Monday, July 23, 2012

Influences: Video game music

I grew up with video games.  I remember playing the original Pong and saving up to buy an Atari 2600 (look it up, kids).  I bought an Commodore Amiga 500 with a student discount as a high school junior and played games voraciously.  I walked to the local Golfland every weekend to play video games.

Along the way, I found myself very attuned to the music in a lot of those games.  I would let a game run without playing it, just to have the music in the background.  Once micro recorders came out, I would record the music from my speakers to have it available whenever I wanted.  I would try to find video game soundtracks but they were expensive imports from Japan.  More and more, as the web developed, there were more resources to find video game music and my collection grew.

Now there are entire concerts just with video game music.  There are composers who only do video game music.  It's an entire industry, just as lucrative as making music for TV or movies or animation.  I find, however, that the music I really like is...uncommon, or at least not what the bigger titles are releasing.  Still, I love that the genre is flourishing and continuing on.

I can't really explain what I like about the video game music I listen to.  It can be dynamic, it can be subtle.  It can be world music, it can be electronic.  It can be simple, it can be orchestrated.  I listen to video game music probably more than any other type of music probably due to this sheer variety.

A lot of video game music is repetitive, sometimes literally being the same song from one half to the other.  A song that's catchy the first few times you hear it can get really annoying if you play the game a lot!  Still I often find myself hunting for a specific song or singing it out loud, adding to my collection.

As with my last Influence posts, I'll list a few songs that have been put up on YouTube.

I don't expect my love of this stuff to necessarily make other people love it as well, but in evaluating and exploring what gave me the "musical vocabulary" I have today, I hope other people are able to do the same with what inspires them!

Bynn the Breaker (Bastion)
Mr. Orange's Flower Dance (Okami)
Intro (The Chaos Engine)
Aarbron's Revenge (Shadow of the Beast)
Battle in the Forgotten City (Advent Children)
Tetris: Type A (Super Smash Bros.)

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