Enter the Game Music Thunderdome


Welcome to the Game Music Thunderdome – two tracks enter, one track leaves!

The rules are simple. You’ve got a week and a half to nominate 1-4 of your favorite pieces of game music in this thread. Each nomination should include the name of the game, the name of the track, and a youtube link. For the purposes of this competition, “game music” means that the music was originally created for a game – no licensed tracks or remixes.

On Monday, February 19, as long as there are at least 16 entries, I will compile the submissions and randomize them into a single elimination bracket. Everyone’s first nomination is guaranteed inclusion; additional entries may be pulled from at random to get the total to a nice clean power of two.

Every weekday, I’ll post a matchup between two tracks. Give them a good fair listen, and vote for your favorite. Depending on the number of entries, the first round may be a group stage (vote for 2 out of 4 each day). The loser is eliminated and the winner advances, until a champion is crowned.

Have fun, and hopefully discover some new favorites!

Feb. 16 edit: Pulling additional info into the first post for easy reference.

Tournament tracker: http://challonge.com/12kl0nvq

Group stage bracket:


Voting Rules

Each weekday, I will post a matchup. Listen to the tracks and vote for your favorite. Please try to give a fair shake to every track on its own terms, even from games you dislike or haven’t played. Vote by posting in this thread with the name of your selection in bold.

Should you feel inspired to liven up the voting process by voting in the form of an image, an oblique reference, a riddle, or an interpretive dance, that’s fine, but then you must also include a clear and unambiguous text version in spoiler tags.

Voting for each round will remain open for a minimum of 24 hours from the time I post it. If it’s been more than 24 hours but I haven’t gotten around to posting the result yet, go ahead and post your vote, but there’s an outside chance it will be ignored if I’ve already tabulated the results and am preparing the day’s post.

The first round will be a group stage. Please vote for your two favorites, and the top two vote-getters will advance to the single-elimination bracket. Again, despite what the bracket looks like, it is not two separate head-to-head matches; you can vote for any combination of two entries.

In the case of a tie in voting, it goes to sudden death – the match remains open concurrently with the next day’s round, and is broken by the next new person to vote on it. If nobody has chimed in after another 24 hours, I’ll flip a coin.

Suggestions for future improvements to our forum software
Game Music 2: Beyond Thunderdome
Crypt of the NecroDancer


I’ll go with these:

  1. The Last of Us - Main Theme [and my personal favorite]

  1. Diablo / Diablo 2 - Tristram
  1. Halo: Combat Evolved - Main Theme


Some wonderful FM here! Finding the thing online is quite a limiting factor for this idea of a contest :O

First, Movement 1 (sic), from Umemoto Ryu’s YUNO for the PC98. The whole soundtrack is absolutely amazing. I picked a moody track at random. May he rest in peace — nobody should die of a stupid infection at 36.

Then, the Megadrive version of Back to Square One, from Herzog Zwei. Otani Tomomi is an incredible composer. It is really a shame Tecnosoft put her into a locker once they moved on from the 16bits console. She is now doing IT, and recovering from an aneurysm. Are all FM composers cursed?

Here is Noh Specter, some grandiose FM Metal from Compile’s Aleste. The tune is actually an arranged remix of another one they did for their PC-Engine shmup Spriggan, published by Naxat Soft. The FM version is much better.

Thanks to @Thraeg, here is the title screen of Cyber City OEDO 808, the PC-Engine game after the weirdly popular franchise. No idea whose work it is!


Feel free to upload it yourself if you want to nominate something and it’s not already up. I’ve used this service before and it worked fine. https://www.tunestotube.com/

  1. Turrican 2 - the final fight
  1. SwIV - decimation

3. Gods - into the wonderful

  1. First samurai - title music

(my first computer was an amiga)


Fountain of Dreams - Smash Melee


Be still my beating heart. What a great idea. This is going to be fun @Thraeg, thanks for arranging it! I’ll get some links together later.

@HUMBY50 You win. Shut it down folks.

(My first computer was an Amiga too. Would Into the Wonderful be allowed though? That was by Nation XII and wasn’t composed for the game, a bit like Bomb the Bass’ Megablast from Xenon 2.)


I’m not familiar with that one. From the link, it sounds like its first public release was as part of a game, and then later the artist included it on a general non-game album. Is that scenario correct? If so…


AKA the Baba Yetu rule.

First public release seems like the easiest metric to go by to me. I’m not really interested in litigating corner cases in the licensed-vs.-original grey area, just preventing @ArmandoPenblade from sneaking in some Dark Tranquility or Anthrax because they were in Brutal Legend.


Yeah, it sounds that way.

Perfect. I look forward to seeing how far Into the Wonderful goes!


Red Alert C&C: Hell March

RimWorld - Moving On



Shame I didn’t know that back in the day, I used to load the game up just too listen to the music! A CD copy would have got a lot of use!


My four picks:

1 -
NieR: Automata - The Weight of the World

Note: this is actually not the best version of that particular song in-game, but my favorite version is a spoiler of sorts? So here it is in case anyone who played the game (or would risk having the emotional impact of this particular version lessened out if they ever play the game) wants to check it out.

NieR: Automata - The Weight of the World - End Theme


2 -
Final Fantasy XIII-2 - Yeul’s Theme

3 -
Final Fantasy XIII-2 - Wish

4 -
Final Fantasy XIII - The Promise


It does look like that was the only way to really listen to the track though back in the day, so you’re golden! I used to do the same, hahah. In fact, one of my fondest memories with the Amiga was loading Turrican 1 up with my uncle (who bought me the game for Christmas) and rocking out for several loops before actually starting the game.

I didn’t realise that Bomb the Bass was part of Nation XII either so we’ve all learnt something today! :-D


I’m sad we went this many posts without a Baba Yetu from Civilization IV.

My other pick would be Dragonborn from Skyrim.

Finally, this:


I’m guessing that submissions need to be the most original version? Like, I would have to submit the SNES version of Dancing Mad and not the Black Mages version?


Beat me to it. If I was a betting man I’d put money on those in the Thunderdome. But I’m not a betting man, just a raggedy man.


Yes. In-game versions only. Remixes and re-orchestration are great, but kind of their own thing. But if people like the Thunderdome idea and want to do another one, then remixes would be a good potential theme.


Nier Automata - Alien Manifestation (in Nier Tomato, most songs have three dynamic “levels,” and this version hits all three):

Final Fantasy VI - Dancing Mad:

Chrono Trigger - Wind Scene (map theme for 600AD):

Chrono Cross - The Dream That Time Dreams (so fuckin’ triumphant!):

  1. Journey - Apotheosis
  1. Wolfenstein: The New Order - Main Theme
  1. The Last Express - End Titles
  1. Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers - Main Theme