Games Soundtrack Appreciation/Discussion Thread

BunbyHeri wrote:

It looks like Robyn Miller's Myst Soundtrack re-issue may be complete! The Myst 20th Anniversary Remaster is part of the recently announced Retro Game Music Bundle! In addition to Myst, Alexander Brandon's Tyrian soundtrack (one of my favorites!) is also on there, as well as Robert Allen's and Alexander Brandon's Jazz Jackrabit soundtracks (and quite a number of others)!

This is awesome! The 7th Guest / 11th Hour soundtrack is on there too, which is one of my favourite game soundtracks of all time! I purchased the CD years ago, but I'll happily pay to acquire the Myst soundtrack and the slew of others.

Edit: Spellingsssss

Oh wow, there's Wacky Wheels, Jazz Jackrabbit, Shadow Warrior, Myst, .... *head kaplodes*

I should have done this in the first place, but for all who are interested, here's the complete list of soundtracks in the bundle:

7/11: 7th Guest and 11th Hour Original Soundtrack
by The Fat Man and Team Fat

Duke Nukem 3D: Original Soundtrack
by Lee Jackson, Bobby Prince

Myst : The Soundtrack
by Robyn Miller

Jazz Jackrabbit 1 & 2
by Robert A. Allen, Alexander Brandon

Tyrian
by Alexander Brandon

NUKEM: Duke 3D Remixes
by Various Artists

Shadow Warrior: Original Soundtrack
by Lee Jackson

Duke Nukem II: Original Soundtrack
by Bobby Prince

Wacky Wheels: Original Soundtrack
by Mark Klem

Major Stryker: Original Soundtrack
by Bobby Prince

Stargunner: Original Soundtrack
by Lee Jackson

Cosmo's Cosmic Adventure: Original Soundtrack
by Bobby Prince

Jazz Jackrabbit 3
by Alexander Brandon

Double Dragon Neon
by virt

Alter Ego Dreamwalker OST
by coda

Edge
by Various Artists

Magnetis - Original Game Soundtrack
by Romain Gauthier

Lava Blade
by Joshua Morse

Great soundtrack list, and the story of how this all came about is good too.

stauf7 wrote:

Great soundtrack list, and the story of how this all came about is good too.

Wow, thanks for sharing that link, stauf7! I hadn't noticed their blog before. Their story of how this bundle came to be, how this music touched their lives, and their attempts and successes in contacting and working with their game music heroes is really cool!

As a side note, I can say from personal experience that many well known vgm composers really are down to earth, personable, and very cool people. At MAGFest 8 (back in January 2011), I had nice conversations with Grant Kirkhope and Alexander Brandon, and got to listen for over an hour as they and Danny Baranowsky (and a couple more composers who's names I embarrisingly cannot remember :oops:) talked about the differences between being (and attempting to be) a game music composer today vs back in the 90's. It was fascinating!

After reading all the Twitter activity about this bundle, I ended up stumbling upon a Myst Postmortem that I had forgotten to watch from GDC 2013. It's quite interesting, but I think one of the coolest parts was during the Q&A when Phil Fish, creator of Fez simply asked if Robyn Miller would sign his Myst novel and Jack Wall, a prominent game composer gave him a huge thank you for giving him the opportunity to score Myst III & IV which launched his career.

TempestBlayze wrote:

For those that like the Hotline Miami music might like the New Retro genre in general. I have a playlist on Spotify that has the Hotline music along with a ton of my other New Retro favorites. Think Blood Dragon used some of them as well.

Oooh! Thanks! Probably the only reason I haven't bought the Humble Indie Bundle 8 is because they don't have the Hotline Miami soundtrack included-- it's honestly the only thing I care about out of that whole pack...

For those that like the Hotline Miami music might like the New Retro genre in general. I have a playlist on Spotify that has the Hotline music along with a ton of my other New Retro favorites. Think Blood Dragon used some of them as well.

These are the Hotline tracks

troubleshot wrote:

Rocket Jockey (some Dick Dale tracks and some faux Dick Dale stuff, all of it is amazing). Wish this game would get a remake, loved that multiplayer. Anyone else play this? I get crickets every time I mention it in gamer crowds.

f*ck yes, loved the sh*t out of that game and its soundtrack. Still have the disk too.

