As a parent of a young child I’m all too familiar with the eternal struggle of bedtime. After many sleepless nights, I discovered a nightly ritual of a lullaby playlist worked wonders. I’m a huge fan of video game music and many official soundtracks, orchestral adaptations, and remixes work amazingly well as beautiful lullabies, especially if you’ve grown tired of Enya and classical music. Here’s a collection to get you started.
Composer: Christopher Tin
Game: Civilization IV
Being the first-ever video game track to win a Grammy cemented Civilization IV’s famous title track in the annals of video game music. It also works really well as our opening track to help calm a cranky little one by its sheer majesty and worldly presence. Fun Fact: the lyrics are the Lord’s Prayer in Swahili!
“Chrono Cross ‘Dreamer’”
Game: Chrono Cross
“Chrono Cross ‘Another Inspiration’”
Composer: Scott Peeples
Game: Chrono Cross
While its status as a good sequel to Chrono Trigger remains eternally mixed, there is no doubt Chrono Cross is one of the most beautiful soundtracks in gaming. “Another Inspiration” is one of the very first songs ever uploaded to Overclocked ReMix nearly 15 years ago, and I’ve been in love with it ever since. “Dreamer” is another long-time favorite and both songs were a large motivation for making my video game lullaby playlist—so much so that I couldn’t pick just one.
Game: Endless Legend
From the most recent soundtrack on our list, “Skylark” gives off a beautiful worldly theme, with vocals that already sound like a mother humming to her child. The militaristic drums should denote this as an attention-grabber near the beginning of our playlist.
“A Simple Flip Can Change Fate (Coin Song)”
Composer: Stevo “Level 99” Bortz
Game: Final Fantasy VI Balance and Ruin
One of the greatest soundtracks (and games) of all time received a full album’s worth of remixes from the amazing OCReMix community. I heartily recommend checking out the entire (and free) album. The simple yet evocative “Coin Song” is given a wonderful acoustic guitar rendition perfect for our playlist.
Composer: Alec Holowka
The entire Aquaria soundtrack is absolutely phenomenal, and one of my favorite aspects of this underrated underwater metroidvania indie game. Quite a few tracks work well for our lullaby playlist, but “Light” is my personal favorite, giving off a childlike sense of wonder and discovery.
“I was Born for This”
Composer: Austin Wintory
Austin Wintory is quickly becoming one of the greatest video game composers of our time, and his award-winning soundtrack for Journey should not be missed. Many tracks could work as soothing lullabies; I prefer the operatic “I Was Born for This” to hum along with.
“Build That Wall”
Composer: Darren Korb (with Ashley Barrett)
SuperGiant Games are quickly becoming one of my favorite indie studios, and both Bastion and Transistor have been phenomenal games with equally amazing soundtracks. For our quieter needs try this beautiful piece sung by the amazingly talented Ashley Barrett (who’s also featured in Transistor).
“Legend of Zelda Title Theme”
Composer: Dren Mcdonald; performed by The String Arcade
Game: The Legend of Zelda
Our playlist is sorely lacking in strings (and classic Nintendo tracks) and this quiet, understated take on the Zelda theme by the Videri String Quartet is perfect.
Composer: Curtis Schweitzer
The title track for this sandbox-in-space is one of those classically wondrous piano pieces that causes me to remain on the title screen for far longer than I care to admit. This is your closer, your 10-minute magnum opus that makes all that rocking and humming pay off.