A couple of months ago when I realized that this column would fall on Christmas day, I entertained the notion of just featuring MMO Christmas music. That seemed a bit silly to me; there's no way that there could be more than a scarce handful of tunes, right?
It turns out that there's quite a bit, actually.
So whether you're celebrating, taking some time just to game, or bored out of your gourd, why not hit the jump and see how MMOs have contributed to the enormous library of Christmas music?
1. MapleStory -- White Christmas
What you see is what you're going to hear: a happy, wordless take on the classic "White Christmas." While it starts fairly traditional, it eventually begins to diverge from the plain notes to add a lot of fancy frills and dancing beats. It's kind of weird to think that "White Christmas" was in an MMO, but if a game's going to have it, I guess this one makes as much sense as any.
2. Fiesta Online -- Elderine at Christmas
Help me out here: This song begins with a few notes that sound oh-so-familiar to an oldie. Anyone know it? I'd hum it for you, but that doesn't translate as well in text.
Here we have a blend of Christmas staples ("Santa Claus is Coming to Town") and a lot of fun riffing. It's a little bit funky and a whole lot cheery. Salut!
3. Final Fantasy XI -- Starlight Celebration
Here we have our first piece of completely original MMO score, and it's a lovely one at that. The sleigh bells ringing keep this at a peppy pace, although there's something here that bugs me. I think it's the organ; most of the instruments are just fine, but the organ adds a touch of dissonance that sets my teeth on edge. Fortunately, it's only present for little snatches here and there. Otherwise, it's a pretty cool track.
4. League of Legends -- Winter Holiday Theme
The winter holiday login music is downright catchy, isn't it? It's slow and deliberate, sharing space between a Christmasy sound and a serious fantasy theme. I really like how it stays in the background without feeling as if it needs to get loud and bombastic.
5. Granado Espada -- Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer
One of these days, we're going to get into this genuinely eclectic and awesome soundtrack, but for today we'll limit ourselves to this smooth jazz version of Rudolph. I really like the tempo of this song, but have to wonder just how strange it was to be playing this game and suddenly hear such a familiar tune leap out and tackle one's ears.
6. Phantasy Star Online -- Holiday Lobby
Lay on the sax, you... science-fiction action MMO? Why not! It's got a lounge quality to it, full of zest and a wide variety of instruments. I don't know what else to say about it other than that it's certainly in the spirit of the season and doesn't have much downtime.
7. Guild Wars 2 -- The Wondrous Workshop of Toymaker Tixx
Here's a bonus track for today's column and a really new entry into the Christmas MMO music genre. For this year's Wintersday, Guild Wars 2 is treating us to a slew of new songs, including this treat. It's a light, delicate piece with the piano and tinkly bells taking the center stage. More than anything, it kind of sounds like a snowglobe song, which I'm sure was the intention.
Merry Christmas everyone and see you in the new year!
MMOs aren't just about looks; they also have great soundtracks that often go unnoticed. Heroes don't stand for that! Every Tuesday, Jukebox Heroes will check out a game's soundtrack and feature the best tunes to share and discuss. Your DJ for the hour is Justin Olivetti, and the request line is open!