You all need to listen to the Gunpoint soundtrack. Now.

(Sadly, no YouTube clips yet)

Mighty Switch Force 2 OST, pay what you want.

Apologies if it was posted elsewhere.

If anyone is interested, 4 tracks from Jim Guthrie's work in the game Sound Shapes are available in this pay-what-you-want Groupees bundle.

Sumthing Else Music Works is running a promotion for 50% off of game soundtracks if they reach 5000 likes. If you're a FB user and so inclined, you can find more information here.

Sorry, no available youtube tracks yet, but Kitaru's first soundtrack collection has popped up on Amazon (for Android), and it is quite good.
Don't know what Kitaru is? Trailer

Spoiler:

It's a mobile game for Android

EDIT: The moment I give up I find a similarly themed piece from the artist:

I thought this was extremely well done, even though she created her own violin part:

Hello ahrezmendi.

Look at me. Now back to the author of that article, now back to me. Look down, back up, where are you? You're on a website with the man that author could write like. What's in your hand, back at me. I have it, it's a word processor with 1200 words on that thing you love. Look again, the word processor is now diamonds.

I'm on a horse.

------

To more seriously respond to you, as I think I can speak for the author of the gamasutra article , each example in persona 4 fails for a slightly different reason given in the header paragraph of that page, as well as all of them failing due to general lack of cohesion. I do think that the music in Persona 4 shouldn't have been required to be as cohesive as NieR since the level design was intentionally more varied, it lacked something to pull it all together. Even a simple rhythmic motif, a shared tempo or key, anything.

Additionally, they all push far too much into the captured person's mindspace and not enough into the player's. It's fine to sync the music up to the feel of a dungeon, but if they are completely at odds with what the player is feeling it is going to be a jarring experience. This is especially true because P4's dungeons and bosses were so overtly symbolic as to be insulting to our intelligence. But overall, the author discusses this concept more thoroughly on other pages of that article: simply writing to the action on screen is boring and one-dimensional. The music can and should be used to add another dimension, another facet to poke at, and Persona 4 (along with most other games, unfortunately) fails completely at this.

The Kanji example mostly fails due to how horrible it is to listen to for an hour or more at a time. I just. can't. take it. It also shows no real depth to the character, and in fact works against Kanji because it pigeonholes him more than he should be. His problems are not that one-dimensional.

There is less disagreement on the Naoto piece, but let's leave it at the author's opinion is that it doesn't convey the subtleties of Naoto's situation effectively at all. It really sounds like something you'd hear while shopping at Dillard's. Also, the crummy general midi clarinet sound doubling the piano melody lead offends the author's aural sensibilities. Meguro should know better.

"Heaven" is the most egregious example of the author's point of the music necessarily having to convey information to the player, to intuit things to the audience, as opposed to slavishly following on-screen action. You can make a case that if Nanako's life had a soundtrack, that song would be it (the author would push back, but let's roll with that assumption for a minute). When the player is thrust into that dungeon, there's a very high sense of urgency, fear, and anger. The designers have taken the most innocent character in the game, one with whom the player has had a great many opportunities to empathize, and put her in a very precarious situation. The music undermines what the game has so carefully built from a caring perspective and is jarring it's so off-key, in a manner of speaking.

None of the music in the Persona 4 dungeons creates the sense the player has when actually fighting through them, and Nanako's dungeon is the most obvious example of that. Even though the player is there for the same purpose every time, fighting the visually-identical dungeon mobs, there's no common thread with the music, no impetus to compel the player forward, no turning aside and winking at the player, or encouraging him or her, or otherwise doing anything other than mindlessly tracking the visuals. Which I believe was the entire intent of the author's article overall, to emphasize that game composers have to think at a deeper level than simply "write good music".

As an aside, the Persona 4 example was the only thing that the author received more than minimal pushback on in the gamasutra comments. That is interesting, to me.

WARNING - Persona 4 spoilers ahead.

