Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

An Ode To Gaming Music

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the how-do-i-love-thee? dept.

Music 46's never ending flow of excellent features has turned up a piece celebrating gaming music at its finest. The article delves into the past of gaming music and talks about the realities of today's soundscape. From the article: "Along with Space Channel 5's tracks, Katamari Damacy is one of the best examples of what musicians are doing with compressed audio today. Each song is lengthy enough so as not to repeat itself during the 5 to 6 minute stages in the game, and composer Yu Miyake let his imagination run riot, running the gamut of musical styles from introspective electronic music to big-band swing to power ballads to lounge singing. Just like its namesake, the disparate styles all clump together to form something awesome that's worth experiencing even outside the context of the game. "

cancel ×


Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

As a snes gamer (4, Interesting)

BlackCobra43 (596714) | more than 9 years ago | (#13123946)

I could listen to the OST to Final Fantasy 6 for hours. Same for Chrono Trigger. Those games had rich soundtracks. It's good to see some modern games still have "the touch" when ti comes to making great gaming music.

Re:As a snes gamer (4, Insightful)

lanswitch (705539) | more than 9 years ago | (#13124181)

if you love music, and want to make a decent living as a musician/composer you'll have to go to the games industry. they are looking for good, and sometimes even original music because they know that good music will make the game look better. Record companies are usually not interested in music, they are interested in selling cd's (or mp3's).

are you stating this from experience? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13124918)

have you or an acquaintance found success making music for video games?

Re:are you stating this from experience? (3, Interesting)

lanswitch (705539) | more than 9 years ago | (#13125199)

No, i read it in a magazine for pro- musicians. They gave this as an advice for aspiring pro's who are trying to get into the business because they love music. It's a (relatively) well-known fact in the business that (large) record companies are only interested in concepts, not bands or music. it's far more profitable for record companies to sell britney spears to children, than trying to discover the next beatles. If you want to sell your music without selling out, you have a far better chance in the game industry because the people over there actually listen to the music itself. you don't have to be a mtv-artist when you write game soundtracks, it's all about the music.

Re:As a snes gamer (1)

fwice (841569) | more than 9 years ago | (#13124310)

Completely dead on. I listen to the FF6 soundtrack at work (even now, I'm listening to it) and I continuously have my coworkers commenting on how beautiful the music is. Wonder if they'd say the same if they knew it was from a 16-bit videogame :]

As far as some other amazing gaming soundtracks go:

Mega Man games on the NES had some awesome music. Especially Mega Man 2 and 3. If you want to here some really nice tracks, find Project X's remixes of those two. Amazing work.
Earthbound / Mother 2 -- Amazing music from an amazing game. Had all starts of style -- swing, jazz, love, r&b, melodies
Donkey Kong Country / DKC2 -- phenominal music. Amazingly done by Dave West & crew. The tunes made you feel like you were in the jungle (or water, or cave, etc). And Each had a different style, and the track names made it cool (Simian Segue, Krool's Kakophony (sic), dk island swing) If you like the DKC music, look up 'kong in concert'. I think its on overclocked.

( sorry for the quality of the post, using lynx at work doesnt make things all to easy :] )

Re:As a snes gamer (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 9 years ago | (#13125513)

A few steps to a decent video game music expeirence. (For older games, that is.)

  1. Grab the MIDIs [] for your favorite game.
  2. Grab Timidity++ []
  3. Grab the Musica Theoria 2 [] soundfont, and the Timidity++ sample map for it []
  4. Convert your MIDIs to the audio format of your choice.

Re:As a snes gamer (1)

wickedj (652189) | more than 9 years ago | (#13125934)

FF music in general is pretty cool. If you haven't heard of Celtic Moon [] , you might want to give it a listen. Secret of Mana had some really good music as well. Same as Castlevania: Symphony of Night. I second on Chrono Trigger (my fav SNES game). Schala's theme was one of the most incredible theme's I've ever heard. FF6's Opera was incredible too.

aah ... (1)

thhamm (764787) | more than 9 years ago | (#13123948)

... gamemusic ... especially old games. sid tunes et al. always nice, if nectarine [] is playing giana sisters. :)

Monkey Island (2, Insightful)

spot35 (644375) | more than 9 years ago | (#13123982)

All four have the best soundtracks in any game I've played. And the iMuse system is excellent.

run riot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13124005)

I'll probably come across sounding provincial, as I know that just because I've never heard an expression before doesn't mean its not real, but is that a valid phrase? Shouldn't it be run wild?

