An Ode to the Chocobo; The Best Chocobo Themes

Since we got a full rant last time around, I figured we would jump back into fun with another fore into video game theme music. My wife had said I was remiss in not including the chocobo theme from Final Fantasy in my iconic themes piece, so I promised her that I would do a travel themes issue and include the theme. While doing research for that, I realized that over the years the chocobo themes themselves have had many iterations and many different styles and feels to them. In realizing this, I decided to dedicate an article to the big ol' horse chickens and to her. This one is for you my love! Here are my favorite chocobo themes:

Final Fantasy IX

Despite never having really played this Final Fantasy, it has quite the strong following among the fandom. When I was listening through the various themes throughout Final Fantasy's storied history, this one grabbed me. Even a non-gamer could play this theme at a Hawaiian themed party and have it be a smash hit!

Final Fantasy X

This theme I enjoy in retrospect. At the time I played this one, I wouldn't rank this one very high but looking back this is a very fun version of the chocobo theme. This is a theme I would play for my daughter when she gets a bit older that we could dance and be silly to. I'm sure she'll love it too since this Final Fantasy is my wife's favorite.

Final Fantasy IV

This iteration didn't change much from the first time the theme appeared in Final Fantasy II but it upped the tempo a bit and makes for a fun ride.

Final Fantasy VII: The Chocobo Ranch

Click the link above and watch that video. Is that not the cutest thing you've ever seen? This isn't one of the all time best themes but the dance that went with it earned it a high place in my personal list due to that very fact.

Final Fantasy XIV A Realm Reborn

You'd be hard pressed to find another riding theme that makes you feel like you're on an epic adventure. Some might get tired of it due to the frequency of hearing the theme as this is basically the mount theme from Final Fantasy XIV. You can turn the theme off in your options but I can't see why you would want to personally.

Final Fantasy V

If this theme doesn't make you want to get up and dance, check your pulse because you may be dead. While not one of the best Final Fantasy games ever, in my mind, it had the best chocobo theme ever. Hands down.

Special Mention: Seiken Densetsu (The Mana Series)

To the best of my knowledge, the Seiken Densetsu series is the only series of games (aside from their own spin-off games) that features chocobos. The only American release to feature the song was the orignal Seiken Densetsu for the GameBoy and this theme always gets my daughter to smile as we play "chocobo". Not horsey. If the theme plays, it's chocobo.

The 5 Most Kick Ass Gamer Anthems

As explored in our last outing, music can leave quite the lasting impression. Some of the bleeps and bloops of our childhoods will stick with us forever but what happens when that music goes outside the realm of just video games? We'll examine that today with my list of the 5 Most Kick Ass Gamer Anthems. Short answer, you get some funny if not totally bad ass music!

  • "Ain't No Rest For The Wicked" by Cage the Elephant Featured in Borderlands

This song, featured in the opening cinematic of the hit Gearbox title Borderlands, became a gamer anthem by mistake. While the song got a fair amount of radio play in the states, the song was most well known for the clip above.

  • "Code Monkey" by Johnathan Coulton Featured in Code Monkeys

While being in headlines more recently for having a song ripped off and featured in the television show Glee, Johnathan Coulton has been a mainstay in geek culture for quite some time. While "Still Alive" is arguably his most famous song, most people were first exposed to his talents when his song was chosen as the title track for the show Code Monkeys on G4.

  • "Do You Wanna Date My Avatar?" by the cast of the web series The Guild

In World of Warcraft's heyday there were many parodies, spoofs and shows made using the game as the centerpiece. None were so revered and popular as The Guild, a dramedy surrounding a group of friends in a World of Warcraft guild. Felicia Day and crew's poking fun at online dating and dating through games was an instant classic among the gaming populace.

  • "Vi Sitter I Ventrilo Och Spelar DotA" (We're Sitting Here in Ventrilo and Playing DotA) By Basshunter

Though it missed the EDM boom of the late 90's, Basshunter's "Spelar DotA" became an underground smash hit in the gaming scene when WoW was experiencing it's best days. Though the song references the fiercely tough and competitive Defense of the Ancients mod for Warcraft III, the Swedish lyrics give it a universal feel especially for any PvP type mode.

  • "Storm, Earth and Fire" by Level 100 Elite Tauren Chieftain (Level 70 at time of composition) Featured in World of Warcraft at various points

 Arguably the most popular group and music spawned from any game ever, Level 100 Elite Tauren Cheiftain (whose number increases with each expansion/level cap being upped) hit it out of the park with all their songs referencing the Warcraft universe. The songs eventually caught the ear of Blizzard who actually made the band in-game avatars who reside in Blood Elves' Silvermoon City and play concerts during various events throughout the year. 

