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Game Music Concerts Spread Gamer Culture

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the getting-the-notes-out dept.

Music 75

The Escapist, this week, is all about game music. A featured article by Kyle Orland touches on the phenomenon of game music concerts. That they're popular with gamers is unsurprising, but the piece also discusses the ways in which these events can make non-gamers aware of gaming's unique culture. From the article: "The most e-mails we get, oddly enough, after a show, will be from the mom who brought the neighborhood kids or the grandmother who brought the grandson or the girlfriend who got dragged there by the boyfriend. Those are the letters we get that go 'Wow, I never knew that videogame music was this powerful. I never knew that the graphics were this amazing. Thank you for turning me on to this thing. I get it now.'"

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Riight. (2, Interesting)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 7 years ago | (#17629916)

I believe the comment about video game music. I was interested in game music as a child, without really being interested in playing games through.

However, I don't buy the comment "I never knew the graphics were this amazing!" Non-gamers I know don't really care about graphics. Music has a universal appeal. Polygonal rendering does not.

Re:Riight. (1)

blackicye (760472) | more than 7 years ago | (#17630062)

As a child.. I think the extent of my interest towards game music was figuring
out a way to rip the buzzer out of my Apple IIGS and later on my 8080 ;)

Re:Riight. (1)

baldass_newbie (136609) | more than 7 years ago | (#17630212)

Heh, my attitude towards game music was shaped by getting my dad to stop playing Neil Diamond when we were playing Life or Monopoly.

Don't know that I will
But until I can find me
A girl who'll stay
And wont play games behind me
Ill be what I am
A solitary man
Solitary man

Re:Riight. (2, Insightful)

ElleyKitten (715519) | more than 7 years ago | (#17630432)

However, I don't buy the comment "I never knew the graphics were this amazing!" Non-gamers I know don't really care about graphics. Music has a universal appeal. Polygonal rendering does not.
Nongamers probably rememeber playing or watching someone play Pac-Man or Super Mario Bros. or something when they were younger, and that's what they think of when they think of games. Comparing that memory to, a full CGI from a modern Final Fantasy is quite a difference, so I'm not that surprised that they noticed it was pretty.

Re:Riight. (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 7 years ago | (#17630572)

The people I know who played Pac-Man despise modern games for lack of gameplay. They see graphics as a secondary feature.

For me, there's few games more entertaining than LiquidWar, CoreWars, and RealTimeBattle. Though I got a kick out of Final Fantasy 8. (Which is, oddly, considered by many to be one of the worst of the post-SNES FF games.) I don't play FPS games much, but I do alright in UT2K4.

And, of course, there's StepMania...

Re:Riight. (1)

psylew (733959) | more than 7 years ago | (#17631572)

The people I know who played Pac-Man despise modern games for lack of gameplay. They see graphics as a secondary feature.

The people who watched people playing Pac-Man might not care about the gameplay aspect, and might well be impressed by the pretty pictures. The grandparent has a point.

Re:Riight. (1)

ElleyKitten (715519) | more than 7 years ago | (#17632132)

The people I know who played Pac-Man despise modern games for lack of gameplay. They see graphics as a secondary feature.
I wasn't talking about people who liked Pac-Man. I was talking about people who saw other people play it, tried it and got eaten by ghosts without realizing what the point was and that has been their lasting impression of games. You know. Nongamers.

And FF8 as the worst of post-SNES Final Fantasies? That implies that the NES and SNES Final Fantasies were bad, when in reality the worst of them kicks the shit out of FF8 and then hides in shame for sharing a name with that flaming pile of dung. Sorry. You brought it up.

Re:Riight. (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 7 years ago | (#17632326)

I didn't mean to imply the NES and SNES FF games were bad. I loved the SNES Final Fantasy games. Final Fantasy III absolutely rocked. The next one I played was Mystic Quest. The puzzles in that game were great. I can't remember the others very well; all of the NES and SNES FF games were released before I was even a tween.

Re:Riight. (1)

7Prime (871679) | more than 7 years ago | (#17633574)

I think he meant that the 2D and 3D Final Fantasy's are different enough, demographically, visually, and from depth-wise (except for FF6), that they're tough to compare. And in a way, I agree. Oh, and you're full of shit, FFVIII is an amazing game. Some of the best character portrayal in video games, a very well devised scope (starts very small, and ends very large), a lot of subtlety, and far and away one of the best soundtracks. And the best thing about it, it's one of the first video games that dared to show the characters as normal people, whose entire lives didn't just revolve around completing a stupid plot.

Oh well, the war over FFVIII will never end. It's a love or hate kinda game, I've met many who love it (mostly older gamers), and many who hate it, not very many in the middle.

Re:Riight. (1)

ElleyKitten (715519) | more than 7 years ago | (#17634182)

I alwasy hear that FFVIII has such good charactorization, but I just don't remember any of it. I guess that's because my favorite charactor was Selphie (cuz she looks like me) and they kinda forgot to develop her after the beginning. I prefer games/stories with better developed ensemble casts than FFVIII had.

Re:Riight. (1)

tomservo84 (990233) | more than 6 years ago | (#17649368)

And FF8 as the worst of post-SNES Final Fantasies? That implies that the NES and SNES Final Fantasies were bad
No it doesn't. Where does it say ANYTHING about what came before? That's like me saying "Star Wars 1 was the worst of the second trilogy." That tells you NOTHING of what I thought of ANY of the first trilogy.

English can be a very confusing language. However, his statement was not confusing at all.

Re:Riight. (1)

7Prime (871679) | more than 7 years ago | (#17633358)

Actually, in my experience, in hard-core FF circles, FF8 is considered one of the strongest (it's my favorite in the series, btw). It was bound to turn a lot of people off, since it's much more character driven (rather than plot driven) and by the fact that younger boys think that "love stories are gay", also, it's skill/equipment system is a huge departure from the rest of the series.

I meet many many people who hate the game, but I find that most of them have only played a couple of games in the series, and almost always, FFVII is their favorite. There are many exceptions, no doubt, but a surprising number of the older FF fans (college and up) I run into put FF8 at the top of their list.