Re:run riot? (1)

lanswitch (705539) | more than 9 years ago | (#13124263)

the expression (something that expresses or communicates) is really (in actual truth or fact) quite (actually; really) common (frequently used).

Re:run riot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13124332)

Thanks for answering my question without making me feel dumb (stupid, uneducated).

Repetition (1)

Miros (734652) | more than 9 years ago | (#13124013)

What gets to me sometimes is a game with really solid music, which just plays the same songs from the soundtrack over and over again until you learn to hate them, or turn the music off.

That being said, things are definitely improving, especially towards rules about how many times a given song should play.

Wow, Sugiyama (1)

ZakuSage (874456) | more than 9 years ago | (#13124064)

I'm kinda suprised that article had such a large bit on the side for Koichi Sugiyama. As a North American Dragon Quest fan, I really do find his work is extremely under-apriciated. Most of it is absolutely beautiful stuff. In fact, I was playing Dragon Warrior 7 one day and my... less then half-senile grandmother was extremely impressed by the music of the game.

1up = aggravating (4, Insightful)

Perseid (660451) | more than 9 years ago | (#13124085)

Perhaps I'm being a bit hard on whoever wrote this article, but I don't think someone who doesn't truly know the history of video game music should be writing an article on video game music.

The first multi-channel sound chip was not that of the NES, it was of the C-64. In fact, the 64 was the first machine to really call attention to video game music, and it was the first to form a following of video game composer celebrities, such as Rob Hubbard and Ben Daglish.

90% of you don't care, but I find it just silly to write an article on game music without mentioning the SID chip

Re:1up = aggravating (1)

thhamm (764787) | more than 9 years ago | (#13124132)

composer celebrities, such as Rob Hubbard

just thought the same thing. for me, Chris Huelsbeck [] shouldn`t be left out here too.

Re:1up = aggravating (1)

thhamm (764787) | more than 9 years ago | (#13124194)

without mentioning the SID chip

and i was somewhat dissapointed when games switched to mp3 soundtrack. i kinda liked my SID, OPL and AWE chips :)

Re:1up = aggravating (2, Informative)

dstone (191334) | more than 9 years ago | (#13130400)

The first multi-channel sound chip was not that of the NES, it was of the C-64.

The C-64 had (and still has) some really amazing and distinctive sound. But if by multi-channel you mean stereo, then you're wrong. The C-64's SID is not a stereo chip. (You hack 2 into a C-64 and have a crude form of stereo, but that's true of any mono chip.)

And if by multi-channel you mean polyphonic then the C-64 was also not the first -- even the VIC-20 had multi-channel sound before the C-64. The VIC used the MOS Technology "VIC" chip before the C-64 used the MOS Technology 6581 "SID" chip. The VIC had 3 channels of square-wave sound (one oscillator per channel) and one noise channel. No enveolope control or filter, but still very much multi-channel and fun to listen to. (The VIC was also very similar to the POKEY chip from the Ataris and many arcade machines of that era also.)

More on the SID here []
More on sound chips here []

Re:1up = aggravating (1)

Deraj DeZine (726641) | more than 9 years ago | (#13131475)

If you got the Sound Automated Mouth to dictate that post, I think more people would listen. (1)

p0ppe (246551) | more than 9 years ago | (#13124110) [] - old school gaming music.

NWN (2, Interesting)

ike6116 (602143) | more than 9 years ago | (#13124133)

IMO the best music I have ever heard in a game came from Jeremey Soule [] he did the music for Neverwinter Nights.

Secret of Evermore (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13124558)

Jeremy Soule also composed the music for Secret of Evermore for the SNES. Very excellent stuff, despite what you think of the game (I happened to love it!).

Re:NWN (1)

kaellinn18 (707759) | more than 9 years ago | (#13124701)

His credits also include Morrowind and Knights of the Old Republic.

