Soundtracks are a huge part of making any video game memorable. Whether its a classic melody, a memorable beat, or an iconic song created just for the game – music can make or break the chance to immerse the player. The sports gaming genre has a long, storied history of great soundtracks. From EA to 2K, sports game developers have kept their fingers on the pulse of the audience they serve, and even hearing the iconic song from a game’s opening demo reel have tempted me to dig up those games and play them again. Without further ado, here are some of the most iconic soundtracks (and signature songs) in sports video game history. Oh and don’t worry, I’ve linked all the soundtracks for your listening pleasure. Enjoy your nostalgia.
Can somebody explain to me how MVP Baseball doesn’t exist anymore as a series? All I knew when I bought this game was that I was TERRIBLE at every baseball video game I had ever played, but Manny was on the cover. Boom, purchased. Little did I know that this game’s soundtrack would blow my fragile mind, and so did the game itself. Hitter’s Eye, ridiculous control over hitting and fielding, and that pitching interface set the standard for every baseball game to follow it. EA. Bring back MVP Baseball. Please.
5.) Need for Speed Underground 2: Snoop Dogg – “Riders On The Storm”
Riders on the Storm is one of those songs that was literally made for the game its featured in. The intro to the song itself syncs up beautifully with the main menu, and I can still hear the beeps, clicks, and buzzes from the Need for Sped Underground 2 menus whenever I dig up this song again. Not only that, but NFSU2’s entire soundtrack is absolutely killer. Fat Joe’s “Lean Back”, Xzibit’s “LAX”, and tons of other great tracks provide the backdrop for one of my favorite sequels of all time, and I’ll be damned if I didn’t love my little Mazda Miata back in the day.
4.) SSX 3: Yellowcard – “Way Away”
SSX is another series that is known for having soundtracks just as memorable than its gameplay. SSX Tricky was great, but SSX 3 had a whole radio station narrated by a convincing-sounding DJ that would introduce each track, as well as narrate your character’s journey up and down the mountains along the way. Aside from being one of the most visually appealing games of its time, SSX 3’s soundtrack set a huge precedent for any EA-created compilations along the way.
3.) Tony Hawk’s Underground: Nas – “The World Is Yours”
I’m sure I’ll get some shit for this, but to be honest there are so many Tony Hawk games with unreal soundtracks that I simply had to pick the game that was most memorable to me. T.H.U.G. was all about the player, and all about customizing every element of the game to your liking – from your appearance to tricks to boards to parks to your own company. This game was the shit, and so was the soundtrack. Oh, and fuck Eric Sparrow.
2.) NBA Street Vol. 2: Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth – “T.R.O.Y.”
What. A. Game. If you don’t think I’m taking it to the hole on you every fucking time as Dr. J and dropping dimes in your grillmix with Larry Legend you’re out of your mind. NBA Street Vol. 2 was not only packed with an incredible old-school hip-hop soundtrack, but had a bunch of original tracks produced by Just Blaze. Speaking of which, Just Blaze himself appeared as an unlockable (and completely broken) character with maxed out stats, as well as Nelly and the St. Lunatics, whom I don’t think I ever played as… The guy in the mask looked cool though.
1.) Need For Speed Underground: Lil Jon – “Get Low” / T.I. – “24’s”
<Brrrrrrum dum dum, dum dah dum dah duh dum…> Choosing between Get Low and 24’s was arguably the most difficult choice I’ve ever made in my life. I just can’t do it. I can’t imagine this game without either of these songs missing from the soundtrack. 24’s and Get Low as the opening menu music in NFSU is just as iconic as the Super Mario Bros. theme, I don’t care. Don’t argue with me, instead – just search your soul. You know it to be true. There was no other clear choice to be tied for the #1 spot than these two jams, and I sincerely hope that all of you can’t help but agree. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go drag race someone back to my house.
There you have it folks. The most undoubtedly iconic, masterfully assembled, and undoubtedly classic soundtracks in the history of sports video games. And to believe EA took a few years off from including EA Trax in the Madden games… Don’t you EVER do that shit again, EA. If you haven’t already, go dust off your PS2 and pop some of these gems in, I’ll be over in 20 minutes with a 30 rack of Bud Light and some Doritos. If you think we forgot anything in this flawless list, scream at us on Twitter at @WickedGoodGames.