[PATV] Monday, August 1, 2011 - Extra Credits Season 1, Ep. 9: Video Game Music

DogDog Registered User, Administrator, Vanilla Staff admin
edited June 2012 in The Penny Arcade Hub
image[PATV] Monday, August 1, 2011 - Extra Credits Season 1, Ep. 9: Video Game Music

This week, we look at the way video game music has evolved over the years, and compare the strengths of today's game music with the chiptunes of gaming past.

Read the full story here

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    jlwiza1jlwiza1 Registered User regular
    edited June 2012
    neat, we can leave comments. Its amazing how much different you sound in these compared to later ones, I just loved this episode

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    Mihen5574Mihen5574 Registered User regular
    This is precisely why the masters of old have such a lasting impression on history. They delivered high art music with a complete mastery of harmony and counterpoint that allowed each and every line of even an eighty-piece orchestra to be important. Most people only need hear two seconds of Beethoven's 5th to instantly recognize the half hour journey they are about to embark on, but to understand the careful intricacy and layering of those parts would require a listener to study the piece. Either way, it is iconic and well known. I love listening to a video game score or film score and picking out the hints of Beethoven, Chopin or Wagner to name a small fraction. These pioneers that allow us the freedom of music we have.

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    mbncdmbncd Registered User new member
    Before watching this video, I've never wanted to play a game solely for the music within. This video really brought forward some truly awesome tracks that have me now wanting to go out and buy the sound tracks of games like Halo and Mega Man (games I've never had much interest in for their general genres and play styles). *Listens again to just the Halo part in the middle of the video...* Awe inspiring... The symphonic version of Metal Gear (another game I've not played) music was amazing too.

    PS. Made this account just to post about this video. Thank you for the great work! Auditory gold!

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    CaptainBearpuncherCaptainBearpuncher Registered User regular
    By the way, for the four or five of you left on this planet that have not played through Portal and heard the song at the end and thought "this song sounds pretty cool" STOP RIGHT THERE. Do not go searching for the song on YouTube or an mp3 download site. Go play through Portal. Seriously. It will only take one afternoon. It's a short game. As epic as the song is on its own, it becomes legendary when heard after beating the game.

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    brunoaisbrunoais Registered User regular
    I really agree with you.
    "Make it simple, stupid!" is something we should use for songs in games. Using a lot of sounds is great but make a melody, not many melodies at the same time.

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    YumekichigaiYumekichigai Registered User new member
    edited July 2012
    I have always loved how over the years, Final Fantasy music has stayed true to it's roots with the basics. At least through to FFX you always had your base characters (hero, heroin, pilot, perky sidekick, etc...) and your base melodies, all of which are tweaked to create something familiar but new.

    Yumekichigai on
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    FnorosFnoros Registered User regular
    I think half-life 2 had some pretty awesome background music. It would have been better if it didn't stop whenever you got to a loading point.

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    rdiffee7rdiffee7 Registered User regular
    I see music from old games as a different genre or style not just a first stage in the evolution of game music. I would love to see more 8-bit style music come back to games (Scott Pilgrim: The Game's soundtrack is amazing). I've seen a growing trend in people viewing Youtube clips of game themes in 8-bit version and not only is it cool in many cases but I've enjoyed the 8-bit more than the original. Orchestral-style or genre music is getting stale in my opinion. They do a great job supporting the game but aren't always excellent songs to listen to outside of the game.

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    JayVeeDeeJayVeeDee Registered User new member
    Grandia 1 had beautiful music:) and perfect timing on everything:p

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    ZaltysZaltys Registered User new member
    I guess I don't understand modern game music.
    It's like elevator music: bland and forgettable. What was so "awesome" about those Halo or Metal Gear examples, for instance? Sounded like every other game soundtrack to me. When I browse the games that I've recently played, I can't help but wonder if they had any music at all. Because I don't remember anything about it.

    Except Saints Row the Third and Portal 2, but I mostly remember those songs because of the lyrics.

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    MoggMogg Registered User regular
    Some games I play BECAUSE of the music XD. It makes and breaks games. Megaman had epic music, but it was so god damn hard. Terranigma <3 I just think music depends on the game. Old games had simple music that repeated itself over and over and over and over and over again. That is why it's easy to remember.
    The music fades into the background after a while, you tune out to them... its when there's a break in the focus or a rest or relaxing segment provided, that music becomes obvious.
    oh yeah and I didn't recognize the halo music. Played only the first one and disliked it a lot.

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    SandroNecromancerSandroNecromancer Registered User regular
    Heroes of Might and Magic has one of the best soundtracks I can think of. All thanks to the fact when they were first making the game Rob King asked this friend of his, Paul Anthony Romero, to lend his talent. Originally it had some rock and modern tunes, but Paul thought it would make more sense to draw from Classical.