I absolutely love the opening theme to Morrowind, and it's a shame that it's so short.

Re:NWN (1)

PeteyG (203921) | more than 9 years ago | (#13126037)

Jeremy Soule is awesome. Try giving a listen to Jupiter from Holst's The Planets. It is like a longer, more bombastic version of the Morrowind title music.

Speaking of Game Soundtracks... (1)

aNonniMouse (901548) | more than 9 years ago | (#13124201)

I can't get enough of the soundtrack from the game The Neverhood. Anyone else with me? I first played that game about 5 years ago after getting it from the library and the songs stuck with me day after day, but after looking in to purchasing the game off of eBay (it was out of print even back then), I realized I wasn't willing to spend so much money for it, let alone buying the soundtrack (which was going for about $60). A couple years down the road, the artist made a compilation CD with The Neverhood, Skullmonkey's, and BoomBot's soundtracks all on two CDs. For $20! Aaaah... glorious!

Simple and Clean (1)

vethia (900978) | more than 9 years ago | (#13124249)

I have to say my 'soundtrack favourite' vote still goes with Kingdom Hearts right now, but the old repeating tracks from the Sonic games on the Sega have a special place in my heart. Metropolis Zone, anyone? Mystic Cave? Also great to DDR to, if you've got the equipment and the files.

Re:Simple and Clean (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13124515)

Yep, I love the Sonic music and several of the OC Remixes done of it are really nice as well.

favorites (2, Interesting)

owlman17 (871857) | more than 9 years ago | (#13124282)

Music from the 80s Bard's Tale trilogy were classics. And you could even choose. This was from a time when music was rare on PC games. (Before Adlib/soundblaster came out.)

On a more recent note, I enjoyed the industrial cuts from C&C, KKND2 and Quake. The terran themes from Starcraft are also cool. I sure wish AAA gaming companies regularly came out with soundtracks that accompanied their titles, like OSTs for movies, so I wouldn't have to go thru the extra step of painstakingly trying to extract them.

(Once in a while, I drive people crazy here at home by playing the background music of the Sims over and over. Makes the real thing seem like a game.)

Torrents aplenty (1)

Digital Vomit (891734) | more than 9 years ago | (#13124587)

Here's a site that lists a bunch of torrents for the complete soundtracks to various console and PC games: []

Console Music (1)

Digital Vomit (891734) | more than 9 years ago | (#13124712)

Might as well also mention the music section of Zopahar's Domain [] . A great source for emulated console music.

You can get plugins for media players like WinAmp from the same site.

Re:Console Music (1)

Mitchell Mebane (594797) | more than 9 years ago | (#13126047)

It's also worth mentioning that [] has a better SNES collection than ZD, and that Foobar 2000 Special [] comes bundled with plugins for many console music formats.

band that specialises in gameing music (3, Interesting)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 9 years ago | (#13124754)

They are a very popular band at the clubs here in Phoenix: []

They even have some MP3s you can download.

Re:band that specialises in gameing music (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13125080)

For those of you who enjoy the minibosses and other music incorporating videogame's into their music I would recommend checking out Machinae Supremacy [] , they even offer their music for download in Ogg Vorbis. :)

Re:band that specialises in gameing music (1)

MadMoses (151207) | more than 9 years ago | (#13133544)

Machinae Supremacy rock! Check out their guitar version of the Giana Sisters theme!

You can find & download this and C64 game song remixes from a lot of other artists at [] , the definitive guide to C63 remixes. There's also a webradio at [] !

Re:band that specialises in gameing music (1)

MadMoses (151207) | more than 9 years ago | (#13133551)

C63? Where's the edit button when you need one? ;)

What about no music at all? (2, Interesting)

nherm (889807) | more than 9 years ago | (#13124892)

Yes, vg music is very important to create the game atmosphere, but sometimes silence and some sound fx are enough...

I'm thinking on Half-Life I, sure it had an occasional music between stages, but for example the first monster scene (the tentacles), with the metalic sound of the beatings and the chewbacca-like roars were enough to keep the tension up.

