’ve ever met, he had every single game in the series including Final Fantasy XI. Being a responsible student I would go to his place to study for the classes we had, but every time I went to his place he was glued to his TV playing FFXI. I never understood his love for the game.
As the years passed we moved on to different paths, but on a trip I to Los Angeles I learned that he was living not too far from the hotel I was staying. When I went to his place he was glued to his TV playing Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. It was the holiday season and he had to complete a quest before heading out…
Some things never change, like war and his love for Final Fantasy.
“Carol of the Bells” has always been a peculiar song, its characteristic melody is a repeating four-note motif gives a sense of urgency and tension, which to be honest are two feelings I’m not looking forward to experience in this joyous season. On the other hand those two go hand in hand with Gotham City which is why this arrangement found in Arkham Origins is a great callback to those classic Batman movies. Add up some wintry easter eggs and you have the perfect combination of Batman and Christmas.
Step aside, Oswald Cobblepot, there’s only room for one penguin in this list. Chill Penguin, also known as the Lord of the Snowy Plains, may be one of the easiest Mavericks to defeat in Mega Man X but that doesn’t make him less pathetic… Actually, scratch that, he’s pretty pathetic, not only his overall design is ridiculous, his excuse for siding with Sigma is quite lame “Working for him is a million times better than piddling around on the South Pole with nothing to do.” Or so he said in the PSP version of the game, Mega Man Maverick Hunter X.
To his defense his level has a kickass soundtrack, but overall he’s a terrible Maverick and he deserves to be destroyed by X’s lemon shooter!
Fluffy Cotton balls! Shy guys throwing yarn balls, glitter covered stretches of white fabric... It’s the perfect winter wonderland. The fifth world of the crafty Yoshi’s Woolly World is, as you may have figured out, a winter themed world.
The art style is amazing, each level introduces a new environment and the best part, each level has its own theme song. It was difficult to chose which track would best represent the winter season in this list because they all are perfect candidates. From the upbeat “Fluffy Snow, Here We Go” to the relaxing melodies of “Up Shuttlethread Pass”, each track is unique and beautifully crafted to blend with the visuals of the game.
The 6th Generation of Pokemon games is full of iconic moments, from the first time you take a step inside the dazzling Lumiose City to the cliffs and vistas of Coastal Kalos. Each section of the map offers something unique and breathtaking, Snowbelle City is no exception, the Pokémon counterpart of the city of Besançon, sits in the heart of the mountainous region of Kalos, and just like Besançon, it is know for being “The city that freezes colder than winter”.
No music list is complete without the blue blur, and no winter season is complete without tumbling down the hills while riding a snowboard. “Be Cool, Be Wild and Be Groovy” may be the most summery track in this list, but what it lacks in seasonal flair it has in slick guitar riffs and a killer arrangement of brass instruments, not to mention that sax. Seriously think about it, when was the last time you heard a Rock & Roll song with a dynamite saxophone solo?
The Ice Cap Stage 3 isn’t the first time Sonic used a snowboard to rapidly descend a snow covered mountain, and it certainly wasn’t the last one, but it was the only time that it was fun to do so. But being a Sonic game, there’s one minor complain about the stage: the constant pep talk by either Sonic or Tails. I know I’m doing okay as I descend this mountain, no need to keep saying the same line over and over again!
This song shouldn’t be here. Why? Well, I just finished Undertale a couple of hours ago, I’m still enamored with the game and I shouldn’t let my feelings get in the way of my judgement. But the truth is I like this game… a lot! In a time when games have forgotten to be fun, Undertale shines bright, it’s a game full of emotions and the soundtrack is one of its best qualities. It’s an eclectic mix of styles and genres: the soothing melodies of Animal Crossing, the somber tunes of Chrono Trigger, and of course the quirkiness of the Mother series.
“Snowy” is one of the first songs you hear in the game and it couldn’t be more perfect for the moment it plays. The silence between each of the piano notes give this aura of dread as you explore a whole new area in the caverns, but the marriage of the flute and the violin encourage the player to keep on going forward.
I needed an Animal Crossing song in this list, but last year I used the one track that screamed Christmas. Desperate times call for desperate measures, that’s when I remembered that the Animal Crossing track in Mario Kart 8 had four different arrangements of the same song, one for each season of the year, and it turns out that the winter version of the music that plays in the circuit is quite, well wintry.
The track is a gorgeous interpretation of the typical AC town, full of details taken directly from the game: balloons, gifts, the tree in the plaza with Christmas lights and of course, snow.
It is also the second song in this list to feature a saxophone as one of the lead instruments. Take that, you sax haters!
Happy Holidays to everyone and hopefully the effort of these 12 songs have brought the snow back... Wait, are you telling me that the Patapon could not summon the blizzard you’ve been asking for? Looks like we have no other choice but to trudge through this snow-less winter...
Don’t feel down because this winter season hasn’t been egg-sactly what you were egg-specting. The hard times will be over-easy!
I have just found the right person to crack this shell open. Enter Billy Hatcher, not to be confused with the baseball player of the same name, with his bubbly enthusiasm he’ll wake this winter up from its slumber. No really, I’m not yolking!
In Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg, created by Yuji Naka, Billy saves countless lands from the dark veil of the crows thanks to his determination to roll eggs and scramble enemies away. With his courage and willingness to help people a new snowy dawn is just a Cock-a-doodle-doo! away.
Hopefully these 12+1 songs combined will help change the weather or at least fool your brain that the air outside is a bit colder. I hope you enjoyed this list as much as I did while writing it. If there’s a song that I missed don’t hesitate to let me know in the comments section below.
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