Here Are the Top 7 Musical Genres Every Gamer Should Know

Do you need some inspiration for new listening material? Have you ever considered the potential for video game music? Here are seven game categories that you may have encountered before.

The bleeps and bloops of early games have given way to full orchestral scores. Game music has gotten so varied that many students use it as background music.

It’s fun to listen to the music composed just for games, but there are also entire musical subgenres that have been influenced by or named by video games. Here, we’ll discuss a variety of musical styles that every serious gamer should appreciate.

Electronic dance music (EDM) synthwave

Synthwave is an electronic music genre that harkens back to the ’80s. It is sometimes known as retrowave or outrun. Picture a macho guy in a leather jacket getting into a red hot sports automobile while the city’s neon lights shine down on the scene.

The artwork and song titles often reference cheesy 1980s genres like action movies or science fiction. Those who enjoy synthesizers and thumping electronic bass will enjoy this.

2013’s Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon exposed a lot of players to synthwave. Everything from the characters to the synthwave score is a spoof of action movies from the 1980s. But even if you didn’t play, you should still listen to synthwave because it features a lot of cool sounds and electronic rhythms that are perfect for gaming.

Take a listen to these excerpts from some of your favorite bands: Lazerhawk, Miami Nights 1984, Mitch Murder, Waveshaper, Wolf and Raven


J-pop, or just pop, is a term used to describe music from Japan. An increase in awareness of Japanese music can be attributed to the internet’s role in popularizing Japanese pop culture in the West through channels like anime. As a genre, J-pop is characterized by its high tempo, rock influences, and occasional use of English lyrics.

If you’ve played video games developed in Japan, you’ve probably heard some J-pop on the soundtrack. It’s no secret that the Dance Dance Revolution games have a plethora of upbeat tracks from this genre. The World Ends With You and the Bayonetta games also feature music that takes inspiration from Japanese popular culture, including J-pop.

Music by AKB48, Arashi, and Hey! Say! Stereopony, Momoiro Clover Z, and JUMP

Third, a chiptune

We haven’t completely written off the early video game soundtracks just because they were rudimentary. Chiptune, often known as 8-bit music, is a style of music characterized by repetitive computer noises. These stripped-down scores appeared on classic consoles like the NES and Game Boy as a result of technical limitations. Many modern composers draw inspiration from the chiptune music of retro video games, although they are not bound by the limitations of the originals.

In the beginning, many well-known songs were only available as chiptunes. Zelda and Mario’s major themes, as well as several Mega Man stages and the Pokémon battle theme, all had their humble beginnings in the 8-bit format. Contemporary chiptune music can be heard in a wide variety of indie games released in recent years.

Bit Shifter, Goto80, RushJet1, SpellingPhailer, and Xinon are just a few of the featured artists.


As promised, here comes the meat of the matter. Djent is an onomatopoeic subgenre of progressive/heavy metal. Distorted guitar notes that are palm muted are a defining feature.

Djent music is typically instrumental and has intricate riffs and lengthy solos (but this is not always the case). Seven- or eight-string guitars are commonly used by bands to generate this distinctive sound.

Doom’s (2016) blaring soundtrack is a current example of djent in the video game industry. Some people put it in the category of industrial metal, although its aggressive guitar and intricate melodies make it more akin to djent. Because of its high energy level, it is an excellent choice for a workout soundtrack.

Animals As Leaders, Chimp Spanner, Intervals, Polarization, and Scale the Summit are just a few of the bands included here.

Plainchant and Gregorian Chant, No. 5

One might be surprised to learn that this quaint musical style is popular among gamers. The Catholic Church in the Middle Ages popularized a monophonic style of music called Gregorian chant, which is a subset of plainchant. Gregorian chant, in its original form, is unaccompanied singing in a free rhythm.

However, chant has been successfully implemented in video games. The Halo series is notable for its use of a musical motif reminiscent of Gregorian chant for its opening credits. The Temple of Time in Zelda: Ocarina of Time has chanting music, while the Dark Souls series also features chants in its soundtrack. The best fantasy RPG soundtracks of all time feature this style of music, which even listeners unfamiliar with the genre will likely find to be rather beautiful.

To name a few examples of artists: If you’re looking for Gregorian chant, check out the Spotify musician below:

Acid Jazz, No. 6

Is classic jazz a touch too monotonous for your tastes? If that’s the case, you might enjoy acid jazz. This kind of jazz incorporates traditional jazz techniques while adding a flavorful dose of soul, funk, and groove. Acid jazz, however, is not as well-known as it once was because of the rise of electronic music.

Just recently, the acid jazz genre was heavily featured in the Persona 5 soundtrack. It helps establish the tone for both the game’s take on Tokyo and the intense dungeon combat that takes place there. This style of music is enjoyable anyplace and may put a swing in any activity.

List of musicians used: Brand New Heavies, The Groove, Incognito, James Taylor Quartet, Jamiroquai

Chillstep, number seven

The massive success of dubstep, a type of electronic music characterized by a booming bass, has made it well-known to the general public. Chillstep tones this down with subdued bass and beats and a more relaxed vibe. While dubstep can get annoying fast, chillstep is perfect for the background.

Axiom Verge, a recent independent Metroidvania game, has a few songs that are only tangentially related to the genre. Although it may be difficult to name a select few video game franchises where chillstep music has featured prominently, this style is well suited to playing in the background of a wide range of titles. You should like chillstep unless you dislike electronic music.

To name just a few: CMA, Lookz, Mapps, Sappheiros, and Wayr

What Kind of Video Game Music Do You Prefer?

We’ve investigated a wide range of musical styles with ties to video games. Even though you won’t hear them on the radio, each of these provides a wealth of music. We hope you’ve found at least one new music genre worth investigating, whether you’re looking for more music like what you’ve heard in a game or you’re just curious about what’s out there.

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