Re:Riight. (1)

ElleyKitten (715519) | more than 7 years ago | (#17633904)

I meet many many people who hate the game, but I find that most of them have only played a couple of games in the series, and almost always, FFVII is their favorite. There are many exceptions, no doubt, but a surprising number of the older FF fans (college and up) I run into put FF8 at the top of their list.
Well, I can be an exception for you. I'm out of college, have played every Final Fantasy (except XI. and Mystic Quest.), wasn't all that impressed with VII, and I hate VIII. I don't think love stories are gay (unless they are, which is fine by me) I just can't stand how they mutilated the gameplay. I hate drawing, I hate the junction system, I hate the odd equipment upgrade system, and I hate what they did to the limitbreak/trance/overdrive(what did they call it in 8?) system, and that made it an total bitch to get through. And it wasn't even that rewarding when you did get through. I won't harp on the plot since you basically said that wasn't its strong point, but the charactors weren't that interesting. They were at first, but about halfway though the game asshole Squall just decides he's in love with Rinoa, and all other development just ceases (except for the part where they find out they all have amnesia and grew up in the same orphanage, yeah that wasn't contrived). It's not that I don't like love stories. I love Tidus and Yuna, but in X they didn't suspend all development (plot-wise and charactor-wise) to focus on their undying love. Also, X's gameplay was not physically painful. I probably wouldn't complain so much about VIII's story if it had decent gameplay like the other FFs.

Re:Riight. (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#17635052)

You forgot to mention the autolevelling enemies that make it easier to beat the game at level 1 than level 99.

Re:Riight. (1)

ElleyKitten (715519) | more than 7 years ago | (#17635976)

You forgot to mention the autolevelling enemies that make it easier to beat the game at level 1 than level 99.
Actually, I found that a plus, since I hated leveling so much that I managed to wonder into the final dungeon at level 20. If I had to level up like I do in most FFs I wouldn't have gotten past Disc 1. Of course, I'm really not sure if getting through that game is a plus. Being able to debate fanboys wasn't worth that.

Re:Riight. (1)

mjhacker (922395) | more than 7 years ago | (#17636922)

FF8's storyline was trumped up and a little hokey. "Oh, imagine that, we all happen to be orphans that lived at the same orphanage, and the sorceress was our caretaker. Gee, that's inconvenient. GFs make us lose our memory, but even at endgame when we have all of them equipped, we seem to be able to remember things just fine."

FF8 wasn't a horrible game, but there are much better ones out there. FFVI, VII, Tactics, and XII FTW.

Re:Riight. (1)

JayBlalock (635935) | more than 6 years ago | (#17646608)

I basically agree with you about FFVIII, as a long-time fan of the series and JRPGs in general.

But know what really, REALLY ticked me off about it? It *could* have been the best of the series. It had so much going for it. Even with a little tweaking (and better tutorials) the junction system could have worked. (perversely, I like the idea that if you, say, junction your HP to Cura, suddenly you're hurting yourself every time you use a spell. Adds interesting strategy.)

But it was clearly rushed. It had loads of good ideas that weren't done well, and bad ideas that should never have left the drawing board. (*cough*ALIEN RIPOFF SEQUENCE*cough*) And, while I take flak whenever I propose this, *it focused on the wrong party.*.

If you think back over the plot of the game and the story of Laguna and his buds... his story is FAR more interesting and compelling than Squall's. (I actually got a little teary at the end, when he finally gets to visit his wife's grave) And he's a stronger, more nuanced character too. But he receives such little time in the actual game that most people don't even notice this. (hell, lots of people I know never even pieced his story together) And how many times do you have to replay it before you realize what his actual relationship to Squall was? (and why were they so coy about that point?)

The thing is, there wasn't enough Squall story to fill out 30 hours of gameplay. That's why you've got ridiculous digressions like the "we had amnesia!" twist or the Alien ripoff scene or the BLATANT "we're dragging this out to make you waste five hours in the Time Castle!" power-stripping at the end. If the game had been an equal balance of Squall and Laguna material, Laguna's stuff could have been fleshed out and Squall's story trimmed down to its relatively compelling core. Do it in alternating chapters like Arc the Lad IV did. Then have the two stories come together in the high-tech city near the end, since that's a perfect bridging point. Then all you need is an explanation for Ultimecia's actions -ANY EXPLANATION AT ALL- and it'd be a truly great, epic, unique story.

As it is, I have a real love-hate relationship to the game. It has so many MOMENTS and DETAILS that I just absolutely love. But the whole falls apart so miserably.

Re:Riight. (1)

Babillon (928171) | more than 7 years ago | (#17638228)

Honestly, I liked a lot of the things they did with FFVIII. I enjoyed the junction system, as it gave me something to mess around with (and ultimately abuse horribly*). The plot was so-so (though this is somewhat standard for Final Fantasy games), but what really killed it for me was the characters. If they weren't flat, they were extremely architypal. I couldn't for the life of me associate with Squall (which is wierd seeing as you're him for the majority of the game), and I'm getting rather sick and tired of having to suddenly loose the use of one of the main characters.

I used to adore the Final Fantasy series (noteably FFVII), but I've grown up and come to realize "Hey, these are really shallow games...". It might be that I'm just jaded, but I would like to have my Epic RPGs have a bit more depth to them. I did play a bit of FFXII, and was really enjoying what I had run in to so far (I rented, and ended up having to take the game back by the time I was on the Airship and had to fight the Judge dude somewhat near the begining). The characters were believable, and so far I hadn't been able to pinpoint a real badguy. Sure the Empire seemed like dicks, but only if you looked at them from the point of view of the young theif guy (I forget his name, so sue me). But, during the cutscenes with just Empire people, they don't seem nearly so bad (of course this is all just early game stuff, for all I know the Empire could be controlled by some extra-galactic being who challenges your party to a battle to the death at the very end of the game).

Re:Riight. (1)

7Prime (871679) | more than 6 years ago | (#17643470)

FF12 is great. I'm nearing the end of it now (I'm just doing all the hunts before going into the last part of the story). The one thing that works about it is that they pulled back and made it fairly impersonal, which has its pros and cons. For one, EVERY console RPG I've ever played has some hokeyness about it, that I just have to put aside (I was able to do that with FF8, where some people are not... I wasn't able to do that with FF7, though), but FF12 had the least amount of any game I've played. Unfortunately, I'm not as awe-inspired or drawn to the game, since I'm not all that emotionally involved with the characters. Sure, Balthier is fun, Ashe is intense, Panelo is wise but carefree... but there's a level of separation that I'm not as used to in an RPG, and that I guess I desire. The problem is, so many RPGs have such BAD characterization, that it can completely ruin a game.

