These gorgeous new vinyl reissues are a must-have for gaming and ambient music fans

Colourful vinyl records displayed across a wooden record console
(Image credit: iam8bit)

I'm always on the lookout for interesting, off-beat vinyl records, reissues or second-hand gems. That's because attempting to rebuild my music collection by buying records regularly is a surefire way of going bankrupt within minutes (have you seen the price of records these days?!). So I've had to restrict myself to either buying a record once a month or splashing out only when I find something really special.

And that's why I was excited the moment it was announced earlier this week that iam8bit has released vinyl reissues of the soundtrack to some of Annapurna Interactive's incredible video games, including Donut Country, Sayonara Wild Hearts, Florence, What Remains of Edith Finch and Kentucky Route Zero

I've already preordered two: Florence and Sayonara Wild Hearts, both of which are fantastic games from independent studios, but where the music is as integral to the game itself (and much lauded by players and critics alike) as the visuals, storytelling and game mechanics. These vinyl soundtracks were all released a few years ago but very quickly sold out, so this surprise reissue is terrific news for video game fans and vinyl collectors alike who missed out the first time.

The preorders started on Thursday 27th with shipping due later this year, and while I wouldn't recommend dilly-dallying if you definitely do want a copy, iam8bit's Instagram comment suggests you shouldn't need to drop everything right this moment to bag one: "This preorder has a set quantity and is first come, first serve! But we made sure to restock a good amount." If you're a fan of any of these games, it's worth a look this weekend before it's too late.

We use a smorgasbord of music when testing all kinds of audio products here at What Hi-Fi?, from classical works to hip-hop to movie soundtracks and even music from video games. Video game soundtracks can range from the awesome might of the Bear McCreary-composed God of War: Ragnarok to the cheeky, playful hooks in Return To Monkey Island, and are great for testing your headphones or speakers' mettle. But on a day-to-day basis, beyond just for work, they are also fantastic for ambient, background listening or when you want to focus on working/writing/studying. (Check out the Stardew Valley soundtrack for a great mood lift.)

Florence and Sayonara Wild Hearts vinyl re-issues

(Image credit: iam8bit)

I adore Florence. It's a short but sweet narrative game that you can play in about 30 minutes, as you go through the 25-year-old protagonist's daily life and her new relationship with cellist Krish. The piano-led soundtrack is just as delicate and sweet, giving the conversational gameplay and mini-puzzles a poignant soundtrack, with the rich undertones of the cello adding depth and intensity to complement the more lighthearted tones. There's so much personality and presence in how the music scores the game, just as music does in a film or TV show to enhance and engage your emotions. The track Music, when Florence (piano) first hears Krish (cello) playing, has a lovely, heart-tugging melody full of promise. 

Sayonara Wild Hearts is the exact opposite, more of an explosive pop-soundtracked rhythm arcade game that you race through in a neon-drenched cosmic starscape. Conceived as a pop album in video game clothing, every fast-paced level is set to a different song. The synth-based, sparkling pop soundtrack is composed by a team of Swedish songwriters, musicians and producers (and we all know just how good the Swedes are at belting out modern pop bangers). Played through good speakers, the music is utterly enveloping and enchanting, with standout tracks like the fizzing, exhilarating Doki Doki Rush and a remixed Clair du Lune delivering one of the most dynamic and engaging game soundtracks of all time. It's little wonder the music was talked about, and captured as many fans, as the game mechanics when Sayonara was first released.

I've also heard fantastic things about Donut County... but I ran out of money before I could buy the vinyl. The snippets I heard of the soundtrack were full of playful ambient, pop tunes with surprisingly intricate, propulsive rhythms and dynamics that could be a great sonic workout. Maybe next month!

Of course, I would be lying if I said the beautiful artwork of the vinyl reissues wasn't a huge draw, too. The vinyl records and cover artwork themselves are beautifully presented, with each record echoing the individual visual style of the games. With video games being such a visual (and aural, as evidenced in these brilliant indie games) medium, it only makes sense that as much care is taken with these vinyl editions too. From the holographic foil-stamped gatefold packaging of Sayonara to the brown smoke vinyl pressing of Edith Finch and the original game artwork you get with each edition, they are lovely bits of physical media that I can't wait to own and behold. 

Yes, it's expensive to buy records. Yes, it can be cumbersome to store compared with CDs or streaming. But I'm still very much of the opinion that nothing compares to owning your music and being able to keep it forever, and isn't it a nice bonus when it comes so beautifully and carefully presented with original artwork? As limited releases, they just feel special.

I can't wait to play and display the records when I eventually get them delivered in a few months' time, so I know it won't be money wasted. If you're a fan of the games or just want to explore interesting, exciting ambient music, these vinyl reissues are worth checking out. 


Check out the best video game soundtracks we love to use for testing

Check out the best turntables you can buy across all budgets

From voice to vinyl: how records get their groove

Kashfia Kabir
Hi-Fi and Audio Editor

Kashfia is the Hi-Fi and Audio Editor of What Hi-Fi? and first joined the brand over 10 years ago. During her time in the consumer tech industry, she has reviewed hundreds of products (including speakers, amplifiers, turntables and headphones), been to countless trade shows across the world and fallen in love with hi-fi kit much bigger than her. In her spare time, Kash can be found tending to an ever-growing houseplant collection and shooing her cat Jolene away from spinning records.