Welcome to Morning Music, Kotaku’s daily hangout for folks who love video games and the cool sounds they make. Today we have a special treat: music created by one-third of The Police for an adorable purple dragon. Listen carefully, or you could Spyro out of control.
Spyro the Dragon (playlist / longplay), released in 1998 for the original PlayStation, marks the first time video game music made me put down the controller and just listen. Until then I had only appreciated game music as part of the gaming experience, as integral as the graphics, gameplay, story, and goals. But there was something about the unique tunes on the Spyro soundtrack that left me sitting at the start screen, hesitant to hit a button.
That something was actually a someone. Developer Insomniac Games tapped composer Stewart Copeland, drummer for British rock band The Police, to create the musicscape for its fanciful fantasy adventure. Insomniac gave Copeland a build of the game so he could play through a few levels, getting a feel for Spyro’s tone and character. He used cheats, because a composer shouldn’t worry about dead dragons. And in the end, Copeland considers the Spyro soundtrack some of the best tunes he’s ever made.
I concur. Listen to this menu music. Tell me it doesn’t get you rarin’ to explore a fantasy world on purple wings.
Universal / Insomniac Games / FlippyAndSpyro (YouTube)
It’s those strings. Those borderline discordant, tinny strings. I can feel them in my teeth. I am not ashamed to admit I danced around my apartment in my underwear to this music. It was my jam. Maybe my first video game jam.
Copeland revisited his Spyro work for 2018’s Spyro’s Reignited Trilogy (playlist) remasters. It doesn’t have quite the same zing to it.
Activision / AlbirdVampPrince (YouTube)
Fortunately, the remasters give you the option to switch to the original tracks, so no harm, no foul.
Want to hear more of Copeland’s finest work? FlippyAndSpyro on YouTube put together a playlist of 47 tracks for your enjoyment. Share your thoughts, comments, and whatever else you’d like in the comments, while I redownload the Reignited Trilogy and play lest my music-induced dragonlust consume me.