That said, it's gameplay is incredible, it's scope is amazing, and the antagonists are far and away the most human (although, I happen to really like Kuja, who was evil as hell, but still incredibly human to the point of pitty). At the point I'm at in the game, I would actually PREFER the "bad guys" to win, as I think they have a better grasp of what all is going on. I've never felt that way before in an RPG. Vayne may have a fairly unethical way of going about doing things, but his motives are quite pure.

FF12 is so incredibly different from the rest of the series, that it virtually incomparable, and belongs in its own subgenre of RPGs entirely, so it's hard to rank it as compared to the rest. That said, its disconnectedness prohibits me from wanting to put it at the top of my favorites list. And honestly, Twilight Princess just toppled FF8 off the #1 spot, so it's not even getting GAME OF THE YEAR, in my book, but it's still easilly one of my top 5 favorites of the decade, so far.

Re:Riight. (1)

wheany (460585) | more than 6 years ago | (#17644436)

Please elaborate. How does Pac-Man have better gameplay than modern games? Can you give me some examples of good gameplay in Pac-Man and bad gameplay in some modern games.

Because franky I don't even understand what gameplay means. Over the years I've heard it's something that the modern games always seem to lack and old games have.

This post is not sarcasm. Someone define gameplay for me.

Re:Riight. (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 6 years ago | (#17644742)

For me, good gameplay means it's something I can apply my brain to in order to succeed, rather than depend on exquisite motor control and twitch ability.

Re:Riight. (1)

wheany (460585) | more than 6 years ago | (#17646300)

So slow-paced strategy and puzzle games (like Civilization and Mine sweeper) have good gameplay, while action games, like Super Mario Bros or Gradius or, to a bt lesser extent, Pac-Man have bad gameplay.

That really doesn't fit into "The people I know who played Pac-Man despise modern games for lack of gameplay."

Re:Riight. (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 6 years ago | (#17647630)

No, because they introduce strategies you can devise and employ to improve your scoring. In Super Mario Bros, you can use a turtle to kill multiple enemies. The bosses at the end of each level have a predictable pattern. In Pac-Man, you can lure all the ghosts in close just before grabbing a Power Pill.

I don't know about Gradius, though; I never played it.

Many modern games, especially FPS games, allow you to employ strategies as well. Their being fundamentally different (Predicting which power up your opponent will go after, for example.) from the strategies of yore makes them less appealing to people who played the classic arcade games.

The real issue, though, is that very few major game developer studios focus on improving gameplay possibilities, because there's more demand for expensive eyecandy. With all the development going into eyecandy, there's less time and money to spend on improving gameplay characteristics. That's why things like the introduction of CTF are so huge. How many popular FPS games do you know that don't incorporate CTF-derivative gameplay?

Re:Riight. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17643556)

I disagree. I showed my family Oblivion (they had fun with the character creator but got bored before finishing the tutorial), and the graphics are so good that people accept them as "real", then notice what looks wrong; they said various things looked weird. Comparisons with pac-man didn't cross their minds, they're comparing with reality.

Re:Riight. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17633954)

It's not just polygon pushing. Some video games have some actual asthetic beauty to them (Legend of Mana comes to mind)

Re:Riight. (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 7 years ago | (#17634300)

If you want a rich environment, I'd have to point you toward Secret of Evermore, a SNES game that had more believable maps and graphics than any Final Fantasy game I've played.

Spreading the love... (2, Interesting)

vG_NeSS_Vg (965577) | more than 7 years ago | (#17630082)

Anyone who wants to spread video game music to others should check out OcRemix. They have good mixes, and have created full albums of certain games, like Metroid and Chrono Trigger, and Doom. http://www.ocremix.org/ [ocremix.org]

Re:Spreading the love... (2, Informative)

Thansal (999464) | more than 7 years ago | (#17630302)

True, OcR is awsome, however most of their stuff is NOT waht is being talked about in TFA. People who have no interest in midi music files will likely also be uninterested in techno/rock remixes of them.

You did mention the best one if you want to get people interested in them, and that is probably Relics of the Chozo, the full album based on Metroid music. It is absoloutly beautiful.

I admit I havn't poked around much at OCR recently (I really should), and there are probably soem new stunners like Relics out there now.

The article is about somethign I had not previously known about. Full symphany productions with only video game music. Sure I have seen the ocasional joke where everyone launches in to the SMB theme, but rarely anything else. And yah, SMB by a symphony is fun, but it isn't really that interesting to non-gamers, where as a live performance of alot of the RPG titles WOULD be interesting.

I seriusly need to get some tickets to one of these performances.

Re:Spreading the love... (1)

EmperorKagato (689705) | more than 7 years ago | (#17630672)

"I admit I havn't poked around much at OCR recently (I really should), and there are probably soem new stunners like Relics out there now."

You should. There's a Latin version of Mega Man III - Needle Man stage, It sounds awesome.

Re:Spreading the love... (1)

_Hiro_ (151911) | more than 7 years ago | (#17631124)

There is a Symphonic Chrono Trigger remix that is done like a movie soundtrack.

It's absolutely amazing. A must-download!

Re:Spreading the love... (2, Informative)

robcfg (1005359) | more than 7 years ago | (#17630438)

Don't forget cool sites as http://remix.kwed.org/ [kwed.org] and groups like Press Play On Tape http://www.pressplayontape.com/ [pressplayontape.com] and Visa Röster http://livet.se/visa [livet.se]

Re:Spreading the love... (1)

kn0tw0rk (773805) | more than 7 years ago | (#17638602)

And dont forget Machinae Supremacy, especially their cover of Great Gianna Sisters title tune. Must admit the Visa Roster doing a cappella covers of Internation Karate was different but amusing. I confess I've been getting hold of the recording of the original SID tunes, as I played lots of the games on the ol' C64. Many good tunes & memories :) I wish that I could have gone to some of the retro gaming events in England to see some of these bands performing live, and one of them which had a light show setup by Jeff Minter (aka YAK), would have been a blast.