Another example is duke3d. When I installed it I didn't set up the midi output, so I didn't know it had music during the game. It was not necessary at all.

Anyway, these two games are examples with good quality sound effects (echoes at closed rooms when shooting, ambient effects...). Maybe sound effects can replace music in FPS games, while in RPG games music can be more important.

Old sounds (1)

Gogo0 (877020) | more than 9 years ago | (#13124913)

I also enjoy video game music, but usually in a "different" form. A lot of people (myself included) are quite smitten with the SPC chip inside the Super Nintendo/SFC. I dont know why, but the music created with it, however limited, is something that people find attractive. I would take an SPC over a symphonic rendition of a song. Perhaps it is nostalgia...

Some of my favorite soundtracks (in no order):
Sonic 1, 2, 3, S&K
Megaman X(1)
Super Mario 64
Chrono Trigger
Final Fantasy 3U/6J
Super Mario RPG
Castlevania: SotN
Kirby Super Stars

Tetrisphere (1)

Bobtree (105901) | more than 9 years ago | (#13124926)

The Tetrisphere soundtrack by Neil Voss is awesome stuff. IIRC he did the audio engine for it (the standard N64 libs weren't up to the task), as well as the composition. I'd buy an album of it in a heartbeat.

Battletech 2 and 3 (1)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 9 years ago | (#13125287)

Had great CD music for gameplay. Stuff that I could listen too offline. Which btw came out in 1989 beating their examples.

What I see interesting in the music front is the different approaches taken in the mmorpg front. WOW does not play the music in combat while other games seek to "enhance" combat by adding music. Situational music is less of an enhancement to me as it tends to get repititous too quicky. Yet assigning music to areas works because it gives the player yet another method of identifying where they are (UO did this and subsequent games as well)

Being Familiar (1)

TrippTDF (513419) | more than 9 years ago | (#13125524)

Songs on the radio become hits simply because we hear them over and over. We might not even like them at first.

What effect does hearing these same songs over and over while we play make us actually like the music. I mean, if you DIDN'T play the game, but got the soundtrack, would you find it as enjoyable?

Re:Being Familiar (1)

The boojum (70419) | more than 9 years ago | (#13127048)

Yes. I have some soundtracks to games I've never played, but still find the soundtracks quite enjoyable. Of course, these are often from games in a series where I have played some of them, just not all of them. (e.g. Castlevania and Final Fantasy). So I'll admit that I'm predisposed to like them.

Ultima VI (1)

Pinkoir (666130) | more than 9 years ago | (#13126327)

I think my alltime favorite game music is the Dungeon music from Ultima VI. I figured out how to play the melody on the piano and pissed off my Mom by playing it all the time. Anybody know where a torrent of such a thing would exist? I feel in the mood for some nostalgia.


Total Annihilation and Homeworld... (1)

Richard Steiner (1585) | more than 9 years ago | (#13128599)

TA's music was great. It would change as the action changed, and really big battles seems to result in really cool orchestral numbers blasting out of the speakers.

Homeworld's music really seemed to add to the atmosphere. Not just the stuff that Yes wrote for the game, but the spooky space sounds and stuff made things seem really empty and echoey and kinda peaceful...until those damned enemy destroyers popped up out of nowhere and started splashing my harvesters with those big deathray things! Die, die, you bastards! Clickclickclickclick! :-)

I leave the music on for Arcanum. (1)

tdelaney (458893) | more than 9 years ago | (#13130239)

I usually turn the music off in games because it annoys me, but there is one game I always leave it on for - Arcanum.

The music is absolutely perfect - I often find myself da-da-da-da-da-da-ing it when I'm not playing the game.

Some of my favorite soundtracks include... (1)

PapagenoX (847958) | more than 9 years ago | (#13130807)

Myths I and II, Interstate '76, The Operative: No One Lives Forever and finally, an old-school choice: Super Mario World.

Star Control 2 (1)

ephedream (899351) | more than 9 years ago | (#13133210)

Anyone played Star Control 2? Came out in 1992 and had some great music made by some well known MOD music composers. I still listen to it sometimes... brings me back. It really added a distinctive atmosphere and feel to the game that it wouldn't have had otherwise.
Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>