Video Game Music |OT| - Not just Robot Farts and 5-Second Loops!

Hum the Super Mario Bros theme for me. Now sing your favourite Final Fantasy battle tune. Or whistle Green Hill Zone’s music. I think everyone would be in agreement that music has the ability to catapult a game into greatness. Particularly in the retro era, composers were faced with strict hardware limitations such as limited channels, short loops, or muffled samples. Yet despite these factors, or arguably because of them, Video Game Music (VGM) would thrive and become an integral part of gaming and beyond, leading to rise of “Chiptune” as a genre, or lavish Soundtrack releases to many games.

This thread is designed to celebrate our shared love of VGM. Whether it’s a track that was in our head for years growing up, something we just discovered, a new vinyl release for a classic soundtrack, or discussion around our favourite composers, everything VGM related is welcome here! I hope you’ll all join me in making this one of RGB’s best threads, especially once we fill it with Sega Genesis Robot Farts!

Where/How can I enjoy VGM?
YouTube has been a great resource, with many soundtracks being uploaded and available to stream.

CD Soundtracks have been available for decades, particularly in Japan where they’ve found a lot of success. Amazon Japan is a great way to purchase many of these often lavish sets. I suggest watching this My Life in Gaming video for more information on CD releases.

During the recent Vinyl resurgence, there has been a large rise in VGM vinyl releases from many different labels, covering both new and old games. Some of the more retro focused labels include Data Discs, Mondo, Ship-to-Shore, and Brave Wave.

Live concerts! There are many worldwide tours constantly running, such as Video Games Live (co-founded by VGM composer Tommy Tallarico), and Distant Worlds (Focused on Final Fantasy and related music) to name a few.

Extremely Condensed and Selected Timeline of Notable Firsts and Composers:

1980 – Namco releases Rally-X in arcades, which is generally considered the first game to feature a continuous, melodic background music track. Rally-X Sountrack

1985Super Mario Bros releases for the Famicom, with Koji Kondo providing music that would become some of the most recognizable melodies of all time. Super Mario Bros. Soundtrack

1985/86 – Hiroshi Kawaguchi composes music for a trio of Sega’s Super Scaler arcade games: Space Harrier, Hang-On, and OutRun. OutRun Soundtrack

1986/87Dragon Quest (Koichi Sugiyama) & Final Fantasy (Nobuo Uematsu) release on Famicom, featuring music that still appears in each franchise 30+ years later. DQ Title Theme / Final Fantasy Main Theme

1988 – The relatively new PC Engine releases a CD-ROM addon, allowing games to utilize CD-quality digital music (Also referred to as Red Book audio) for the first time, allowing gamers to insert the CD into their CD player and enjoy the music without the game. One of the first releases is a home-port of Street Fighter (Fighting Street in North America) featuring an arranged sountrack. Street Fighter Soundtrack

1988 – Sierra On-Line makes a deal with Roland to help distribute the MT-32 as an add-on for computer gamers, offering high quality Midi sound prior to the release of the Sound Blaster (Though after the AdLib). William Goldstein, a film/tv composer, is hired to score King’s Quest IV: The Perils of Rosella, the first video game to utilize the MT-32. King’s Quest IV Sountrack

1989 – Sega releases the Mega Drive/Genesis, featuring a dedicated Yamaha FM synthesizer, the YM2612. Yuzo Koshiro would rise to fame with soundtracks such as the Streets of Rage series and The Revenge of Shinobi. Streets of Rage 2 Soundtrack

1989 – Shadow of the Beast is released for the Amiga, with a score by David Whittaker comprised of high-quality instrument samples. Shadow of the Beast Soundtrack

1990 – Nintendo releases the Super Famicom / SNES, with a custom S-SMP chip built by Sony. The SNES sound capabilities are unique in being fully sample based, rather than being generated through FM synthesis or other similar techniques. The launch title F-Zero not only showed off the increased hardware of the SNES, but what it’s sound capabilities were with a memorable soundtrack by Naoto Ishida and Yumiko Kametani. F-Zero Soundtrack

1996 – As pre-recorded digital files start to become the dominant music-delivery for software, a new genre starts to take form: Rhythm Games. PaRappa the Rapper is released to huge success, with a soundtrack by Masaya Matsuura and Yoshihisa Suzuki. Cheep Cheep the Cooking Chicken’s Rap

1996 – id Software releases Quake with a soundtrack composed by Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails), one of the first examples of a high profile musician creating VGM. Quake Main Theme


My U-Turn Orbit and most of my vinyl collection is in storage back on the east coast right now, but hopefully I’ll be able to move them across the country sometime soon. I’ve mostly been listening to stuff on YouTube in the mean time; it’s great background study music.

The MLiG video did a good job touching on the Vinyl side of things as well.

One record I really want to pick up is the hero of time LP from I am 8 Bit

First step would be finally picking up a record player :confused:

What’s wrong with robot farts?

I tend to avoid anything from iam8bit. Can’t really tolerate the price gouging they employ.

If you like Yuzo Koshiro, you might find something you like at this blog post I made, which may or may not have the EOTB soundtrack.

Interesting, I wasn’t aware of any price gouging? I thought they had exclusives where you couldn’t really compare pricing?

Or do you find their prices for anything vinyl in general are way too much?

Yeah they mostly have exclusives, it’s just that when you compare what they charge and the quality of the product they produce to something like DataDiscs it’s pretty outrageous.

As far as video game music in general I will often have No Life Radio open as a tab throughout the work day. I find they have one of the best curated lists for what I like in VGM

What if I like robot farts?

Anyone still keeping up with OCRemix? Worth checking out at all these days? Back in the day, this gentleman was probably my favorite remixers of all time:

Holy, I completely forgot about OCRemix. I was enamored with this site back in the day.

I’ve been listening to alot of vgm lately and I really love the ym2612 in the genny/MD which led me down the road of discovering an artist named “Mega Drive” on Spotify /YouTube. Their work is legit and you should all check him/her out!

I’ve been following OC Remix through the years, there’s still very good remixes coming out all the time.

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Yeah, the oc remix album for Xenogears was great.

Of course gears itself had a boss as fuck soundtrack to start with.

There will be a Sega Racing remix album on OCR next month. I remixed a track from Sega Rally Championship.

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I still think the Streets of Rage 1 and 2 soundtracks are some of the best in gaming!

Agreed: Go Straight is so good.

I gotta plug Legacy Music Hour here! This is a podcast hosted by comedians Brent Weinbach and Rob F, playing VGMs from the 8-16 bit era.

I am a Brent Weinbach fan to begin with, but I believe the hosts do a great job of making these songs accessible for all listeners. I’ve been introduced to a ton of great tracks by listening, and there are a TON of episodes available.

I’ll post one of my favorite episodes below; hope you guys give this podcast a listen!

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I’ve never played any PC-88 games, or Xanadu for that matter, but this soundtrack is legit:

The Legend of Xanadu - Legend of the Wind

The Legend of Xanadu - Silent Tower

I’m guessing these are arranged versions? I first heard them on Kohina years ago and there they’re just listed as being from the PC-88. They pretty much only have direct recordings from real hardware there from what I know, but reading about those JDK Special albums online it seems they’re arrangements? Either way, totally awesome.

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