Drag people in the theatres by lowering standards? (1)

euice (953774) | more than 7 years ago | (#17630092)

I do not like classical music, because the atmosphere and the stories just don't fit into my life. But I have great respect for the art and complexity of this music.

Game music often just combines the worst of both worlds. Endless tragic moments which you can easily compose with an orchestra and the stupidity of mass compatible simple melodies.

So that's supposed to be popular? This will be over as soon as enough parents discovered that most of the music is just junk, despite of being played by an orchestra and as soon as the young discover that this isn't even the original.

Unless they are playing the classics, but hey, why is it called game music then? They could call it "advertising" music too, as most of the classics are in one or another commercial.

Re:Drag people in the theatres by lowering standar (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 7 years ago | (#17630170)

Very few people have the musical talent to recognize music as junk. That's why junk is so popular.

There are two reasons I collect video game music. Some of it is for nostalgic purposes, some of it is genuinely good.

Re:Drag people in the theatres by lowering standar (1)

euice (953774) | more than 7 years ago | (#17630400)

There are two reasons I collect video game music. Some of it is for nostalgic purposes, some of it is genuinely good.

Sorry, I didn't mean to say that all game music is junk. I really love some game music too, but almost all my favorites are electronic music and not played by an orchestra!

Most game music that uses an orchestra is just nothing compared to "real" classical music. So why listen to that when you can have the real deal?

Re:Drag people in the theatres by lowering standar (1)

amuro98 (461673) | more than 7 years ago | (#17631844)

Enjoying videogame music is no different than Enjoying movie, TV, or anime soundtracks.

The music helps you remember and relive those moments from that game/movie/show.

After all, who DOESN'T think of their favorite scene from Episode IV whenever they hear the main fanfare from the Star Wars theme? In fact, I bet there's a lot of people who can tell you what was happening on screen at the exact moment certain strains of music were playing.

Just because it doesn't contain the complexities of, say, Bach, or the melodic playfulness of Mozart doesn't change its emotional impact from within the game (or show/movie).

Re:Drag people in the theatres by lowering standar (1)

LordVader717 (888547) | more than 7 years ago | (#17631990)

Most game music that uses an orchestra is just nothing compared to "real" classical music. So why listen to that when you can have the real deal?


Wrong. Some of it is quite different, some of it is very similar to earlier movements. The way you just to put "real" classical music into one pot shows how you simply have no Idea of the variety of different approaches in classical music.

Re:Drag people in the theatres by lowering standar (2, Informative)

7Prime (871679) | more than 7 years ago | (#17634614)

Agreed. But partially, this is an error in terminology. "Classical" music, technically refers to a period of about 75 years of western art music in the 18th century that basically stems from Hydan to Mozart. Bach is the tail end of the Baroque era, and Beethoven is basically the grandfather of the Romantic movement, which turned its back on the black & white philosophies of the classical era. Unfortunately, we've used the term "classical" to refer to ALL western art music from the Baroque era forward. Many times, it's not a problem, but it does betray a certain elitist ideal toward a certain, very dated, era of western art music, that holds mathamatics above all else, even creativity.

Modern orchestral cinema music, and by extension, orchestral game music, is largely post-romantic art music seen through the lens of neo-classicism, impressionism, expressionism, jazz, and classic rock. Very little of anything out of this past century can be directly owed to Bach, and even less can be owed to Mozart. Probably, least of all, in art music, which largely regards Mozart as a formula composer with about as much innovation as a dime novelist.

There is really very little difference between today's movie music, and the Opera of the 19th century, or the Ballet of the early 20th century, which makes up a significant portion of highly recieved art music. Collaborative and multimedia efforts are not a new thing. For almost as long as there has been music, there have been visual counterparts to accompany it, in some form or another. Sergei Diaghilev's commissioning of Stravinsky to compose the music to his ballet, "The Rite of Spring", is no different from Fritz Lang's commissioning of Sergei Prokofiev to compose the music for his movie "Alexander Nevsky", Tim Burton's comissioning of Danny Elfman to compose the music to "Edward Scissorhands", or Sakaguchi's comissioning of Nobuo Uematsu to compose the music for the game "Final Fantasy."

The fact that the scope of the production has changed has little effect on the composer, as it is still largely written by one composer, working directly in conjunction with one director. As for the audience? Well, today's world is simply yesterday's concert hall.

Even the arguement condemning cinematic music is no different from that of Brahms' disavowing of all music that has any visual or literary counterpart. You may agree with Brahms, but as long as you can accept the legitimacy of the ballet (a vast plurality of well-known 20th century compositions are from ballets) you should not have any trouble accepting the legitimacy of the cinema or game score.

Re:Drag people in the theatres by lowering standar (1)

C0rinthian (770164) | more than 7 years ago | (#17635020)

It's nice to see someone who really knows what they're talking about here. I'd mod you up if I had the points.

Calling anything performed by an orchestra 'classical' is a pet peeve of mine. It makes as much sense as calling all video games 'platformers' even though there are several distinct genres of games.

Re:Drag people in the theatres by lowering standar (1)

G-Man (79561) | more than 6 years ago | (#17642356)

Agree with the overall comment, but a nit: "Alexander Nevsky" was directed by Sergei Eisenstein, not Fritz Lang. The movie? Dated and hokey, but as propaganda goes, it's good for a laugh - if you made a drinking game for every time a Hun commits an atrocity, or a Russian does something noble, you'd die of alcohol poisoning before the Battle on the Ice. "The Huns burned a baby...drink!" Prokofiev's score, on the other hand, is awesome.

Re:Drag people in the theatres by lowering standar (1)

7Prime (871679) | more than 6 years ago | (#17643404)

Lol, can't believe I made that mixup, but yeah, Nevsky is kinda hokey, although, it does have some good cinematography. The Battle on the Ice is still pretty incredible. But if you want REALLY hokey, try the other Eisenstein movie that Prokofiev did the score for, "Ivan the Terrible", which is absolutely atrocious, and the music isn't even all that interesting. Ivan is made to look threatening by having this gross, but long, little beard, and then freezing in stylized pozes with his eyes popping out at you. I could bearly finish it it was so bad.

