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Video Game Music

Posted 01-10-2012 at 12:05 PM by Venks
Updated 05-15-2019 at 05:38 AM by Venks
I haven't been on OWF in a while. But what better way then to come back then to write a blog!

There is a certain question I've been asked a good many times in my life that I have not been answering correctly. That question being: "What kind of music do you listen to?" In my past I would always answer: "I don't listen to music." And well this is just not true. I do in fact listen to music, but the genres I'm usually provided do not really fit. The type of music I listen to is video game music.

It's not that I'm opposed to other types of music. My family has a truly diverse interest in music. Ranging from hip hop to classical. I'm more then happy to appreciate this music when I hear it around me. Though to be honest I do usually stray away from music with vocals. Not that I abhor it, but I do prefer to hear the actual instruments and beats more then I care for the words being said over them. Though silly songs such as those by Weird Al Yankovic can sometimes provoke me to sing along.

I may turn up the volume for whatever is on the radio as I'm driving somewhere, however, what I enjoy listening to is video game music. When I'm programming away or doing some chore around the house I like to play the original soundtrack of Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney or Earthbound. Now and then I really get absorbed into the music and lose myself in memories of playing the title where the music I'm listening to originated from. A great way to get myself pumped to completing a task is listening to Sonic Adventure 2's theme for City Escape. The music is great in and of itself, but the memories of perfect tricks off of ramps and well timed homing attacks are quick to make me inwardly smile.

Then there is just the fact that video game music is very impressionable. Mario is a great example. A lot of people who haven't even played Super Mario Bros will easily recognize the music from stages 1-1 and 1-2. The combination of music reused in different parts of a game and the fact the music itself is usually not that long of a loop causes you to hear it over and over again. Have you ever played Super Mario Bros 3? Try listening to literally one second of the themes to stages on the first world and then humming out the rest. I bet you'll be surprised how much you remember.

Now just because video game music is impressionable and more then likely has memories attached to it doesn't mean the actual compositions of sound can't stand on their own merit alone. I personally find Megaman 2's Crash Man theme and Castlevania Symphony of the Night's 'Dance of Pales' to be outstanding music that I would highly recommend to anyone. In fact both of those games just have amazing soundtracks all around. While recommending music let me also sneak in Star Fox's Corneria theme. Star Fox is so due a new installment in the franchise.
Anyways, I must ask, what kind of music do you like?
Total Comments 23


Jordan's Avatar
I'm exactly the same as you. I listen to a few bands, but video game music seems to always mean more to me.
Posted 01-10-2012 at 12:43 PM by Jordan Jordan is offline

OddjobAbe's Avatar
There is, in my view, no such thing as video game music. Your view of the music may be influenced by the video game it was composed for, but it is possible to categorise the music (however broadly) more conventionally in order to communicate to others what you do listen to should the need arise.

There is no better music than instrumental music (which also includes music with vocals, but not the vocals you refer to here which you might find in a pop song - listen to some Boulez or even some Webern if you want to hear a fantastic "instrumental" use of the human voice), and it's great that you appreciate it.
I would like to recommend to you the works of Frank Zappa, a contemporary classical composer/rock guitarist whose output consists largely of instrumental music which might in its complexity resemble some of the music you like from video games. A good example is the instrumental interlude from the middle of Inca Roads which utilises rapidly changing time signatures and then settles on 7/16 time (similar rhythms also prevalant in Big Swifty). And in terms of fantastic orchestral music, Mo 'n' Herbs Vacation and Get Whitey.

Allow me to also recommend the works of Debussy, who I view as the link between classical music and 20th century orchestral music (if nothing else the piano solo La soirèe dans Grenade).
Posted 01-10-2012 at 12:47 PM by OddjobAbe OddjobAbe is offline

Crashpunk's Avatar
I adore Video Game music too, I cannot begin to name all the tracks I love the most but Nintendo games really do have the best soundtracks out of any other game series without a doubt.
Mario, Zelda and Animal Crossing are games that its music really stick out for me. Mario really is a good example of great game music. The tracks are really iconic and dead catchy. Zelda's music is really beautiful and actually is part of the gameplay which I always thought was really neat. And Animal Crossing's music changes every hour and each tune relates to the time of day.

aside from Video Game Music, I like Punk Rock and Metal. My favorite bands are Killing Joke, Sex Pistols, Green Day and Muse I can't stand Rap and Pop music. Chart music pretty much.
Posted 01-10-2012 at 12:54 PM by Crashpunk Crashpunk is offline

Mr. Bungle's Avatar
Video game music (that is, music composed specificly for a video game) is fantastic. Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger, Legend of Zelda and Elder Scrolls games all have fantastic scores.
Posted 01-10-2012 at 01:07 PM by Mr. Bungle Mr. Bungle is offline

MeechMunchie's Avatar

And growing all the time.
Posted 01-10-2012 at 01:17 PM by MeechMunchie MeechMunchie is offline

moxco's Avatar
I, and I assume other people, tend to develop a a fondness of certain music through familiarization; the reason, I assume, many people say they like video game music is because they can't help but to hear thus music whilst playing the game from which it originates. To second Oddjob, I don't think it's fair to lump all video game music in a single genre. There is a game called Eternal Sonata which features various pieces by Frédéric Chopin, a 19th century romantic composer, it would be rather unusual to label it's music as video game music.
Posted 01-10-2012 at 03:48 PM by moxco moxco is offline

Mudokon_Master's Avatar
I ADORE the Elder Scrolls games music. It's just beautiful.
Also, Castle Crashers and all 8-bit music.
Posted 01-10-2012 at 03:50 PM by Mudokon_Master Mudokon_Master is offline

Phylum's Avatar
Music in video games is making lots of people appreciate classical music without them knowing it. It's brilliant. I still have people tell me they dislike classical music after praising a game soundtrack that is largely classical.

