This is the Video Game Music Thread

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Can video game music be "good"/"listenable" outside of the game?

Is removing the music from a game like stripping an album of the packaging?

What video game music stays with you?

Jonathan Williams (ex machina), Wednesday, 9 October 2002 11:45 (eighteen years ago) link

Can it be good? Redneck Rampage! My brothers and I still listen to this when we BBQ, complete with shouting out "Get Off Ma LAAAAAAAAAN!"

As for staying with you, I have the themes to Super Mario Brothers, Metroid and Zelda's outdoor one on instant memory recall.

Mr Noodles (Mr Noodles), Wednesday, 9 October 2002 11:52 (eighteen years ago) link

GTA 3 has quite possibly the best soundtrack ever.

Chris V. (Chris V), Wednesday, 9 October 2002 11:54 (eighteen years ago) link

The "Goal scoring superstar hero" music from the original Sensible World of Soccer is actually the best house track ever.

Dom Passantino (Dom Passantino), Wednesday, 9 October 2002 12:03 (eighteen years ago) link

8 bit Mega Man music is still with me.

Is there something to be said for the minimalistic music employed here. I should dig up NES sound documentation to show how primitive the facilities employed in these games was.

Jonathan Williams (ex machina), Wednesday, 9 October 2002 12:09 (eighteen years ago) link

Some of the music on the C64 was actually great. Primitive as anything, but there's a certain charm about the music used in, for instance, Microprose Soccer (uber-chirpy military march).

Dom Passantino (Dom Passantino), Wednesday, 9 October 2002 12:10 (eighteen years ago) link

The Diablo music is great.

Keith McD (Keith McD), Wednesday, 9 October 2002 12:19 (eighteen years ago) link

Yeah, the Diablo theme for the town was k-grebt.

Also - Nobuo Uematsu's work for Squaresoft.

Ess Kay (esskay), Wednesday, 9 October 2002 12:27 (eighteen years ago) link

Haha the only music which bring tears to my eyes is "Cid's Theme" & "Interrupted By Fireworks" from the FFVII OST; plus Public Enemy's "By The Time I Get To Arizona". So, er, yeah. It stays with you. Also : the Cannon Fodder theme.

Ess Kay (esskay), Wednesday, 9 October 2002 12:31 (eighteen years ago) link

Tetris music is great.

MarkH (MarkH), Wednesday, 9 October 2002 12:32 (eighteen years ago) link

I occasionally found myself humming the music from Quake II...okay, so humming wasn't exactly the word. Oddly, when you put the CD in your standard home audio CD player, it would play. Were there any other PC games that used mixed-media CDs that would also play the soundtrack on your home stereo?

Sean Carruthers (SeanC), Wednesday, 9 October 2002 13:18 (eighteen years ago) link

isn't there a record on TB6 that compiles gabba made on the sound chip for a commodore or summat?
the music on Manic Miner and Jet Set Willy is fahing acesome. i sampled the Chase HQ spectrum music on a Sean Fah trak i made, swicked.
music on RPGs is often tear jerking; on the SNES Zelda, check out the beatz when you're in da village, well sad.

sf, Wednesday, 9 October 2002 13:23 (eighteen years ago) link

Make sure and check out music by the fantastic ROB HUBBARD!

Rahul Kamath (Rahul Kamath), Wednesday, 9 October 2002 15:03 (eighteen years ago) link

Here's a guide I wrote to the music of Rob Hubbard. Sorry, it's not in HTML yet, but it will give you an idea of where to start in his sizable discography.

Rahul Kamath (Rahul Kamath), Wednesday, 9 October 2002 15:16 (eighteen years ago) link

surely that kid is too young to be messin' with Ding Dongs?

nutz, deez, Wednesday, 9 October 2002 15:35 (eighteen years ago) link

I picked up this hip hop breaks record in Portland, OR called "Video Game Breaks" which contains a hip hop version of the Super Mario Bros. dungeon level music.

donut bitch (donut), Wednesday, 9 October 2002 15:55 (eighteen years ago) link

Square's Final Fantasy music has always been terrific, and it even has its own particular signatures and qualities, which strikes me as something of an achievement.

Music for Zelda Ocarina of Time was k-fantastic, particularly Saria's song -- which, yes, I have listened to outside of the game context and enjoyed possibly more.

