Wednesday, July 11, 2012

I am a game music junkie

I am a game music junkie. I know this because a while ago I played some of my music through the Apple TV in the livingroom. The screensaver shows all your album art, and I was shocked when I realized that literally half my music collection is video game music. Some things you never grow out of.

When I was a kid, I didn't find any music I liked. I wasn't into anything that was currently out, like Michael Jackson or M.C. Hammer or Vanilla Ice or... whatever kids were listening to in the 80's and early 90's. Nothing that was popular caught my ear.

The closest I came to actually becoming a fan of any group was Shadowfax, but it was more of a "close enough" kind of relationship than being a real fan.

I was, however, a video game fanatic, so it's only natural I noticed the music in the games I played. It was the only thing I remember that actually caught my ear, so I did what any kid in my position would do: I took a tape recorder, propped it up to the TV and recorded my NES and Gameboy.

I made multiple tapes of video game music over the years. Some of the game music I recorded included: Kirby's Dreamland, Kirby's Adventure, Yoshi's Cookie, the Ninja Turtles games, Tiny Toon Adventures: Babs' Big Break, Tetris, Tetris 2, and on and on.

Later on I would take the tape recorder to my Sega Genesis and PC, recording the Sonic games, Ristar, Ecco 2, the Doom games, Dare to Dream, and so forth.

I even got my friend, Andrew, in on it and recorded some music from his Super Nintendo, such as Earthworm Jim 2, Star Fox, Donkey Kong Country and Super Mario Kart.

In 1994 or 95, I finally found a musician that caught my ear, Mike Oldfield, and I gobbled his work up. In spite of that, I never stopped recording game music.

One thing that pissed me off about PC game music at the time was that it was all MIDI. This meant that if you changed computers, you changed soundcards, and that meant the MIDI mapping changed as well, so the music in the games would sound different. This was especially aggravating with Doom, because I liked the way the music sounded when I first heard it. Upgrading computers changed the music and I hated how it sounded afterwards. I made game music tapes to try to stop it from changing.

Too bad I didn't know about stereo sound back then, so I only got one channel of music on tape. This wasn't a problem until I tried recording PC music and some Genesis games. Hey, I was a kid. I didn't have the equipment or knowledge to wire the consoles into a stereo and record it directly.

In the days before computers, mp3s and the internet, kids had to innovate. I had to work for my music! These days you can download gamerips, and game music is so good it actually gets a CD release! No more holding tape recorders up to TV speakers! Now I'm downloading mp3s and full CD soundtracks of the games I play!

Some things you never grow out of. I've gotten to the point where I buy the soundtrack to a game I like even before I finish playing it. Sometimes I buy games just to have new music to listen to. (Thank you, Humble Bundle.)

Only one of the game music tapes I made as a kid survives to this day. The others were either lost to time or destroyed by tape players. I have not listened to this tape because I'm afraid of ruining it, too.

My collection of game music is vast these days. For those who might wonder, here's a list in no particular order:

Portal
Portal 2 (game review)
Ratchet and Clank (entire series, except All 4 One) (game review)
Bioshock 1 + 2
American McGee's Alice
Schizm (game review...sorta)
The Binding of Isaac
Darkstar: The Interactive Movie (game review)
Super Meat Boy
Mechwarrior 3 + Pirate's Moon
Mechwarrior 4: Vengeance
Botanicula (game review)
Kirby's Adventure
Myst (1 - 5) (game review)
Uru
Unreal
Unreal 2 (partial)
Dead Space
Dead Space 2 (one track) (game review)
Lone Survivor
Adventures of Batman and Robin (Genesis)
Sword & Sworcery LP - The Ballad of the Space Babies
Corridor 7 (game review)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1 + 3 NES, both arcades)
Ken's Labyrinth
Vault Archives (Fallout 1 + 2 soundtracks)
LIMBO
Microsoft Fury 3
Tr3s Lunas II (Mike Oldfield's Music VR project. It counts!)
Amnesia: The Dark Descent OST (game review)
Machinarium (game review)
Samorost 2
Battletoads and Double Dragon (SNES)
Earthworm Jim 1 + 2 (SNES)
Startropics (one track)
Wario's Woods (SNES, two tracks)
Yoshi's Island (one track)
Primal Rage (CD soundtrack)
Sonic 3D Blast (Saturn)
Sonic R (PC)
Doom (official CD release, + rips from Doom 1, 2 and Final Doom)
Donkey Kong Country
Garfield Caught in the Act (PC)
Jurassic Park (Genesis, one track)
Knuckles Chaotix (Game sucks, music sucks except for ONE TRACK!)
Ristar
Sonic CD (Japanese and US. Both are equally good.)
Sonic Spinball
Vectorman (one track)
Sonic Adventure (game review)
Sonic Adventure 2 (a couple tracks)
Sonic Heroes (the ONLY good 3D sonic game I've played)
Sonic the Hedgehog 1, 2, 3, & Knuckles
Ecco the Dolphin (Sega CD) (game review)
Ecco 2: The Tides of Time (Sega CD, Genesis) (game review)
Ecco: Defender of the Future
Blaster Master
The Neverhood
RAMA (gamerip)
Bastion

7 comments:

  1. Ever hear of a band called The Minibosses? All they play are old video game themes:

    Megaman II:
    http://youtu.be/2nXoopSbqos

    Ghosts & Goblins:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3JVSgOJMrzI

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    1. never heard of them, but that's cool!

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  2. Vay featured some really great music. If you put the Sega CD into an audio player all of the tracks were available. I still want to get a copy of the original game so I can rip the files and put them on my iPod. Mega Man II was another favorite of mine. Just about every song on there was great.

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    Replies
    1. that was one of the great parts of Sega CD. It sure was a novelty at the time for CD music in a video game

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  3. I used to put tape recorders up to my tv screens and record stuff too, from 5th grade (2002-03) until my sophomore year in high school (2007-08). In addition to video game music, I would also record TV show themes, wait for certain commercials/music videos to come on, etc. and would put the casettes in a portable tape player, and bring them with me whenever I'd go out.

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    Replies
    1. I recorded some TV show tunes, too :-) The Joker's Wild, Square One TV, and a couple others. I was always nervous actually playing the tapes, as they kept getting destroyed in tapeplayers. Surprised you used tapes that recently. I thought tapeplayers were dead!

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  4. Still got a few of them, but I can't really find that many of them. Alot of them were, as OP said, either destroyed or simply got lost.

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