Putting the 'role' back in role-playing games since 2002.
Donate to Codex
Good Old Games
News Content Gallery About Donate Discord Contact
  • Welcome to rpgcodex.net, a site dedicated to discussing computer based role-playing games in a free and open fashion. We're less strict than other forums, but please refer to the rules.

    "This message is awaiting moderator approval": All new users must pass through our moderation queue before they will be able to post normally. Until your account has "passed" your posts will only be visible to yourself (and moderators) until they are approved. Give us a week to get around to approving / deleting / ignoring your mundane opinion on crap before hassling us about it. Once you have passed the moderation period (think of it as a test), you will be able to post normally, just like all the other retards.

The Video Game Music Thread

Keshik

Arcane
Joined
Mar 22, 2012
Messages
1,871


Always listened to this before an exam in university.
 

Unkillable Cat

LEST WE FORGET
Patron
Joined
May 13, 2009
Messages
23,985
Codex 2014 Make the Codex Great Again! Grab the Codex by the pussy
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.
 
Last edited:

Morpheus Kitami

Liturgist
Joined
May 14, 2020
Messages
1,799
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.)
I don't think that's unique to the NES. I've played quite a few Japanese computer games at this point and they all suffered from the exact problem you're describing. Even on the FM Towns, which came with a CD drive, so all games had CD-quality music, had a game that the music was exactly as you describe.
 

Keshik

Arcane
Joined
Mar 22, 2012
Messages
1,871


Catchy OST but is weird when paired with the game.
 

Derringer

Cipher
Joined
Jan 28, 2020
Messages
1,076
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.
 
Joined
Mar 3, 2018
Messages
2,498


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.
 

As an Amazon Associate, rpgcodex.net earns from qualifying purchases.
Top Bottom