The question got complicated as soon as disc-based systems were introduced and "actual" music could be put on them: Wipeout XL, the Japanese dancing game Bust a Move, and Grand Theft Auto all have "imported" stand-alone studio recordings on them that I enjoy.

nabisco (nabisco), Wednesday, 9 October 2002 16:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Mucho props to the Hubbardster. I recently downloaded an electroclash track and it was basically some Japanese girl singing over a recording of his loading theme to Sanxion, which was one of his best.
When talk turns to music made with the SID (the Commodre-64’s music chip), honourable mentions must also go to Ocean’s in-house composer Martin Galway: mmmmmm, Galway chord sound. Although not half as experimental he had possibly the strongest melodies, possibly because he had more time to work on tunes, rather than the bang-them-out-and-make-them-stand-out nature of the freelancer Hubbard. Galway’s best soundtrack by a mile is the Wizball game music where he was encouraged to wierd out by the Sensible Software boys (also see Parallax). He also made a sublime soundtrack for Rambo, and his ‘Ocean Loading Theme’ helped soothe a million hours waiting while whirring cassettes spun.
Other great tunes where made by the Follin Brothers , Chris Hülsbeck and Maniacs of Noise.
Be sure to check out The High Voltage Sid Collection for a pretty exhaustive archive of almost every SID track ever and details of how to play them on your PC.

Chewshabadoo (Chewshabadoo), Wednesday, 9 October 2002 16:01 (eighteen years ago) link

Pixies covered the theme from "Narc"

donut bitch (donut), Wednesday, 9 October 2002 16:01 (eighteen years ago) link

I covered the theme from 'Delta'!

Chewshabadoo (Chewshabadoo), Wednesday, 9 October 2002 16:03 (eighteen years ago) link


Jonathan Williams (ex machina), Wednesday, 9 October 2002 16:16 (eighteen years ago) link

uh hello... Ecco the Dolphin.
so hauntingly beautiful.

drags, Wednesday, 9 October 2002 16:21 (eighteen years ago) link

drive like jehu is a video game reference.

three mile pilot's chief assassin to the sinister has a few obscure video game refs, most notably "androsyn guardian".

gygax!, Wednesday, 9 October 2002 16:42 (eighteen years ago) link

I like the music for Chrono Trigger and MUSHA Aleste.

Video game music appreciation site:

Underclocked, Wednesday, 9 October 2002 16:43 (eighteen years ago) link

drive like jehu is a video game reference.

huh? Isn't that a BIBLE reference?

Jonathan Williams (ex machina), Wednesday, 9 October 2002 16:44 (eighteen years ago) link

I really liked the FF7 and Diablo music, but remain somewhat skeptical of it as a whole. (This is largely due to the embarrassing amount of fawning Sega otaku were doing over the theme song to NiGHTS, which sucked so much ass it should have been called "Ass Hoover".)

Dan Perry (Dan Perry), Wednesday, 9 October 2002 16:51 (eighteen years ago) link


lucasarts' the dig had great music but i can't remember how much of it was just made of up of wagner excerpts. ("mitch do you like hitler?")

Mitch Lastnamewithheld (mitchlnw), Wednesday, 9 October 2002 16:55 (eighteen years ago) link

Re: drive like jehu = biblical reference

well yes...

but if you've ever played that video game where your driving the Ferrari you may know what i'm talking about...

gygax!, Wednesday, 9 October 2002 16:57 (eighteen years ago) link


Kris (aqueduct), Wednesday, 9 October 2002 16:58 (eighteen years ago) link

Actraiser and Secret of Mana = great

chaki (chaki), Wednesday, 9 October 2002 17:01 (eighteen years ago) link

that megaman thing was great


Jonathan Williams (ex machina), Wednesday, 9 October 2002 17:03 (eighteen years ago) link

the theme from Arkanoid is crying out for some hip hop beats

the Tekken soundtracks are great - i like Yoshimitus's theme from Tekken 3

blueski, Wednesday, 9 October 2002 17:07 (eighteen years ago) link

The Silent Hill stuff is diabolic and good and the closest video games have ever come to the "experimental/noise" section in your local college music shop.

