General / Off-Topic The Music of Video Games

So yes it's true the music won't age - if you stick on graphics.

I actually intended a different thing, but of course also what you says applies. What I meant is for the technical side of it, not the art involved. Pictures do indeed age, what stays and make them timeless (eventually) is the quality of the art involved and the emotions they convey and provoke, be it for nostalgia reason or whatever. Same applies to music, you may have a beep or a full binaural orchestral composition, but in the end what will stick with you is the tune in itself and what it raises in you, not by how many strings it has been played. Different tastes for different people of course.
Currently loving the ost from A Plague Tale: Innocence

The ost from Thief: Deadly Shadows composed by Eric Brosius is probably my overall favourite:


alongside Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines:


Special mentions for The Witcher 3, Skyrim, X3: Reunion, Myst 4 Revelations, the Assassins Creed games, Fatal Frame 2 and 3, Silent Hill 2 and 3. Also Alien: Isolation.
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Ori and the Blind Forest. Only one of two games I was compelled to buy the soundtrack for as it's just so wonderful.
The energetic pieces that play during the run for your life bits of the game are great, with a catchy reoccurring theme shared between them.
But this song - First Steps into Sunken Glades - plays as your first setting out into the forest all alone. So chilling and really goes to setting the atmosphere.

I love the Ace Combat series music and will often substitute ED's BGM with AC's. Otherwise I'm deep in the rabbit hole that is Touhou Project arrangements. Literally my entire library of 20k+ songs is built up of Touhou Project arrangements....How does a series stir the music industry so?
Music in games that I loved:

  • The EVE online catalogue.
  • Witcher 3 music.
  • Divinity Original Sin 2 music
  • Battlefield 1 score particularly the Russian DLC stuff.
Some old but therefore perfectly fitting stuff:

I always felt the score of FE2 sounds wrong on modern machines (even in DOSBox because it only pipes the MIDI to your machines MIDI mapper).
"PX Player" which uses the "Miles Sound Drivers" (AIL2) showed me that i assumed this right, using the "GMT32MPU.ADV" driver which is meant for the
"Roland LAPC-I" produces a quite different sound as usually and it sounds at least somewhat better, the annoying synth pad and tinkle bell aren't to hear and are replaced by Piano and Strings.
But i wasn't really satisfied though i took "Anvil Studio" to edit the instruments and "MIDIPLEX" to strip useless data from the file to bring the MIDI to a format which FE2 accepts.
The Intro itself plays the new edited version which sounds in my humble opinion much better using only a classical orchestration (except for "Seashore" which is most probably "Applause")

However, the French Horn instead of the Synth Pad and Timpani instead of Tinkle Bell gives it a real Sci-Fi kind a Star Wars sound.

The "outro" (which i use in general for all my DOS games) plays back "Great Gates of Kiev" (usually i use for this "Also sprach Zarathustra - Ouverture") using the LAPC-I driver and turns the breath noise to applause which suits the track very well if we keep in mind that it is reserved for victory.
(the track is pre-edited, means i captured the raw MIDI using the "PX Player" with GMT32MPU.ADV in DOSBox , because i play it back with the GUS playmidi using the TSR (memory resident) and MPU option (bypassing GUS and using a "real" MPU) to play the track in background of the picture viewer task. in despite of that i repeat myself GUS is old but it still sounds far better and is better balanced as the windows wavetable synth, of course not with the MPU option on this will use either the MSWS or a virtual soundfont - if).

The Intro track needs more editing it still sounds deranged in Adlib sound selection which will be the preferred one because of leaking and/or hanging soundeffects if you select "Roland" and emulate the tard in DOSBox (the Roland Soundcard / external Synth could produce SFX as i have read, well i wondered much why using a piano chord for motor sound in F1GP i assume it would have been quite different) , mainly i have to reduce the tracks and rejoin the instruments which i split to edit the instruments.

Recently the track hangs when it's played back using "Roland" selection, means the Seashore sound won't cut off, something i can easy edit with MIDIPLEX (probably it's the "pause marker" i use so tracks won't cut off to early with a common DOS midi player like "MegaMID" or "PX", means the track didn't really ends for FE2.

Suggestions are welcome (probably someone remembers how it sounded back in 1993 or even better has an example played on real hardware), i like to edit all nine tracks for the game.

Ah, yes the instruments sound so well because i use "Virtual MIDI synth" to replace the odd Windows soundfont with "Fatboy" which is perfect for Jazz and Classical Music.
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Another classic, Commander Keen, the music is plain converted MIDI from the .imf files.

The conversion to "GS" is rather an experiment it seems it has no influence as DOSBox pipes the MIDI data directly to the windows midi mapper (or virtual synth in this case) and it seems it disregards GM/GS/XG.
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Hi askavir,
At first i thought you edited them yourself and i felt completely p... o... 'd ;)
Turrican and Lotus sound... i guess far from the original, Chuck Rock sounds exactly like a games midi from those days.

I fiddled around myself with some more midi's These are the recent results (i hope you don't mind).
It's not the BEST MUSIC EVER but at least they please me.

I reviewed the "Commander Keen" conversions and changed the arrangement (nothing more):




Further i put my dirty fingers on "Lotus the Ultimate Challenge" don't expect something as above they are plain conversions from the captures and no instruments added i mostly only replaced the annoying sounding "Steel Drum".


Finally i converted the capture of "Wing Commander" this track sounds similar to "Frontier" completely wrong when played in an emulator (e.g. DOSBox) because of the additional SFX which won't be played back proper and result in something very dumb sounding. I removed most of the SFX notes and changed the opening "swoosh" to an instrument which reflects this sound (instead of celesta).