The 8 Most Iconic Video Game Themes

Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent

- Victor Hugo

It doesn't matter how picky you might be or what kind it is, everyone loves music. People use music to party, to cope, to escape and to relax. It is probably the most versatile and most moving piece of artistic expression there is.

Throughout the brief history of video games, there have been quite a few moving pieces of music that helped to tell a story and helped set the tone for a scene. Some of these themes have transcended the small world of video games and become widely recognizable by the masses.

In this article, you will find eight such themes. Feel like I missed one or left out a good one? Make sure to let us know on Google+, Facebook or Twitter and get the discussion going!

  • Simple and Clean (- Hikari) by Utada Hikaru - Kingdom Hearts for PlayStation 2 (Later re-released as part of the Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD ReMix)

Arguably the biggest collaboration in the history of video games, Kingdom Hearts did the unthinkable and merged the legendary and iconic world of Disney with gaming's RPG juggernaut Final Fantasy. Anyone who listened to J-pop music in the early 2000's would be bound to come across this theme through the grapevine in one way or another and was a huge hit in Japan as Utada Hikaru was one of the biggest names in music in Japan at the time.

  • Halo Theme (Mjolnir Mix) by Martin O'Donnel, Michael Salvatori and Steve Vai - Halo 2 for the Xbox

Before the Modern Warfare boom in the mid 2000's there was Halo: Combat Evolved. The game would revolutionize console multiplayer and pretty much single-handedly put Microsoft on the map in the console arena with the advent of being able to hook up multiple consoles in a room akin to a PC LAN party and later the revolutionary and now iconic (or infamous depending on your outlook) service of Xbox Live. The main theme song of Halo would be given the touch of guitar legend Steve Vai in the Mjolnir Mix of the the titular theme and would grow to become the most widely recognized version of the song.

  • The Town of Tristram by Matt Uelmen - Diablo for the PC and PlayStation

Any PC gamer of the mid '90s is bound to get goosebumps when they hear the first chord of this song. Many would only hear approximately 3-5 minutes of the song before braving the depths of the old Cathedral to face down the Lord of Hell. The popularity and success of this PC classic would go on to spurn two sequels and arguably lay the ground work for the MMO force that would become World of Warcraft.

  • Vampire Killer by Kinuyo Yamashita and Satoe Terashima - Castlevania for the Nintendo Entertainment System

This game, while not necessarily a household name like Mario or Zelda, has a large following worldwide. It is a game that many remember playing on the NES back in the day and the theme above would go on to be included in nearly every Castlevania release that followed it and has been remixed countless times. (This one is my personal favorite)

  • Prelude by Nobuo Uematsu - Final Fantasy for the Nintendo Entertainment System

The most recognizable RPG theme by the most widely recognized and popular video game composer to come out of Japan. Final Fantasy would become the biggest name in RPGs the world over for nearly two decades on what was expected to be a last ditch effort to make this video game thing work. Anyone who was a nerd in 1987 when this game was released is sure to recognize this theme and I'm sure many parents of nerds from that era would recognize it as well.

  • Overworld by Koji Kondo - The Legend of Zelda for the Nintendo Entertainment System

Unlike Final Fantasy above, The Legend of Zelda was a hybrid action/RPG that would transcend your typical nerd and became a game that was popular among all age groups and genders. This is a game that adults of the 80's who had kids that played video games would play this game along with them and the overworld theme song would come to be played in many other Zelda titles that succeeded it.

  • Green Hill Zone by Masato Nakamura - Sonic the Hedgehog for the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis

In the early 90's when everything was injected with a bit of ATTITUDE, Sega's answer to that fat slow plumber was a hedgehog that was too cool for school dude! The Green Hill Zone's theme would go on to be included in many remakes of the first level of Sega's brand new mascot's game for decades after. RADICAL!

  • World 1-1/Overworld by Koji Kondo - Super Mario Bros. for the Nintendo Entertainment System

Outside of some arcade jingles like the level start theme from Pac-Man, World 1-1's above ground theme is easily the most recognizable game theme of all time, bar none. There isn't much to be said about the most popular game series, character, and theme that helped the video game industry as a whole recover from the game crash of the 80's and still be having games made with the same formula today.

Mario won't ever have blood, guts, aliens, sex, or guns but he doesn't need those things. People love the Mario franchise for being exactly what it is and that's why the franchise is still going strong almost 30 years later.