I'm bringing a discussion from the SMT 4 thread over here, because it's more appropriate and I don't think needs yet another thread dedicated only to it.

The discussion, which you can find here, is regarding what music in a game is intended to do and how successful it is. Minarchist linked to this Gamasutra article, diving into the intent of video game music, and specifically comparing NieR and Persona 4. I disagree with the article's author, and now I shall go into why.

I think the author is focusing too much on how the music in a game makes the player react (in his words, "see"), and that's failing to keep in mind his first bullet point - Game music "tells the story of the area or level". I don't question the NieR examples, they succeed in doing what the composer intended. My disagreement stems from what the author is expecting out of the Persona 4 themes chosen. He focuses on what the music makes him "see" when he listens to it, but this music is about the area of the game not about the emotions of the player.

I'll use his Sauna example, because I think that piece of music is one of the most brilliant pieces in the game, and works to convey all the emotions that Kanji is experiencing. The author criticizes this music for not making him envision a sauna, but the area isn't actually a sauna it's a metaphor for the confusion Kanji feels surrounding his sexuality. This is a game where each zone represents the conflicting desires and emotions of each character, and Kanji is a teenage boy confused by how girls treat him. He thinks he's gay and is confused/terrified about this, so his area represents that terror and confusion. His music sounds like a night-club rave, and the visuals are that of a sauna, both things that as a teenage boy he associates with homosexuality.

His comments about the Secret Base music I don't disagree with quite as much. I think Naoto's story is a subtle one, so the music and area tie together a lot of themes. However, the emotional response I have from that music is one of teetering on the edge, that I'm in a very tenuous situation. Naoto feels constantly threatened by her gender in the role she wants to have (being a detective), so she feels like she's constantly on the brink of being discovered and losing that which she holds dear. Naoto is also very hopeful that things will change, and that she'll be able to not have to worry about this one day. The mixture of her love of detective work and hope for change I think is perfectly represented by the combination of her level and the music in it.

Finally, his comments regarding the Heaven track are the ones I disagree with the most. Again, if the music is supposed to tell us the story of the area we're in, then in this case we're talking about the inner mind of a 9 year old girl who has lost her mother, has a workaholic father, and is extremely sad and lonely. Her area is full of rainbows and flowers, the signs of the happiness she desperately wants but can't find. The music contrasts this with lyrics about memories she can't get away from (her mother) and goes even further by working in slower, more thoughtful sections about memories juxtaposed with more upbeat sections which shows the desire she has for a future of happiness where she can forget about her pain.

I think the author has a lot of good points, and there are plenty of games that really don't get their soundtracks right. I think his choice of Persona 4 as an example of one that gets it wrong is itself wrong, especially given his statement that music should convey the history behind the area of the game you're in. For a game so focused on the conflicting emotions of its characters, Persona 4 does an amazing job of mixing the music with the scenery to create the picture of the person you're trying to rescue. To me that's far more interesting than music that just says "this land was destroyed, feel sad about it".

Minarchist wrote:

Hello ahrezmendi.

Look at me. Now back to the author of that article, now back to me. Look down, back up, where are you? You're on a website with the man that author could write like. What's in your hand, back at me. I have it, it's a word processor with 1200 words on that thing you love. Look again, the word processor is now diamonds.

I'm on a horse.

...

I'm not sure how to respond to this. I get the impression you're mocking me, which I don't appreciate one bit, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt that's not the case.

Now I'll read the rest of your response.

EDIT: Nah, actually I'm still put off by that initial response. I read your post, but I'm not going to respond right now (if at all). Should've known better by now than to try and have this discussion online.

ahrezmendi wrote:
Minarchist wrote:

Hello ahrezmendi.

Look at me. Now back to the author of that article, now back to me. Look down, back up, where are you? You're on a website with the man that author could write like. What's in your hand, back at me. I have it, it's a word processor with 1200 words on that thing you love. Look again, the word processor is now diamonds.

I'm on a horse.

...

I'm not sure how to respond to this. I get the impression you're mocking me, which I don't appreciate one bit, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt that's not the case.

Now I'll read the rest of your response.

He wasn't meaning any offense. It was just a roundabout way of saying you're discussing the article with the author.