Re:Drag people in the theatres by lowering standar (1)

Das Modell (969371) | more than 7 years ago | (#17634442)

Most game music that uses an orchestra is just nothing compared to "real" classical music. So why listen to that when you can have the real deal?


What the hell are you talking about? Videogame music and classical music are two entirely different things. Just because both use the same instruments doesn't mean that they're the same. You might as well say "why listen to Led Zeppelin when you can have the real deal by listening to Alice Cooper?"

Besides, all the classical music I've heard has been very boring, unlike videogame music.

Re:Drag people in the theatres by lowering standar (1)

euice (953774) | more than 7 years ago | (#17637004)

What the hell are you talking about?

Forgive my lack of explanation. The missing point here is, that I think that most game music played by an orchestra uses really well known composing patterns.

The games that do something new, or at least good, with an orchestra are really rare (as in, I've never heard it)

Re:Drag people in the theatres by lowering standar (1)

Das Modell (969371) | more than 7 years ago | (#17637518)

They're not meant to do anything technically innovative (who even cares), and it's not a competition.

Re:Drag people in the theatres by lowering standar (1)

FredMenace (835698) | more than 6 years ago | (#17643886)

Videogame music and classical music are two entirely different things. Just because both use the same instruments doesn't mean that they're the same.
True, but video game music is meant to accompany video games. Why go listen to it on its own, other than out of nostalgia? A lot of this discussion seems to be about trying to turn people onto game music for the music's sake. But why, when there is so much better music out there?

Besides, all the classical music I've heard has been very boring, unlike videogame music.
My response:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6e13bC2Gk2A [youtube.com]
OK, this may seem the least exciting of the clips to you, the most typically "classical music" with pretty meoldies and all, but I think it is beautiful and (to me) thrilling enough to include. No, it doesn't start off with a bang (in fact, the opening bit is quite trivial, kind of a canard, as the rest of the work isn't really based on it), but it's worth listening to, and the soloist certainly is worth hearing (and seeing). (You may find in life that a bit of patience is required to realize what you've been missing. This isn't overtly fast or exciting music, but... don't give up on it; try to watch the whole thing, including part 2 where most of the violin fireworks are, before going to the "exciting stuff" :-).) This is the first half of the 1st movement of Tchakovsky's Violin Concerto (it continues in part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Ym8KpznV08 [youtube.com] ), played by Midori with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra (Claudio Abbado conducting).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wrYVnSPRoAE [youtube.com]
This is an old (early-mid 60s?) video of Herbert von Karajan conducting the Berlin Philharmonic in the first movement of Beethoven's 5th Symphony (in one of the iconic, cinematic, somewhat megalomaniac videos they used to make of him - and since when do you use 8 horns in Beethoven 5??? Or 11 basses? But it is glorious, if hardly as "classical" as when the piece was written). This music may be familiar to you, at least in a superficial sense, but you have to get past the first 10 seconds: the point isn't the opening idea so much as what Beethoven does with that idea for the next 7 minutes. (Which is one of the main points about classical music - the development, not the initial idea, is what makes it great.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PqGJUeEZ80I [youtube.com]
This is a portion of Bruckner's 9th Symphony, played by the Vienna Philharmonic with Leonard Bernstein conducting. As someone points out in the comments: "(what's the) point (of) posting a minute from an hour long symphony"?, but you should be able to get some of the idea. (And yes, it is as loud as it seems. In a hall like the Musikvereinsaal it would be practically deafening, no amplification required.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_1XSVs9crc [youtube.com]
This is Leonard Bernsteinn again, conducting part of the finale of Tchaikovsky's 5th Symphony (with the Boston Symphony? Not in their usual concert hall though.). Bernstein has always been a little over the top (in very different ways from Karajan), but the effect can be incredible.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_dlpPzM6OC4 [youtube.com]
Some people might think the beginning of this clip seems a little "gay". But (you guessed it:) keep listening. Just a small bit from the end of a glorious, incredible 90-minute symphony: Simon Rattle conducting the City of Birmingham (UK) Symphony and Chorus in Mahler's 2nd Symphony. (And yes, in response to some of the comments: I always cry.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZ13hgvQWaI [youtube.com]
The "Nimrod" variation from Elgar's "Enigma" variations. (The variations are "portraits" of Elgar's friends, but he doesn't give their names, hence the "Enigma", though he also claimed there was another, deeper, mystery running through it that has never been definitively discovered; this variation depicts the bond of brotherhood with his closest lifelong friend.) Daniel Barenboim leads the Chicago Symphony (in Carnegie Hall).

I only wish I could find clips of the 1st movement of Mahler's 2nd Symphony, or the 2nd movement of Shostakovitch's 10th Symphony (and other parts), or... the list is kind of endless (thank goodness!).

(And I do apologize to those of you who know all this and just wanted to talk about game music. Now back to our regularly scheduled programming...)

Re:Drag people in the theatres by lowering standar (1)

Das Modell (969371) | more than 6 years ago | (#17645344)

True, but video game music is meant to accompany video games. Why go listen to it on its own, other than out of nostalgia? A lot of this discussion seems to be about trying to turn people onto game music for the music's sake. But why, when there is so much better music out there?


Why the fuck is it so difficult for some of you here to comprehend that others enjoy videogame music, even outside the game? Do you get out of bed every day and think "what the fuck man, how can some people listen to that shit?" And no, there is no "much better music out there" because you can't benchmark music and objectively determine that one is better than the other. I'm not going to compare a song from Megaman 3 with Tangerine Dream because that would be absolutely retarded, not to mention pointless.

As for nostalgia, I don't think it's really "nostalgia" when I listen to music from Guild Wars or World of Warcraft. You seem to have this notion that videogame music == "bleep bleep" from the year 1985. Your beliefs are so ridiculously outdated that you shouldn't even be commenting on the subject.

