Without music, said philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, life would be a mistake and brother, he wasn’t kidding. Where would we be with songs? Without killer beats and struck piano keys, crazy brass, breezy woodwinds, and the sweet fury of stroked strings on violins, guitars, and more? I know this much: our games would suck. From the primitive but expressive soundchips of 1980s consoles to the full instrumentation available to game musicians today, video games have been producing original tunes that defy classification. These are the greatest soundtracks–original jams, no licensed music–in video game history.

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