If you grew up in the 80's like me, then I'm certain that your childhood was defined by the addictive boops and beeps of 8-bit Nes music. And what a wonderful thing that was. Limiting myself to one song/melody from a series, here are the tunes that have been stuck in my head for the last 20 years or so.
5. Fever (Dr. Mario, 1990)
Listen. Well, I have to include this on the list simply because from the first time I played Dr. Mario, this tune laid eggs in my brain. Eggs that periodically hatch to attack my memory lobe. It's stupid, but it's stupid catchy, and I've found myself babbling out its melody at times - struggling to pinpoint where I know it from. As far as puzzle games are concerned, this has some of the best music ever. I would listen to the title screen theme for huge chunks of time without even playing.
4. Overworld Theme (The Legend of Zelda, 1987)
Listen. A memorable theme, no doubt about it. Every time I hear it I want to fire up that game and relive the adventure. It perfectly captures that sense of danger and heroics that the series is all about. The song isn't very fast or intense, which suits the exploration you do in the game, and really feels as if a bard may be playing it, telling the story of your journey. That's right, it's awesome because it makes me think of minstrels and lutes. It's classic!
3. Dr. Wily Stage 1 (Megaman 2, 1989)
Listen. In a game that is rich with amazing music, it's hard to pick the one that I love most. Also, I know that Megaman 3 has some equally face-rocking tunes (title theme!), but I have to give it to my favourite Megaman game ever. After defeating all of the robot bosses, you head off to take the fight to Wily, and you got this bitching number to set the tone. After all the fun and excitement that the game dishes out, this theme says "Hey! You're just getting started! Hold onto your ass, cause you ain't seen nothing yet!" If this music doesn't pump you up, you're legally dead.
2. The Moon (Ducktales, 1989)
Listen. I think many people might overlook this game as far as music is concerned, but the level themes in this game are really top notch, with the moon being the absolute best. It starts off and sounds pretty tame, but quickly picks up and turns into something epic. It tells a story of adventure, excitement, and an elderly duck seeking fortune in space. To sum up, it kicks ass.
1. Level 1-1 (Super Mario Bros, 1986)
Listen. If you don't know this theme then, I daresay, you must be a luminescent fish living thirty thousand feet below sea level. The fact that seemingly everyone knows and loves it is a testament to its greatness. I still hum it with glee all the time, and if someone is nearby when I do, chances are they will join in; maybe to harmonize, or to incorporate maracas. It's music that represents video gaming, defined a generation, and still is incredibly fun to listen to.