Re:Drag people in the theatres by lowering standar (1)

Achoi77 (669484) | more than 7 years ago | (#17631152)

initial offput associations of video game music from people that don't have a clue is that it is always some dude sitting in a room playing around with a synthesizer up untill he comes up with something 'cool,' and then proceeds to build it up from there. It's just a stereotype of a computer geek or programmer posing as a 'real' artist just so that something could be produced, to fulfill a gaping home. after all, you don't even know if the music is being made with a syntisizer at all, it could be just a series of nobs and whatnot, especially considering the majority of the time you are hearing the music, is out of your video game console, which "clearly are not real musical instruments."

I feel composers of video game music fall into the same realm as composers of movie music. Is it fair to say that someone like Nobuo Uematsu (who wrote all the music for final fantasy - including the old NES FFI) is not a 'real' composer, but John Williams and James Horner would be respected as such? Or perhaps Aaron Copland ("Appalachian Spring" as well as the "Beef! It's what's for dinner!" commercials, if you are not familiar), isn't he considered a 'real' composer?

The lack of respect for vg music clearly comes from the early context that video games are nothing more than entertainment for children, while movies are more oriented towards adults, or at the very least people of a certain maturity/education.

vg music is very much evolved back from the early days of the bleeps and zings the machines were capable of producing. It's mostly people that haven't bothered to watch the change in the video game era to see that evolution happen. I got a nongamer to listen to the music produced for the World of Warcraft promo trailers (like the recent Burning Crusade trailer, for example), and he was blown away, saying "jesus, is this a movie or something?"

Now, I'm not going to say that all vg music is like all good; there are clearly crappy vg music, just like there is clearly crappy music just like everything else. It just happens that the people remember music (composed for music's sake) based on it's own merit, and vg music has the fallback of being dependent on the video game to make it known. So an awesome video game is going to make that crappy video game soundtrack famous. Or infamous. But crapping musical compositions made long ago are going to disappear, because nobody wants to remember them in the first place.

Re:Drag people in the theatres by lowering standar (1)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 7 years ago | (#17631904)

initial offput associations of video game music from people that don't have a clue is that it is always some dude sitting in a room playing around with a synthesizer up untill he comes up with something 'cool,' and then proceeds to build it up from there.

That's pretty much the process by which all music in history has been written, except sometimes the synthesizer is replaced by a piano, or guitar, or harpsichord.

Is it fair to say that someone like Nobuo Uematsu [...] is not a 'real' composer, but John Williams and James Horner would be respected as such?

I would consider all three of them to be great soundtrack composers, but I'm not sure I'd want to listen to a piece of standalone non-programmatic music from any of them. Their specialty lies in being able to take a event or emotion expressed in another medium and create music that complements it extremely well.

Not to denigrate soundtrack writing as a 'lesser' form of music, though, it's just as valid as any other.

Re:Drag people in the theatres by lowering standar (1)

LordVader717 (888547) | more than 7 years ago | (#17631480)

I couldn't think of a more ignorant troll.
But maybe this will give you something to think about:

This will be over as soon as enough parents discovered that most of the music is just junk, despite of being played by an orchestra and as soon as the young discover that this isn't even the original.


Think of how much this applies to your favourite songs/musical style.

Re:Drag people in the theatres by lowering standar (1)

Nemetroid (883968) | more than 7 years ago | (#17632454)

I have been to one single concert in my life (I am 16), and I remember it as being pretty bland, mostly because I didn't recognize any of the musical pieces that they played. Last year, however, Play! A Video Game Concert came to Stockholm, but since I live a bit away from there I decided not to visit it.

However, when I heard the music that they had played, even though it had been recorded with a video camera, I immediately loved it since it both had the massive sound of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, and the lovely tunes of the games I've played. When tickets were released for a new concert this year, I had a ticket within minutes, even though I have 650 km to travel to get there.

I have no doubt I will enjoy it.

And oh, the music is partly arranged by, in the video game world, big names like Nobuo Uematsu, composer of the Final Fantasy music. So I wouldn't call it junk.

Re:Drag people in the theatres by lowering standar (1)

Cornflake917 (515940) | more than 7 years ago | (#17634730)

Game music often just combines the worst of both worlds. Endless tragic moments which you can easily compose with an orchestra and the stupidity of mass compatible simple melodies.

I don't know wtf you mean by mass compatible, but simple melodies are the foundations of great music. I've taken a music theory class, I've done a little bit of songwriting, and I've been playing music since I was pretty young. I can tell you one of the biggest mistakes beginner songwriter is making overly complex melodies when they don't need to be there.

Regardless, have you even listened to some of the soundtracks to video games that have been released today? They're hardly simple. And easily composing for an orchestra/symphony is an oxymoron. Blending dozens of different voices to create a desired effect/feeling without going outside the bounds of any insturments' abilities is never easy.

The environment has become hostile to orchestras (1)

Brunellus (875635) | more than 6 years ago | (#17646928)

The "classics" are used in commercials because the music itself is in the public domain. It's dicey to use any music from the last century or so for commercials since you're in the copyright-clearing minefield. If the rights holders are dead or hard to find, the cost of compliance goes straight up.

Given that, you're better off grabbing a bit of, say, Verdi (I'm thinking of his "Dies Irae" from his Requiem), and handing it to musicians, and using that. You'd own copyright on the *recording* and save all the trouble of clearing rights.

As far as the quality of music goes--there has been bad music since the dawn of time. But orchestral music has been suffering a massive decline in the West simply because people's attention spans are much shorter. Hollywood has known for a long time that 90 minutes is about as long as most people will sit still for anything. A night at the concert hall is much longer, and involves no flashy special effects or other distractions.

The audience, in general, is no longer equipped to understand or enjoy orchestral music. The commercial radio environment has relegated music to something that is played in the background. Radio stations--commercial ones at least--that play classical music stress its *soothing* qualities, thus encouraging people to listen passively, or, worse, hear inattentively.

Finally: musical education has been taking a hit for years. When was the last time you knew anyone who played the cello on a regular basis, or even the piano? There's plenty of beautiful music written for the traditional orchestral instruments, but if there's no one left to play the instruments, the music goes unplayed, unheard, and unappreciated.

Re:The environment has become hostile to orchestra (1)

euice (953774) | more than 6 years ago | (#17654818)

You are 100% right, this is the real problem of orchestral music nowadays. The audience is simply dying away and most people cannot appreciate it anymore. (I'm not really an exception to that)

And now we can discuss the real subject: Is it a good idea to play game music, just to drag young people to the orchestra?

