Best Video Game Song Tournament, 1996-2000: Playoffs, Round 3 (Part 1 of 8)

It’s round 3 of the playoffs! 256 songs remain, and will face off in groups of 32 per day. No more byes, so all the heaviest hitters are here!

Since it’s the playoffs, groups will be active until 9:00 am Pacific the day after they post, or for roughly 24 hours. You can listen to a playlist of today’s songs (in matchup order) here.

Or you can work ahead!

PLEASE LISTEN TO BOTH SONGS IN A MATCH BEFORE VOTING

Voting will be live until Friday, May 29th at 9:00am Pacific

Previous Round’s Results:

Final Fantasy VII
Those Chosen by the Planet
10 2 Command & Conquer: Red Alert Floating
Diablo Tristram 7 6 Suikoden II Opening
Snowboard Kids Big Snowman 2 11 Final Fantasy VII
Interrupted By Fireworks
Silent Hill Silent Hill Theme 9 3 Zill O’ll Fierce Battle
Persona 2: Eternal Punishment Battle Theme 7 5 Final Fantasy VIII The Oath
Banjo-Kazooie Freezeezy Peak 5 9 Final Fantasy Tactics Decisive Battle
Final Fantasy VII
Still More Fighting
7 6 Command and Conquer: Red Alert Hell March
Final Fantasy Tactics
Zalbag, the Holy Knight
6 7 Final Fantasy VIII Balamb Garden
Final Fantasy VII
The Nightmare Begins
5 7 Blade Runner (1997) Love Theme
NiGHTS Into Dreams
Amazing Water (Splash Garden)
8 3 Skies of Arcadia Opening Theme
Final Fantasy Tactics Team Making 9 2 Deus Ex Main Theme
The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time
Inside The Deku Tree
6 8 Moon: Remix RPG Adventure
226 46th Street (MoonDisc Version)
Chrono Cross Zelbess 5 8 Shenmue
Shenhua (Original Version)
Um Jammer Lammy
Fire Fire (Lammy Version)
6 7 Diddy Kong Racing
Darkmoon Caverns
Final Fantasy IX Terra 8 6 Quest for Glory IV
Dr. Cranium’s Laboratory
Super Mario RPG
Let’s Go Down the Wine River
7 8 Sonic Adventure Theme of “Tikal”

We’ll get into this stuff more in the Fun Stats, but Chrono Cross’s loss to Shenmue is the first time any of the 20(!) playoff Chrono Cross songs has lost. One round away from perfect, but still a ridiculous accomplishment.

Fun Stats About The Top 256

Spoiler

Stats will be available soon! They will also be attached to tomorrow’s post.

Top 256 by group:

I’ve decided listing this out by raw number isn’t interesting; for me at least, the point of tracking groups is to see if “reputation” holds out, ie do the groups that started with the biggest shares stay that way, or do the “weak” groups hold their own? So I’m tracking this in Sheets here. I’m listing group representation as a percentage; for each round, every group “should” have ~4.55%. Groups above that number are overperforming (highlighted green), groups below are under (red). I’m also using lighter shades for groups that fell but are still above 4.55%, and groups that rose but are still below.

The proportions we started with are well and truly scrambled now. There is no longer a noticeable bias in favor of early groups over latter. Some early groups have been green the whole way through, suggesting that they might have been legitimately strong. Group 11 has managed to grow every time despite starting from a pretty strong place; I think that might have been our strongest group.

Top 256 by game:

(Songs in bold lost at least half their nominees this round. Songs in bolded italics lost at least two thirds)

