Back in December, I watched and covered The Game Awards for the very first time. As I got the stream all set up on my iPad and finished up another story before the show began, I couldn’t help but notice that the powerful orchestra music during the show’s countdown made me feel like I was about to head into a vicious boss battle with swords at the ready. It made me want to get s**t done. I don’t think I have ever finished an article with such speed and focus as I did listening to that intro music.

You may recall Emily’s post back in January about how video game music helped her feel more energized during runs. If those upbeat, bada** boss tracks can give us energy and focus boosts, what else can video game music do? There are perfect video game soundtracks for those moments when you’d rather just chill out, too. Anything with slower, mellow instrumental vibes will do the trick to calm you down and make you focus on staying relaxed.

As it turns out, directing your focus is actually the whole point. Video game music is designed to create background noise and stimulate your brain without being too much of a distraction to gameplay. You have those same goals when you’re working or trying to achieve other real-life tasks, right? That’s why video game music is the perfect soundtrack for both relaxing and productivity.

My top five relaxing video game soundtracks

Personally, whether I’m trying to relax or stay productive, I like to listen to music without lyrics. Otherwise, I’ll get distracted. I mean, if “Wannabe” by the Spice Girls is playing in the background, I’m obviously going to sing along. I also like to pick slower, quieter songs, because big spikes in sound can startle me out of the zone.

Video game soundtracks are perfect for that criteria. Here are my go-to gaming songs for relaxation!

Animal Crossing: New Horizons – “2AM”

Maybe it’s the fact that I’m playing Animal Crossing at 2 in the morning, but every time the clock strikes 2 a.m. and I hear this tune, I’m instantly tired. It just sounds like everyone on the island is cozying up in bed and getting ready for a peaceful night’s sleep. Even if I want to take a nap during the day, this song is enough to lull me to sleep.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time – Title Theme

Pretty much the entirety of the Ocarina of Time OST is relaxing, but the title theme in particular is another favorite of mine. It just makes me feel zen. Plus, it brings on some major nostalgia, and that’s always a good thing in my book.

Super Mario Galaxy 2 – “Cosmic Cove Galaxy”

Again, both Super Mario Galaxy games have some really chill music. Who knew space could be such a vibe? “Cosmic Cove Galaxy” just sounds like something they’d play at the entrance to Heaven. I know I’m trying to stop Bowser from taking total control of the universe and all, but this song just makes me want to stop and floooooat through the galaxy.

Super Mario 64 – “Dire, Dire Docks”

Oof, this one has major nostalgia overload for me. Picture this: you’re sitting on the floor in front of the Nintendo 64 with Super Mario 64 loaded onto a crappy old TV on a Saturday morning. You’re just swimming through the bottom of the ocean, collecting coins with this relaxing piano jam in the background. And that sound when you pause the game because you think your mom is calling you? Gosh, even that’s relaxing.

Spyro 2: Ritpo’s Rage – “Autumn Plains”

Okay, there’s not a ton of relaxing music in Spyro, but the theme music for Autumn Plains in Spyro 2 has always stood out to me. This was always my favorite homeworld in the series because it’s just such a peaceful setting and there are so many places to explore. The Autumn Plains song doesn’t have much to it, but something about that steady pitch is calming.

You can check out these video game soundtracks and more in Ritual Motion’s Relaxing Video Game Music Playlist on Spotify. What’s your favorite relaxing video game track?