There might be some benefits in doing this sometimes, because if there are at least some people who start getting interested in orchestral music, that would be a good thing.

But in the long run, it won't help anybody.

I'm from a family with a long tradition in music and my mother is working for an orchestra. She says: If there is no interest in that kind of music, even in the modern variations, you can't go ahead and just play what the masses want. Orchestra's are for preserving a tradition thats builds on hundreds of years of musical history. You cannot throw that away, to preserve it.

In germany most good orchestras are publicly funded, but can barely survive with less and less money. But I think this is something worth preserving, .

It's Coming Around (1)

Atomm (945911) | more than 7 years ago | (#17630154)

I started http://gamersradio.com/ [gamersradio.com] many years ago with the idea that I could mix gaming music with traditional music and gaming related interviews. Unfortunately, this did not work like I wanted and I scraped the idea in favor of a more traditional Rock station. While it has been a success, I really wanted to provide an outlet for Game Related music. I think the time is right, so I have been working on a third station for Gamers Radio that will be mainly Gaming Music. I have been collecting music for the station and I find there are some incredible symphonic tunes from games.

I still get shivers when I hear the theme from Battlefield 1942 and the theme to Baldur's Gate brings back great memories of hours and hours of entertainment.

The real question I have is can I bring in the mom's and grandmothers as well as the geeks?

Can the music carry itself beyond the association I have with the game's the music originated from?

I don't know, but it will be interesting to find out.

Classic video/arcade games! (3, Interesting)

antdude (79039) | more than 7 years ago | (#17630198)

After watching this YouTube video [youtube.com] , I have more urge to go to one.

Re:Classic video/arcade games! (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 7 years ago | (#17634080)

Hmm, I was actually serious on that comment. Oh well.

Spreading Gaming Culture? Please... (1)

moore.dustin (942289) | more than 7 years ago | (#17630350)

They are spreading only a small and rather insignificant of gaming culture really. The music from the actual game being played is not spreading the gaming culture. Instead, they are spreading the music gamers are familiar with from the games they played. How many people are really going to have gained any real insight at all into gaming culture? None.

Gaming culture is not the game theme song as much as what pumps through the headphones as you frag and warm up for your tournament or next match at a LAN party. In between matches you drink some BAWLS and try to tap the skills you gained from your numerous sessions of gaming for more than 12 hours. After that match you might log on IRC to chat with your teammates or friends about said match.

Really LANs, Tournaments, and assorted TV shows/specials are spreading the gaming culture. Have some nerd take his girlfriend to a LAN for a couple hours and then ask her about what she learned from her visit... I bet you everything she learned at that game music concert is out the window and never coming back.

Re:Spreading Gaming Culture? Please... (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 7 years ago | (#17630384)

Have some nerd take his girlfriend to a LAN for a couple hours and then ask her about what she learned from her visit... I bet you everything she learned at that game music concert is out the window and never coming back.

More likely, the girlfriend is out the window and never coming back.

Re:Spreading Gaming Culture? Please do! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17631718)

It also bears mentioning that there is more to the gaming culture than just LAN parties. Personally, I swing both ways. I played Unreal Tournament and played its sequels competitively, but I also burned time with single-player console titles. Now, it's true, I can't even hum an UT theme song (playing WITHOUT music seriously helped my performance). However, being a middling pianist, I can plunk out any of hundreds of console video game music tracks given just a minute to think about them. Castlevania, Metroid, Final Fantasy, Mario, Zelda (sorry for being mostly a Nintendo fanboy; it's how I was raised), whatever, the music was an integral part of the experience, especially in long single-player games.
Now, me entertaining a couple friends by doing requests over beers is one thing. Probably a dozen folks have heard me play, and I'm not a great performer. Getting an orchestra or marching band behind a video game music project is another thing entirely. These folks are highly skilled and reach fairly broad audiences; getting away from concerts, our college marching band wove several game themes into their halftime show last year. Regardless of what someone thinks of the music from a technical perspective (whole 'nother argument there), hearing it orchestrated in public DOES legitimate gaming.
Why is legitimation important? Foremost, because video games are difficult to turn into a mass spectacle. A baseball game was MADE to be watched; the players are in a stadium and the basic rules are easy to learn. A high-level video game match, on the other hand, is difficult to watch. First, the medium is hard to broadcast (yes, progress IS being made on that front, but it's not a spectator sport yet). Moreover, in high-level games, the players have mostly reached their limits as far as mechanical skills and reflexes go; at that point, the match ceases to be about who can get the crosshair onto their opponent faster and becomes a comparison of overall strategy. All of that makes for a great playing experience and a lousy viewing experience for most folks.
Music is useful as a medium because it transcends all these knowledge barriers. You don't have to understand (or even care about) game mechanics to appreciate a well-constructed musical interpretation. You don't have to spend hours to learn the controls or months to master the strategies of a game to enjoy a good concert, just as you don't have to juice up on steroids or spend a lifetime learning to read pitches to enjoy a baseball game. Until video games produce competitions that people will pay to watch in a stadium or on pay-per-view, appreciation of the media in games remains one of the best ways to reach out to non-gamers short of actually getting people to play.

It COULD have been worse... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17630690)

I just can't believe my eyes... people going bananas over VIDEOGAME music? Without actually playing the videogames, their music is the lamest stuff ever made, like most incidental music (with a few exceptions). Come on, try listening to Jeremy Soule without the game... it's the pop music of orchestras (bland and easy to swallow). It's damn boring. The kind of stuff you can hear (not listen to) while being concentrated in other matters. Of course there are exceptions (e.g., some Jesper Kyd stuff), but they are few and far between.

It could have been worse, though... it could have been "reggeton".

Re:It COULD have been worse... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17631102)

Several bands ( http://www.pressplayontape.com/ [pressplayontape.com] (C64 Rock), http://www.minibosses/ [www.minibosses] , http://www.neskimos.com/ [neskimos.com] ) play live in front of large audiences some of which are your regular concert crowd. And they seem to enjoy it very much (the bands too :)

If you think the music of the Commodore 64 was lame you haven't heard it. Some of its tunes are fantastic masterpieces. Get a couple of interpretations at http://remix.kwed.org/ [kwed.org] and have a listen! Few of the renditions are utter crap while most of them are really well (select those rated best).