  • 19 songs:
    • Chrono Cross [-1]
  • 18 songs:
    • Final Fantasy VII [-9]
  • 12 songs:
    • Moon: Remix RPG Adventure [-8]
  • 11 songs:
    • Final Fantasy VIII [-3]
    • Final Fantasy IX [-4]
  • 10 songs:
    • Castlevania: Symphony of the Night [-3]
  • 9 songs:
    • Final Fantasy Tactics [-8]
  • 8 songs:
    • Super Mario RPG [-10]
    • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time [-3]
  • 6 songs:
    • PaRappa the Rapper
  • 5 songs:
    • Brave Fencer Musashi [-3]
    • Parasite Eve [-1]
    • The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask [-5]
    • Xenogears [-9]
  • 4 songs:
    • Banjo-Kazooie [-9]
    • Jet Grind Radio [-3]
    • Super Mario 64 [-2]
  • 3 songs:
    • Einhander [-3]
    • Kirby Super Star [-1]
    • Mario Kart 64
    • Pokemon Red/Blue [-6]
    • Sonic Adventure [-5]
    • Vagrant Story [-1]
    • Wild Arms 2 
  • 2 songs:
    • Diddy Kong Racing [-3]
    • Grandia 
    • Grim Fandango
    • I.Q.: Intelligent Qube 
    • Legend of Mana
    • Persona 2: Innocent Sin [-1]
    • Radical Dreamers [-1]
    • Rockman & Forte
    • Skies of Arcadia [-3]
    • Sonic 3D Blast (Genesis) [-2]
    • Sonic 3D Blast (Saturn)
    • Space Channel 5
    • Star Ocean: The Second Story [-3]
    • Suikoden II [-1]
    • Wild Arms [-1]
  • 1 song:
    • Ace Combat 2
    • Afterlife (LucasArts) [-2]
    • Baldur’s Gate
    • Blade Runner (1997) 
    • Breath of Fire III
    • Buck Bumble
    • Bushido Blade
    • Descent 2 [-3]
    • Deus Ex [-2]
    • Diablo [-1]
    • Diablo II [-3]
    • Discworld 2
    • Donkey Kong 64 [-2]
    • Enemy Zero [-1]
    • Gabriel Knight 3: Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Damned
    • Jazz Jackrabbit 2 [-1]
    • Kirby’s Dream Land 3 [-1]
    • Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards [-4] 
    • Koudelka [-1]
    • Lunar Silver Star Story Complete (1998)
    • Marvel vs Capcom [-3]
    • Marvel vs Capcom 2 [-1]
    • Medal of Honor Underground
    • MegaMan X4 
    • Metal Gear Solid [-1]
    • NiGHTS Into Dreams [-3]
    • Omikron: The Nomad Soul [-1]
    • Outlaws [-1]
    • Panzer Dragoon Saga [-1]
    • Paper Mario
    • Persona 2: Eternal Punishment [-2]
    • Phantasy Star Online (JPN)
    • Planescape: Torment [-1] 
    • Resident Evil 2
    • SaGa Frontier II [-2]
    • Seaman
    • Shenmue [-2]
    • Silent Hill [-1]
    • Skullmonkeys
    • Sonic R [-1]
    • Street Fighter 3: 3rd Strike
    • Street Fighter Alpha 2 Gold [-1]  
    • Super Smash Bros. [-3]
    • System Shock 2 
    • Tactics Ogre (PSX) 
    • Tekken 2 
    • The Curse of Monkey Island [-3]
    • The Misadventures of Tron Bonne
    • The Neverhood [-2] 
    • The Operative: No One Lives Forever
    • The Pandora Directive
    • The Sims [-1]
    • Threads of Fate [-2]
    • Twisted Metal 2
    • Ultima Online
    • Um Jammer Lammy [-4]
    • Valkyrie Profile [-2] 
    • Wave Race 64
    • Wipeout [-1]
    • Yoshi’s Story
  • Remember The Fallen
    • Alundra
    • Bahamut Lagoon [-2]
    • Banjo-Tooie 
    • Blast Corps
    • Bomberman Hero [-2]
    • Command & Conquer: Red Alert [-2]
    • Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun
    • Daikatana
    • Dark Cloud (JPN)
    • Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers [-2]
    • DX-Ball 2
    • Dynasty Warriors 2
    • Fallout 2 [-2] 
    • Forsaken (PC)
    • Glover
    • Goldeneye 007 [-3]
    • Gran Turismo
    • Guilty Gear [-3]
    • Half Life [-2]
    • Interstate ’76 [-2]
    • Klonoa – Door to Phantomile [-2]
    • Langrisser V: The End of Legend
    • Leisure Suit Larry: Love for Sail!
    • Living Books (series)
    • Mega Man 8 [-3]
    • Mischief Makers 
    • Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon
    • Quest for Glory IV
    • Quest for Glory V: Dragon Fire
    • Pokemon Pinball [-2]
    • Pokemon Silver/Gold [-2]
    • R4: Ridge Racer Type 4 [-2]
    • Revelations: Persona
    • Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure [-3] 
    • Riven
    • SaGa Frontier [-3]
    • Samba de Amigo (Dreamcast)
    • Snowboard Kids
    • Soul Edge [-2]
    • Space Station Silicon Valley 
    • Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage!
    • Starcraft [-2]
    • Star Fox 64 
    • Star Ocean [-2]
    • Tetris Attack [-2]
    • Tex Murphy: Overseer
    • The Last Express
    • Unreal Gold
    • Vandal Hearts
    • Vigilante 8: 2nd Offense
    • Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal
    • Wipeout 2097 [-3]
    • Wipeout 3 [-2]
    • YU-NO: A Girl Who Chants Love at the Bound of this World [-2]
    • Zill O’ll

Despite suffering its first loss in the final day of the last round, Chrono Cross has become the new clubhouse leader, passing Final Fantasy VII by 1 song. 

We’ve also had some paper tigers suffer massive losses. Super Mario RPG lost the most in absolute terms, with 10 of its 18 songs falling. But Xenogears, Banjo-Kazooie, Pokemon Red/Blue, Sonic Adventure, Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, and Um Jammer Lammy have also suffered noticeably disproportionate losses. I take at least three of those as personal slights. 

But while leaving it to Lammy might be a poor strategy, belief is undefeated. PaRappa the Rapper is at 6 songs, same as it was in Round 2, Round 1, and after nominations. Not a single PaRappa song has left this whole tournament! A very impressive accomplishment for a multi-song game. We’ll see if the young pup on the block can keep it up. 

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