I also edited the MIDI for Populous - not because it sounds wrong, just because i like it with classical instrumentation, recently i'm up to reimport the changed track to the game (more or less successful - rather less).

enjoy :)

The tracks are all edited by me and can't be found in this version anywhere else.
"Lotus" gave me some headache because you can still see it's played "wrong" in MegaMID. By wrong i mean the volume bar climbs steady and the note display shows all played notes (it seems the don't cut off), in the very first version it was unplayable in MegaMID (but any else MIDI player) but at least i managed it to make them playable (Anvil Studio helped me). It is an error which also could happen if you optimize a MIDI using "Midiplex" you won't hear (sometimes the tracks halt the program) or see this except in MegaMID.

"Commander Keen 5" includes "Mars, the Bringer of War" as an extreme short interpretation (@20:34).
Because of the shortness of the "Commander Keen" tracks they are one, two and sometimes three times repeated.
My favorite is: "A Shikadi Aire" (Commander Keen 5 @17:58)
But listen to them some are quite nice to listen to.
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Turrican and Lotus sound... i guess far from the original, Chuck Rock sounds exactly like a games midi from those days.

Turrican and Lotus videos are indeed original sound from their Commodore Amiga versions. Commodore Amiga was many years ahead of it's time in the sound department. I was lucky enough at the time my parents managed to buy me one (I was 11 years old).
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Dammit yes, i own amigas and i forgot the fact that mods sound better as any midi (how stupid of me if i guess that i hold a large collection of soundtracker modules).
I own the CD32 Lotus compilation (I, II & III) but i couldn't remember that it sounded that good, honestly i haven't played Lotus on an amiga (emulated or real hw) since quite a while.
Lotus has become somewhat boring over the years, imho it's not a good racing game.
Yes i do played the DOS release a couple of times but exactly this gave me this impression because i haven't played it since a long time.
In fact i have more fun playing (even more ancient) "Outrun" as "Lotus".
Just hmm... PC Outrun lacks of music they are horrible speaker beeps, of course i have the option to play the arcade release (caugh).

Besides "beeps", right yesterday i browsed through "vgmpf"'s SimCity16bit (SC Windows) page, unrelated to this i have worked on the "SCWTUNE.MID" from SimCity Classic for Win95 and i found that the midi was made in a uncommon way and i had to strip some channels to make it sound proper (it has a second drum channel and even a third similar to the first drum track just as "Piano" which make it sound this deranged on recent machines, drum track 1 & 2 i succsessfully joined to one and the third i just removed and now it sounds right). They explained me the reason it was made to be played as GM or XM. Further they pointed out that there is a SCWTUNE for non-soundcard users, instead of the jazzy track it's a track by J.S.Bach (interesting, once i imported a Bach midi to DOS SC Classic). It's stated that the PC speaker music is ear piercing and yes it is ear piercing.

Pierce your ears here (you won't stand it longer as two seconds):
erm (caugh), not really games music but music from a game (CD-ROM).

There are three hidden audio tracks on "CD32 Super Skidmarks" it's not noted neither do they belong to the game they just filled the CD-ROM with them.
To hear them or discover them one had to dare to put this CD-ROM in an audio player disrespecting that you shouldn't do that and that the data track could harm your audio equipment and disregarding that there is nothing stated on this disc that it is a mixed data-audio CD-X.
No you can't call it games music - you can't call it "music" at all... it's organized noise (or "organized vomiting").
Sure many CD32 games have their music as CD audio tracks on the disc but then it's obvious that you can play them in an audio CD player, but in this case the music doesn't belongs to the game and it's not to hear while you are playing it's not to guess of any additional music on this CD-ROM.
In every game, the first thing I do is turn off all music and non-essential sound effects if possible.

In Elite, that means the about 80% of the voice notifications are off for me. They add no value at all, so they are off. The game is much more enjoyable without the ultra-repetitive music and without the constant chatter.
Well this is "The Music of Video Games" thread :)
Sometimes i didn't play the game and only listen to the score, like this one:
Up to min. 15:00 you hear the various event related tracks for the three houses, after this follows what is labelled as "ambient" which is together with the following "attack" the most interesting part of the score.
I guess, while i haven't played the game yet, it's a vital part of this otherwise a bit boring looking strategy game.

The MT32 is a nice synthesizer and produces a nice sound even with GM midi files when set up for general midi.

Another nice score is "Doom" respectively the one of "Doom II" is even better:

Also this score sound great when played back on a MT32 using the GM patch especially the synthesizer sounds sound perfect.much better as from any wavetable device. But for this clip i used the "common" GM playback and three different soundfonts.
However you play it back (via GUS i.e.) this is great stuff imho.

(yeah, the violinists got bloody fingers from all that pizzicato strings)
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As simple as this game looked back then...
The music within the game is so epic!!
And what made this so beyond its years was there is only 3 sound channels creating this EPIC track!!
Rob Hubbard the legend of the C64 age

Rob Hubbard the legend of the C64 age

Rob Hubbard was a musical genius with the C64. Commando is still to this day one of my favorite pieces of C64 music:

But it was THIS piece of music he die for Skate or Die that is my absolute favorite. He coaxed sounds and compositions out of that SID chip like no one else could:

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But it was THIS piece of music he die for Skate or Die that is my absolute favorite. He coaxed sounds and compositions out of that SID chip like no one else could:
i could be wrong.. but some of those sounds in skate or die... were 8bit samples?? at least they sound like they were digitally reproduced using sampling hardware.. still a great use of the Sid-Chip
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