It’s the most wonderful time of the year! The holidays are quickly approaching, and here at Couch Bandits we’re already in full-on festive mode. It would be a shame if we allowed December to pass without some sort of holiday-themed article. We’ve previously discussed our favorite Christmas music, and our favorite Christmas/holiday games, but now we’re going to combine the two for a shortlist of our favorite winter and holiday music from video games!
Since most of this music isn’t easily found on major music streaming services, we’ll be posting working YouTube links below so you can listen from home, and feel that holiday magic. We hope you’ll enjoy our picks!
There’s so much great winter/holiday-themed music that comes from Nintendo games. From Super Mario, to Animal Crossing, to Zelda, most of these games feature winter or snow-themed landscapes at one point or another—and the music fits the mood brilliantly. Rather than try and find specific tracks to include, we’ve found some amazing YouTube compilations that string together lengthy playlists from Nintendo’s best titles. The credit for making these compilations goes entirely to the uploader, so be sure to like and support their channel! It’s surprising how much winter-y music can be found across many Nintendo franchises, and these compilations below are the perfect soundtrack to wrapping presents, or decorating a tree. We hope you’ll enjoy them as much as we have!
Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds
This inclusion came at the suggestion of Nick, who is a big fan of Horizon Zero Dawn. While I’ve never personally played the game myself, I gave this soundtrack a full listen and could instantly understand why it belongs on this list. The hollowing winds, the chilling frost, the falling snow—it’s all here in this gorgeous soundtrack. While this music won’t provide you the same merry warmth of the Nintendo picks, it certainly sets a stunningly effective ambiance that truly feels like it comes from the heart of winter. Both haunting and beautiful, The Frozen Wilds score will make you feel as if you’re traversing frigid landscapes and surroundings. Give the full score a listen below.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Fewer games have better captured the magic of winter as well as Skyrim. I’ve talked before about how I associate this game with the holiday season, and the gorgeous score is also something I frequently listen to around this time of year. The twinkling strings and luscious soundscapes paint a vivid picture of the realm of Skyrim—lit by torchlight and shimmering stars, all reflecting off the white blankets of snow below. There’s a certain mysticism to this music that compliments the game perfectly, and also instills a sense of wonder. The holidays are a truly magical time, and it can be difficult to describe the warm feeling you feel inside during them, but Skyrim and its ambient soundtrack do a pretty darn good job for you. While this soundtrack should be easily accessible on most major streaming platforms, we’ll post a YouTube compilation of the score below for those of you who don’t use streaming services. Enjoy!
Octopath Traveler is a game known for its aesthetic and visuals. The game sends players through beautifully-designed backdrops and finely-detailed settings. One of those settings includes the winter-themed Frostlands, a snowy northern region of Orsterra. While exploring this region, the player is treated to an appropriate accompanying score filled with frosty piano chords and icy rhythms. This is another score that’s big on ambiance and creating a mood. Curl up next to a roaring fire, gaze out at the falling snow, or up at the night sky with a cup of hot chocolate and enjoy this stunning score.
I Am Setsuna
An instrument you’ll find featured on nearly all of these choices in the piano. I’m not sure what it is about the piano’s sound that connects so strongly to the vibe of winter and holidays, but no game score understands this connection better than I Am Setsuna. The critically-acclaimed RPG features a score that easily conjures up images of leaves falling from trees and frost covering the snowy ground. It’s both somber and heartwarming, which feels beyond appropriate for the winter season. We’ll include our favorite piece of music below, and we hope you’ll put this one on during a cold winter’s morning as you wake from bed with your cup of coffee. Look out across your snowy lawns and streets, and reflect back on memories of the many winters you’ve known.
Well, that’s it! We hope you like our picks, and please feel free to let us know what game soundtracks you listen to around this time of year in the comments below. We hope to post at least another holiday article or two before the season concludes, and don’t forget about our Game-A-Thon 2019 Christmas Charity stream coming up on December 23rd, you won’t want to miss that! Happy Holidays!
All music featured does not belong to us and is solely owned by the respective composers and license owners. We do not claim any ownership over these entities, or the linked videos.