You realize the guy who wrote the article and Minarchist are the same person, right?

cube wrote:

You realize the guy who wrote the article and Minarchist are the same person, right?

Nope.

RoughneckGeek wrote:

It was just a roundabout way of saying you're discussing the article with the author.

For reference:

/peanut_gallery

ahrezmendi wrote:
cube wrote:

You realize the guy who wrote the article and Minarchist are the same person, right?

Nope.

Eh, don't feel bad. I think I said something like "This is the last I will say on it" when I posted the article in the SMT IV thread, which I had hoped would clue in the few people who didn't already know I'd written that article, but I guess it didn't have the effect I intended.

At any rate, the P4 music seems to be pretty sharply divisive. It was by far what I got the most pushback on in the gamasutra comments and in other discussions outside of that scope. Interestingly, though, I've had a lot of people tell me they hate it. The really ironic thing to me is that I'm probably the most shameless Persona fanboy around and I've gotten totally flamed for pointing out what I consider to be one of the game's few major flaws.

I don't feel bad. I also think your criticism is spot on, I just don't agree with it. I wasn't jarred by the Heaven music, its relation to Nanako actually made me feel more rushed as I thought more and more on her trials and tribulations.

I do agree that the Sauna theme can't be listened to repeatedly for hours on end, but given its purpose relative to the stage and Kanji's emotional turmoil I don't think it has to. Your example from Gears of War falls into the same category I'd argue - It works brilliantly in the scene it's built for, but I'm not going to repeatedly listen to a very short, very quiet string piece supporting a high tension scene.

I suppose to a great extent the interest comes from the controversy. You could have chosen a super easy game to criticize, such as Uncharted 3 which you made a small example of, but that's not likely to be as meaningful.

EDIT: Ah, I'd not seen that old spice ad. I don't watch broadcast TV, so I tend to miss out on references to advertisements.

I'm not really sure what the game is about... But the music is wonderful

Sadly the soundtrack doesn't seem to be available separate.

Eldon_of_Azure wrote:

I'm not really sure what the game is about... But the music is wonderful
Sadly the soundtrack doesn't seem to be available separate. :(

The game is GREAT. Everything is timed to follow the beat of the music (for example the little bubble pod thing only moves to the beat).

e.g...

stevenmack wrote:

The game is GREAT. Everything is timed to follow the beat of the music (for example the little bubble pod thing only moves to the beat).

e.g...

The marketing I've seen has done a terrible job really conveying how the gameplay/musical tie-ins really work. Nothing I've seen really tells me what I'm actually doing and how I'm interacting with the game. Take this abomination for example, which turned me off altogether until I can see some straight-up gameplay with commentary. If you want to sell a game that relies so heavily on music and rhythm, don't have a guy who sounds like he's trying to drop the world's biggest turd rambling on for 2 minutes over the soundtrack:

New Game Music Bundle is out! Fez, Larry Reloaded, Gunpoint and more! Looks good, I'm in!

http://www.gamemusicbundle.com/

billybob476 wrote:

New Game Music Bundle is out! Fez, Larry Reloaded, Gunpoint and more! Looks good, I'm in!

http://www.gamemusicbundle.com/

Hopefully this time some of the albums don't get yanked before I have a chance to download them

shoptroll wrote:
billybob476 wrote:

New Game Music Bundle is out! Fez, Larry Reloaded, Gunpoint and more! Looks good, I'm in!

http://www.gamemusicbundle.com/

Hopefully this time some of the albums don't get yanked before I have a chance to download them :?

I fully agree with you there.

I think my favorite part of the site is the ability to listen to all of the tracks before buying. Payday is Thursday and I'll be listening to the various tracks until then (listening to the Monaco: The Gentleman's Private Collection right now, wow) and dropping at least the ten dollars to get all of the soundtracks (more if my budget allows).

EDIT:
Couldn't wait, dropped the money on it today. Having ramen for all meals tomorrow ;).

-
I emailed the Beatbuddy team about a release window for their soundtrack and they replied October, though the release of the EP: Europa Deep's "Lost in Yesterday" will be around the end of August.