I agree with Oddjob about the term video game music. People use the term as if it's a genre.
Posted 01-10-2012 at 09:03 PM by Phylum Phylum is offline

Mudokon_Master's Avatar
A lot of music I have on my hardrive makes me happy to listen to. It's mainly because of the game it originates from.
For example, the first time I discovered an area on Oblivion, a new music track played which enhanced my experience. Listening to that music again triggers the same memory, thus making me feel joy, excitement, mystery etc. It's amazing. I love video game music mostly because of that reason.
Posted 01-10-2012 at 09:13 PM by Mudokon_Master Mudokon_Master is offline

enchilado's Avatar
MM, I want to marry PPPPPP. And talking of Super Meat Boy's music, have you seen this?
Posted 01-10-2012 at 09:32 PM by enchilado enchilado is offline

Phylum's Avatar
It comes with fucking sheet music, too. Part of me wants to buy it and do some flute ensemble arrangements, but the other part knows I'll never finish. Hell, I'd probably never even start.
Posted 01-11-2012 at 02:20 AM by Phylum Phylum is offline

dripik's Avatar
I do like to listen to the music of video games - in fact, I listened to quite a lot of the Oddworld soundtracks (AO and AE) at work today. The job is a bit monotonous (more on that in a future blog maybe), so music improves the task - I discovered only today how good the Monsaic Lines track is for such occasions.

Other than the OW tracks, I enjoy game music like some of the original Starcraft tracks, Bully and others. Another case is when games use music which were not intended for games originally; e.g. the GTA series. My liking of the Russian band KINO comes from GTA4, which in turn resulted in me getting interested in Russian classic rock in general. I don't understand much from the lyrics (although I did start actively learning the langauge because of them), but there are some pretty good songs in this field which I enjoy solely for the sound of them.
Posted 01-11-2012 at 03:46 AM by dripik dripik is offline

MeechMunchie's Avatar
Originally Posted by ench
MM, I want to marry PPPPPP.
This may interest you. Jetpack not included.

Originally Posted by ench
And talking of Super Meat Boy's music, have you seen this?
Yes. Not particularly taken, if I'm honest. Especially from the guy who gave us this.

, I may buy a few tracks for the sheet music so I can use it for my accordion.

But have you seen me playing this on the bass? Well, of course you haven't. But I can.

Oh, and this isn't the one from the game, so don't ignore it.
Posted 01-11-2012 at 02:54 PM by MeechMunchie MeechMunchie is offline
Updated 01-11-2012 at 02:56 PM by MeechMunchie

Phylum's Avatar
That track from PPPPPPowerup is amazing. I don't normally really give chiptune stuff much of a chance, but PPPPPP at least is absolutely brilliant. It's really well written music. It's a pity I find the computerized sounds so offputting.
Posted 01-11-2012 at 07:04 PM by Phylum Phylum is offline

MeechMunchie's Avatar
I only started listening to chiptune last year, but quite like it now.

The reason that V suits a piano better than SMB is that SMB has multiple layers of radically different sounds, whereas V uses a few of pretty much the same sound (bung?) - like most piano music.


That was the start of Postitive Force.


Posted 01-11-2012 at 11:10 PM by MeechMunchie MeechMunchie is offline

Phylum's Avatar
I can live with the SMB soundtrack because it uses different sounds. It's the mono-timbre stuff that bothers me.
Posted 01-12-2012 at 12:55 AM by Phylum Phylum is offline

Venks's Avatar
So many awesome replies. I haven't heard a lot of the music you guys are listing and I gotta say this stuff is awesome.

As far as memory connections with music go I really love the tracks in Sonic 2 because it reminds me of playing the game with my great grandmother.
Posted 01-12-2012 at 02:15 AM by Venks Venks is offline

STM's Avatar
Mmm, game music can sometimes be really good, Binding of Isaac and anything by Mark Morgan are lovely...also, C418!!
Posted 01-12-2012 at 07:32 AM by STM STM is offline

MeechMunchie's Avatar
My soul belongs to Danny Baranowsky and 4mat.

Originally Posted by Venks
So many awesome replies. I haven't heard a lot of the music you guys are listing and I gotta say this stuff is awesome.
We have a thread for it.
Posted 01-12-2012 at 11:20 AM by MeechMunchie MeechMunchie is offline
Updated 01-12-2012 at 11:27 AM by MeechMunchie

Mr. Bungle's Avatar
Megaman. nuff said.
Posted 01-12-2012 at 06:23 PM by Mr. Bungle Mr. Bungle is offline

Phylum's Avatar
No it isn't. It's the tip of an enormous iceberg.
Posted 01-12-2012 at 10:01 PM by Phylum Phylum is offline

Hazel-Rah's Avatar
Check out the Rayman Origins soundtrack, I've loved chiptunes my whole life and never heard anything quite like it!
Posted 01-13-2012 at 05:00 AM by Hazel-Rah Hazel-Rah is offline

Chubfish's Avatar
I kinda feel the same way, that I would always say "I don't listen to music" but I have about hundreds of videogame OST's and whatnot on my desktop...Hypocritefish
Posted 01-13-2012 at 09:25 AM by Chubfish Chubfish is offline


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