    In fact, the songs got such praise and were so memorable that the second game got a much bigger music budget and diverged much of the processing power to its music. So much so that you can't even tell the games are only a single year apart from its soundtrack (from graphics too, but the soundtrack is even more jarring). Heroes 2 even had most of its spec barrier being caused by the soundtrack. 'Till this day I get teary eyed as a pavlovian response to its grassland theme, sure, for nostalgia, but also because this tune never left my memory.

    "Obedience and patriotism are men's worst ills. Obedient is the one who doesn't want to think, patriot is the one who doesn't want to question."
    - Anonymous Russian Philosopher
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    Dark Raven XDark Raven X Laugh hard, run fast, be kindRegistered User regular
    Portal 2's soundtrack might be my favorite of all time. In addition to the actively changing music which corresponds to puzzle elements (stuff like the laser chamber which added layers to the track the more lasers you connected) it had themes for a bunch of different stuff; repetitive low droning beeps for Wheatley, a different low repetitive droning beep for GLaDOS, a fast brass dun dun du duhhh for 'shit just got real' and the game's main recurring theme is a chord progression that appeared at nearly every big plot point. Then the tracks towards the end of the game combined all those themes to epic effect;

    54 seconds here, it all kicks in at once and gaaah, so good.

    And 55 seconds in this is such a cool variation on the game's main recurring theme, but I don't think it actually got used in game;


    Also the 2 big confrontations where you switch AIs, both scenes use the main theme, but they sound pretty distinct (and equally fantastic) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ebCYsngagc&amp;feature=relmfu - more controlled and beepy for the one where Wheatley takes over


    All out crazy nuts for GLaDOS taking over again.

    Oh brilliant
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    KvaudioKvaudio The Swiss Army Knife of Audio Registered User new member
    I can't believe I didn't see this one before! I just wrote about this myself on my blog, and yes I brought up John Williams as an example! I would have so much to add but I would ramble far far far beyond the scope of this video.

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    UrsusCetaceaUrsusCetacea Registered User new member
    Right now, I'm listening to Classic FM and they're looking at video game music and playing tracks. I think this demonstrates what you guys are trying to portray throughout all this, that video games are more than 'just playing games for kids'. I'm glad Classic FM aren't 'above' the relationship between video games and classical music.

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    StingyWalabyStingyWalaby Registered User new member
    A lot of composers in modern games and movies go out of their way to avoid creating memorable melodies. They want mood music while you play or watch. They don't want you to be playing and then become aware of the music. I disagree with this style. My most memorable times in Morrowind were when Call of Magic was playing, becoming aware of the music made me stop and take in what I was seeing on screen and what I was doing and it made it all a lot more salient.

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    ZokonudZokonud Registered User regular
    Hello, I'm a composition student and for my graduation exam I have to write a thesis. I decided to write it about the evolution of videogames' music.
    For this purpose I'm trying to make interviews with as many videogames composers as possible (as well as studing the history of videogames and so on)

    Also, any material related to videogames music could help me (specially bibliography, articles and interviews)

    So if you know something about this and want to help me with my research, please, make me know it.

    I'll be checking this from time to time in order to see if it's there any response.

    Best regards.

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    VezRothVezRoth Registered User regular
    I absolutely LOVE the Cinematic Suite from Warcraft III, it makes me giggle every time I hear it.

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    DamsDams Registered User new member
    Good video.

    But some parts are a little caricatural like comparing only 8-bits / early music with latest one, just like nothing in the middle never existed.

    Just listen to SNES / NEOGEO music. This style is still use today even if done with modern tool. This era was the best of both world. Saurus, Metal Slugs, F-Zero, Starfox, R-Type, Street Fighter, etc.

    Take all modern Corneria music from the Official OST, none of them can beat the original one generated like the SNES sound chipset. And the music is nothing like a 8 bit music.

    BTW to my taste, I chose the 8-bits music from MG, the modern one just suck: seems flat with no personality at all. This is a very common problem with modern music. All the modern tools just made a lot of people lazy, just like when the video-games move from 2D to 3D.

    While I would not go back to the 8-Bits era music, I will gladly return to the 16/32 bits one.

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    ZippoLagZippoLag Registered User regular
    You know, I just realized that this discussion is pretty much paralell to the Graphics VS Aesthetics episode. The choice of music for a game should only be made keeping the theme in mind, just like the graphic style.

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    kurtlykurtly Registered User new member
    I like 8 bit chiptunes as much as the next guy, but the symphonies and electronic music (not dubstep) of today's games are flat-out way better. Case and point: Ratchet and Clank's soundtrack, hands down some of the best music in gaming, mixing orchestras and electronic music for some truly memorable music, esecially in the earier titles. Dragon Quest is also amazing, the Flight song from DQ8 makes me want to cry sometimes :)

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