My Top Fifteen Favorite Video Game Tracks

If you’re friends with me for any long period of time, one of the things you end up having to deal with is how much I like video game music.

I source this love to being a pretty sheltered kid – I wasn’t allowed to listen to the radio, but I was given pretty much free reign in regards to soundtracks. Disney movies, of course, were a big favorite for me (I still sing a certain song from Mulan to myself every time I encounter Attila in Civ 5), as well as various Broadway shows (while I never made the jump to being a true theatre kid, I went through a Phantom of the Opera phase like so many others) and instrumental movie soundtracks. Don’t misunderstand, I’m not musically inclined at all, really – I played both oboe and cello briefly but the combination of ADD and my instructor’s palpable frustration with my short-term memory being garbage caused me to throw in the towel pretty quickly. But the few times I could manage to figure out a song on my own when fiddling around with a piano or keyboard? Always, always movie-related. I’m pretty sure my mom got tired of my showing off my attempt at the Indiana Jones theme on her piano to any unsuspecting visitors!

So despite my lack of technical talent, I still saw the world in terms of how it should be scored. My best friend and I spent huge amounts of our time in middle school trading soundtracks (she introduced me to Star Wars first by way of its score, and when she got me to play some Sonic game with her the only thing I was interested in was using my tape recorded to capture some stage’s bgm that I found particularly attractive) and making lists of how we’d soundtrack particular situations, people, etc. We were lucky enough to be in an “advanced” English program together that actually allowed us to make radio plays and short movies with our classmates, and I’m pretty sure we annoyed the hell out of our classmates when we demanded to put in the extra work of background music for some scenes. I still remember the look on one kid’s face when I told him I thought we should edit in a particular Jackson Browne song as the audio for a scene about some video we were making for class. I think both due to the fact that I was a 12-year-old suggesting a Jackson Browne song (hey, my dad was OBSESSED with him and that love turned out to be genetic) and the fact that I was voluntarily suggesting more work. Heh.

Anyhow, all this is to say, that it was probably completely unsurprising that when I started playing video games in college, one of the aspects that could hook me on a game was its soundtrack. Years later, my friends still have to deal with my nerding out over the music in a new game and spamming their messenger with various youtube links to whatever tracks have caught my fancy.

After doing this the other day with regard to some music in Blade & Soul (ohgod I love the faction pvp music so much), it occurred to me that I could totally inflict that habit on unsuspecting readers here, too.

And thus, this post is born. I’m thinking I’ll do a few posts for variety – favorite character themes, favorite battle themes, favorite ambient background themes, etc. But this one, the first one, will simply by my overall top fifteen video game tracks of all time, with one caveat: only one pick per game. Otherwise this list would be way, way too weighted towards the Tales Of and Shin Megami Tensei series.

So let’s get right into it!
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Skyrim Mod Nonsense: M.H.A.R.P.H.I.N. and the Sulking Robot Leg Saga

So if you know me at all, you know that I’m one of those weird people still playing Skyrim.

I currently have about six playthroughs with various flavours for each one, and just this morning, I’ve finally decided to do a full-mage, all cloth armour, Necromancy/Conjuration/Corrupted Restoration type of character.

Meet Velvet, so named because her eyes were initially blood-red and thus: red velvet. I’ve since changed them to bright green to better match the alteration defense spells and the symbols on her outfit. I do this kind of thing a lot.

But this post isn’t about Velvet, though perhaps I’ll document some of her later adventures. No, this post is about my new friend, the newest light of my Skyrim life, M.H.A.R.P.I.N. – as in one of skinnytecboy’s Carry On Skyrim followers.

In my typical (and yes, I know, bad modding practice) style, I like to add boatloads of mods before I start a new playthrough and then sort of just encounter them all naturally as I wander around Skyrim. The best encounters happen when I’ve totally forgotten about a mod’s presence, you know?

In this case, I was taking the long route to Saarthal on my newbie Necromancer (I’d used Live Another Life to start her at the College of Winterhold) and was taking the long route in order to avoid a prowling Nazguul (I’ve learned the hard way that the Witch King spawns right on the road to Saarthal and passes through Winterhold and I will die if he even looks at me) and suddenly got hit with an eerie voice echoing “keep moving forward… keep moving forward…” near the base of the Shrine of Azura.

It was there that I met M.H.A.R.P.H.I.N., a mod that I’d installed probably back when he appeared on Skyrim Mods Weekly and then utterly forgot to recruit.

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Beauty of Skyrim: The Alchemyst’s Troll Fat Lip Balm Review

So, if you pay any attention to the little Steam widget in my footer, you’ve probably noticed that I play a lot of Skyrim. I first played the game on Xbox 360 when it first released, but after I split with my then-boyfriend (we split up the kids – I mean, we divided up the consoles and I got the PS3 while he kept the 360) I no longer had the game or console. It’s only this year that I ended up buying the game again, this time for PC, mostly because I wanted to see what all the fuss was about regarding mods.

The result? Well, as you can see, I’m pretty much sold. So now one of my favorite ways to relax and unwind is to spent some quality time with my Bosmer archer-sneakthief and her Thieves Guild posse. Or my Thalmor-member high-elf mage that drags Ondolemar all over Skyrim (including pit-stops at her likewise Thalmor-themed loft in Solitude). Or my official lore-breaking playthrough using a half-Daedra race, complete with a gigantic badass scythe and this fully-voiced and awesome Deadpool follower.

Uhm. Carried away? Carried away.

Anyhow, enough about that. I’ll probably make posts about some of my favorite mods (I already compiled a Thief mod bible on a Skyrim subreddit this month, might as well turn it into a bonafide post eventually) soon and then I can ramble more about the actual game, but back on topic…

I first searched for ‘Skyrim’ on Etsy in the hopes that I would find some of those awesome horn candle-holders, and instead I was pleasantly surprised to see way more items that I had imagined: there were people selling Skyrim-themed teas (this Skooma blend is actually my current favorite tea!), candles (not in the cool holders, sadly, but scents inspired by places like Falkreath), some perfume oils, and… lip balms!

If you remember this post, you know that I can get very srs business about my lip balms. I have big, poofy, easily dried-out lips, and fall weather started creeping in already – it’s been in the 40s when I’m out walking my dog in the late evening. Since my lips tend to be really sensitive to the cold and wind during fall and winter, I’m always looking for excellent lip balms to use during the cold months. And what could be better than lip balms inspired by a game that takes place in a cold, snowy landscape like Skyrim?!

My cutie Dunmer, may her corrupted save file rest in peace, would've totally approved.

My cutie Dunmer, may her corrupted save file rest in peace, would’ve totally approved.

The Alchemyst’s “Troll Fat Lip Balms” (so named because troll fat is an actual lootable, usable alchemical ingredient in the game) comes in two flavors:

Black Briar Mead: Honey, Black Cherry, and Cranberry (Ingredients: Coconut oil, beeswax, organic shea butter, organic cocoa butter, jojoba oil, raw honey, vitamin e, cranberry extract, honey & cherry flavors)

Winterhold Ice: Peppermint and Rosemary (Ingredients: Coconut oil, beeswax, organic shea butter, organic cocoa butter, jojoba oil, vitamin e, rosemary, peppermint essence)

I bought both, of course, because what is impulse control?

Hit the read more to see my full review of these babies!
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