Welcome to our weekly open thread for the discussion of gaming plans, nagging questions, and whatever else we feel like talking about. No matter what the topic, we invite everyone in the comments to tell us: What Are You Playing This Weekend?

The winters up here in Toronto are long and brutal, so every year when the warm weather returns, I like to celebrate it in my own way. I head down to the four-way scramble crossing at Yonge and Dundas, slip my headphones on, and listen to the soundtrack from The World Ends With You at as high a volume as I can tolerate. That game nails the feeling of summer in the city: the energy and the noise, the heat on the asphalt, the clashing of various fashions and cliques. For me, listening to TWEWY’s collection of groovy J-pop and scratchy hip-hop tracks marks the end of winter.

There is plenty of game music that I love, but for the most part, I’m content to just look something up when I need a particular itch scratched. Tracks from Final Fantasy Tactics and Castlevania: Symphony Of The Night are common fixtures of my YouTube history, for example. Some soundtracks I like so much that I buy them and keep them on my hard drive, like Darren Korb’s sublime Transistor score. There are only a few special soundtracks, though, that I need to have with me at all times. These make it all the way to my MP3 player.


Most of the game music I carry around with me complements my life somehow, like the way The World Ends With You amplifies my elation as the warm weather returns to downtown. Since I live in a major metropolitan area, I tend to respond to tunes with an urban atmosphere. If I’m walking around downtown after dark, I may find myself needing to listen to Yuzo Koshiro’s incredible Streets Of Rage 2 score. Koshiro’s energetic tracks are so catchy and funky that I have to be careful not to get carried away and actually pick a fight with someone. When it’s a bit brighter and livelier out, and especially in the baking hot summer months, the bombastic electro-flavored Jet Set Radio soundtrack makes the perfect background music.

In case it wasn’t obvious from those two choices, I grew up mostly with Sega consoles, and that company’s spiny blue mascot was a staple of my game diet as a kid. I try to keep my MP3 player tightly curated, but I’m much more lenient when it comes to Sonic’s considerable library of tunes. At all times, I keep the soundtracks of every major release in the Sonic series from 1991 to 2011, with the exception of the disastrous Sonic The Hedgehog from 2006. Because I grew up with that series—and because its music is so incredible—I’ll often find myself absent-mindedly whistling, say, “Lava Reef Zone—Act 1” from Sonic & Knuckles. And once it’s stuck in my head, I won’t be able to exorcise that earworm without listening to it properly.

How about you, Gameologinauts? Is there any game music that you simply have to carry with you at all times? What are you most likely to listen to when you’re out and about?