Back in the 8-bit day, I feel like I was drawn into certain games more than just by its improved graphics. Sure it was exciting going from a blocky Pitfall Harry on Atari 2600 to ALF on the Sega Master System but I believe that the game soundtracks impacted me as well.
As I mentioned, I got a Sega Master System (I guess to be different) while most of my friends had the Nintendo Entertainment System. Not having an NES right away made those trips over to friends' houses a little more special when we would fire up the video games and I heard the soundtracks. While the SMS had some great soundtracks (which I might tackle at a later date,) the NES seemed to have many more games that I enjoyed alot more as a kid.
I think some of the sounds were so satisfying just because of the progression. The farther you made it in a difficult game, it was exciting to hear the new music when you made it to the final stage or boss. The sound effects also mattered because those were likely what you heard most throughout the game whether it was shooting a gun or simply jumping. Of course, the Super Mario Brothers soundtrack is the prime example with the different themes like the main, underground, and water levels themes we all know by heart. Add in all the sound effects for jumping, fireball, and shrinking and hopefully you understand just how important the audio was to making it one of the NES video game icons.
Thanks to WiiGuys 8-BitStereo channel, many of the 8-bit era soundtracks across all platforms are available to rediscover on YouTube. Here are several of my NES favorites that instantly take me back to visiting my friends' houses as a kid.
Sky Shark - I played this game mainly at my pal Wyatt's house. It was a difficult game then and even when I play it now. But even though it was frustrating at times, the title theme (also used in stage 2) had a nice rhythm that seemed to keep me wanting to hear more of it. In fact, we would often fire our plane's missiles with the theme's beat. And when we did manage to make it to stage 3 or 4, it was like those themes were the greatest 8-bit tunes ever created.
So that's my five favorite soundtracks from the NES days. I know some of you will have different favorites seeing my lack of Zelda and Mega Man from the list (I just didn't play much of either of those.) Let me know the NES soundtracks that enhanced your gaming experience in the comments...