Re:It COULD have been worse... (1)

Das Modell (969371) | more than 7 years ago | (#17634590)

Uh... I listen to videogame music all the time, even old stuff like C64 and NES tunes. I also own several CDs of VGM. In fact, I'm listening to a song from Final Fantasy VI right now. It seems that you either haven't heard a lot of VGM music (very likely) or you've created some bizarre, arbitrary rule for yourself which states that VGM music must suck when listened to outside the game.

Good music is good music. It doesn't matter if it's standalone or part of a videogame or movie.

That's the whole point (1)

Sciros (986030) | more than 7 years ago | (#17630870)

I took my brother, cousin, and even grandmother to a Play! A Videogame Symphony concert in Toronto. It was good fun, and the performances were solid (though admission was horribly overpriced). The pieces were of course all orchestral arrangements of the originals, since low-quality midi music just isn't worth paying $100 to listen to.

And naturally, while most of the audience already loves gaming, the concerts aim to create more exposure for games and their music. Game music has gotten to the level where it can be appreciated as a standalone medium, and it can therefore be used to attract new fans. Those that attend the concert at the very least become familiar with the big game titles such as Elder Scrolls, Final Fantasy and Legend of Zelda (and if they've been living under a rock for 20 years, Super Mario).

As for "spreading gamer culture," well, the concerts are indeed a testament to games becoming overall more "refined" when it comes to being viewed as an art form. Games are art, that much can't be argued, but it is much easier to defend them as *good* art when they have elements in them that even those unfamiliar with gaming would consider good. Of these elements, music is a major one. Visually impressive scenes are of course another, and that's why game concerts try to incorporate some into the performance (big screens hang over the stage that show cutscenes).

I for one was hoping Play! would add Final Fantasy XII's "opening movie" piece to their program and just play it in-sync with the actual cutscene as it's shown. From my experience that 6-min bit manages to get basically anyone at least intrigued and willing to give modern games a bit more respect from an artistic viewpoint.

Re:That's the whole point (1)

locokamil (850008) | more than 7 years ago | (#17631068)

Final Fantasy XII's soundtrack was awesome. That said, if there is one track that should be played live, it's the "Boss Sen" track (y'know, the one that's played when you fight the judges, or, well, a boss). Dramatic stuff-- with the proper visuals it could be very cool.

A step in the right direction. (1)

the dark hero (971268) | more than 7 years ago | (#17630934)

Music is universal. We may not always agree on which music we listen to, but nevertheless people form better relationships based on musical tastes. Now a few are complaining that this is hardly relevant, but i'll argue that any insight someone can gain on videogames is a good thing. They may never understand videogames, but atleast this brings them closer to understanding some of the appeal. You shouldn't be all proud because you're part of this videogame subculture that "they'll never get." Instead, embrace the fact that an outsider to gaming may see it as a better thing.

But where.... (1)

sanjacguy (908392) | more than 7 years ago | (#17631158)

The better question is where can we get copies of the orchestral music? You can't ask for a better expression of geek love.

Family? Ha! (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 7 years ago | (#17631174)

I wish I could get my family to appreciate video game music, but they won't. They refuse to even listen to it, let alone appreciate it.

Disclosure: I'm the current webmaster of VGMusic.com [vgmusic.com] , and have worked for the site as far back as 1997.

C64 music! (1)

koinu (472851) | more than 7 years ago | (#17631348)

I really enjoy listening to old game songs I used to play. There are many sites that offer remixes of these classic "SIDs". These are great!

Re:C64 music! (2, Interesting)

necronom426 (755113) | more than 7 years ago | (#17634624)

I went to a "Back in Time" C64 concert in London a few years ago. It was really good, and seeing someone play "Monty on the Run" on a violin was an experience!

April Fools! (1)

tepp (131345) | more than 7 years ago | (#17633008)

girlfriend who got dragged there by the boyfriend

Is it April Fools already?

Everyone knows gamer geeks don't have girl/boyfriends ;)

Re:April Fools! (1)

neminem (561346) | more than 6 years ago | (#17641638)

I do... but she's a gamer. :p

I'll atest to that (2, Interesting)

7Prime (871679) | more than 7 years ago | (#17636474)

I got into video games through music. I was studying composition at Oberlin Music Conservatory, and I had been delving into a lot of Progressive Rock on the side... listening to a lot of Emerson Lake & Palmer, Yes, and Genesis. A friend of mine, with similar tastes in music told me I had to check out this stuff by this guy Nobuo Uematsu, who was largely influenced by ELP and Yes. He played me some selections from FF8 and FF6, and I was blown away. I immediately downloaded an emulator (didn't have a console at the time), and played through FF6 and FF8 immediately, and from then on, I was hooked. Then, I started transcribing many of various themes and pieces for piano. I finished out my stay at Oberlin with a piano recital of arranged game music, and packed a small auditorium with gamers, musicians, and all interested folks, alike... one of the best shows I've ever had the privilage of performing in.

Since then, I've been studying film scoring, in hopes to one day go into film or game composition. And I still play my daily dose of video games.

I got involved with the site "VGMix", and had a lot of my work up there, unfortunately, the site went down about a year ago, and hasn't come back up since. I put a few things on OCRemix, but I don't tend to follow the site very much. I have an album of piano recordings I did in the studio, but the cost of licensing prohibits me from releasing the recordings publicly.

RTFA (1)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 6 years ago | (#17642624)

Horrible, horrible web design.

Don't see a problem? Increase your font size, then scroll.

Old News (1)

Walking The Walk (1003312) | more than 6 years ago | (#17643374)

Reminds me a lot of a previous story [slashdot.org] on /. How many times can I read about how neat it is that normal people go to video game concerts?

Press Play On Tape (1)

ahoset (561677) | more than 6 years ago | (#17645354)

Press Play On Tape [pressplayontape.com] is a 6-person rock-ish band that performs live versions of Commodore 64 songs. They're Danish, but have performed several times in the UK and Norway.
There's a version of Cannon Fodder performed on game controllers here [youtube.com] , and a boy-band cover of Comic Bakery here [youtube.com] .
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