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The Video Game Music Thread


Mar 22, 2012

Catchy OST but is weird when paired with the game.


Jan 28, 2020
No music here, but an observation.

For the past few months I've been listening to old video game music, on various systems.

I recently did a stint on music made on the C-64 and its infamous SiD-chip, and I was amazed by the variety and quality of music I was hearing. I wanted to hear more. (I did learn to turn down the volume though, as the sound gets really grating.)

But more recently I've been listening to music made on the NES and it's equally infamous APU-chip... and I had to force myself to listen through the tracks I had lined up, and completely skipped out on looking for further music.

I felt this was strange, so I sought answers.

It wasn't a burnout of chip-based music in general, as I took a pause during the C-64 music and came back refreshed, while I needed numerous pauses with the NES-music, just to get through it.

So it's something about the NES and the music. Both chips sound very similar, so that's unlikely.

But I think I've found it: It's the composition style.

Most of the exemplary C-64 music is written by Europeans (Brits to be exact) while the NES-music is mostly all written by Japs. And they have differing approaches to composing music.

The Europeans go for sprawling melodies with structure, mostly only constrained by available memory. A minute or two is normal, though 17-minute monstrosities also exist. The Japs, however, go for short, catchy audio loops. Some of these can be as short as 4 seconds, but most tend to be around 20 seconds. It's rare to see a NES-tune that doesn't loop and runs longer than a minute, but when you see them, they're called 'Ending/Credits/Staff Roll' 90% of the time. (And when you do find exceptions to this, it's because the tunes are written by Europeans.)

Which highlights something: NES-music is composed according to strict order, with heavy supervision from corporate Nintendo. It's there to just sound, not to be music or experimental. It's almost an afterthought that the music might be better than the game. (Notable example of such an exception: "Moon Theme" from the first 'DuckTales' game.)

Meanwhile the European (SiD) music does whatever the fuck it wants, and often the music outpaces the game. 'One Man and His Droid' is a crap game, but dat tune...

Conclusion? The APU-chip may be the more powerful sound chip, but the SiD-chip has the better music.

The real interesting bit is what's ahead: I have a playlist of FastTracker-tunes (.mod from the Atari ST/Amiga) lined up, along with a playlist of Sega Genesis-tunes lined up. Those may give me a deeper insight into this.

Anyway, back to the YT-links.
The few NES titles I like (comparing to C64 music) were from companies that bothered to push extra chips in their cartridges just to add more samples to their games ie Konami, Sunsoft, Capcom to a small extent, Megami Tensei 2.
Mar 3, 2018

Left in the mass grave of mismanaged and abandoned mmorpgs trying to chase the success of world of warcraft is Funcom's Age of Conan. While the rest of the game fizzled out I'd still say that Tortage and the White Sands isles are amongst some of the best tutorial zones created in that cursed genre.

While the game ended up predictably in the same place as all the other failed WoWkillers at least we got a nice soundtrack out of it.

Unkillable Cat

May 13, 2009
Codex 2014 Make the Codex Great Again! Grab the Codex by the pussy
I'm back with more text, because I stumbled upon a discussion of this, which basically proved my point, but explained it much better than I originally could.

Veteran musician Mike Clarke puts it like this:

There wasn’t much of a computer game industry [in Japan] because almost everything was arcades and consoles, so to be able to write game music you had to have a devkit, which cost thousands, and a development license, which was nigh on impossible to get if you weren’t an actual company.

Therefore, to create music, you had to first get a job at a game company [in Japan]. Unlike in Europe, you couldn’t write your own play routine at home. The barrier to entry was way too high. The few actual programmer/musicians like Yuzo Koshiro really stood out.

The Americans have this weird fetish about Japanese game music on the home consoles when in reality it wasn’t really very good. There’s not really anything particularly impressive until the Mega Drive and even then, there are only a few standouts like Streets of Rage and Sonic.

This meant Japanese musicians needed to have established careers and jobs to get a chance. In Europe you could be an experimental (teenage) composer who kicked something together at home, and get your foot in the door that way.

But this time I bring music - another rare case of a NES-tune that sounds like it should be on a Commodore-machine:

(Yes, I know. Give it a listen anyway.)


Aug 27, 2009
Road to Arnika
Shadorwun: Hong Kong BattleTech
X-Men 2 - Clone Wars - Gambit Theme

The character's themes only play on 3 levels, if i am not mistaken, and are combined with the map's theme and ambience.
They removed the snow effect on this one but the map's theme is still present.

Even though Cyclops was my favorite character, i felt that Gambit's theme was the best and it went with the character perfectly.


Dec 6, 2021
The game isn't that great, but this piano piece is unreal, beautiful and sad.


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