Honda, Wednesday, 9 October 2002 17:20 (eighteen years ago) link

Actraiser and Secret of Mana = great

Yes! The music to Secret of Mana is beautiful, especially the main theme (with the flutes), and there's some really nice orchestral writing in Actraiser too -- very rich, intelligent, creative. The SNES is probably my all-time favorite platform for video game music -- it's poised right between the two eras, with a palette that's rich enough to be totally convincing, but not so broad as to lose the distinctive flavor of the old-school stuff. Other favorites for SNES include the usual Mario/Zelda/Metroid suspects, as well as a couple less-known games like Drakkhen and Spiderman and X-Men: Arcade's Revenge, which has some pretty tremendous disco-funk music laden with wah-wah guitar and horn stabs. Mario Paint had some nice ambient music hidden in various sections on the cart.

Other platforms: I haven't played much in the way of Genesis games, but Ecco the Dolphin is definitely right up there. On the NES, besides the obvious ones (i.e. the original versions of the usual suspects above), I was always quite taken with the music to Xexyz -- it had a remarkably haunting and self-consistent soundworld. The opening theme to Marble Madness bears a pleasing resemblance to a section just before the end of the first movement of Debussy's La Mer. And The Adventures of Dino Riki had a charming little jaunty theme in the opening stage.

Phil (phil), Wednesday, 9 October 2002 17:58 (eighteen years ago) link

i can't believe there's been all this discussion without any mention of the minibosses. they are the best video game band of all time.

check out especially (free mp3s on that site):

-contra (OH MY GOD)
-kraid/metroid (OH MY GOD)
-ghosts n goblins (etc)
-wizards n warriors (etc)
-mike tyson's punchout! (etc)
-megaman 2 and double dragon (if they've been put online yet, i dunno)

um yeah. up up down down left right left right b a select start!! (i'm talkin 2-player)

geeta (geeta), Thursday, 10 October 2002 01:29 (eighteen years ago) link

If it sounds like it should be music from an NES Iron Maiden game - it is good. Megaman and Contra seem to be the kings of this sound. Castlevania and Ninja Gaiden are great too. I saw a whole album of thrashy 80s metal renditions of Castlevania tunes and it no doubt rules.

original bgm, Thursday, 10 October 2002 01:44 (eighteen years ago) link

Lest we forget what horrible things occurred when those twunts (whoever they were) attacked and maimed the mighty "Tetris" theme...

Oh, and I can't believe nobody's touched on Hamburg's wonderful L'Age D'Or label - - who've long been flying the computer-games-done-weirdly flag:

is the one that you want, yes it is - Add N To (X), Jeans Team, Plundersonics et al twist loads of, uh, old Commodore 64 tunes into wikkid shapes.

Charlie (Charlie), Thursday, 10 October 2002 02:33 (eighteen years ago) link

The end theme to Metal Gear: Solid (a balladic Celtic folk song) ranks as one of the most beautiful pieces I've ever heard.

Leee (Leee), Thursday, 10 October 2002 02:46 (eighteen years ago) link

are there any good covers of the "marble madness" theme music out there? now that was some haunting shit! especially the aerial levels!!

geeta (geeta), Thursday, 10 October 2002 03:10 (eighteen years ago) link

Mega Man 2 music owns, every bit of it. FFVIII has a couple good moments, like the Sepiroth theme and the end music if I remember correctly.

Jordan (Jordan), Thursday, 10 October 2002 04:37 (eighteen years ago) link

for Amiga lovers, the Turrican in-game music was hard to beat!

blueski, Thursday, 10 October 2002 11:33 (eighteen years ago) link

What about "Everyone".

Jonathan Williams (ex machina), Thursday, 10 October 2002 11:40 (eighteen years ago) link

I will praise and laud anyone who can find me mp3s of the music to Boon-Ga Boon-Ga.

Dan Perry (Dan Perry), Thursday, 10 October 2002 14:15 (eighteen years ago) link

I am actually going to attempt to steer this thread back towards answering the original questions.... GASP!

I have to be honest and admit that had, say, the Super Mario Brothers theme (which I completely adore) been released completely outside the video game or the industry itself, I would have overlooked as muzak. The nostalgia is the main appeal.


The limitations placed upon how much resolution the music could contain back in the day was a big part of its charm today.. the further you go back, the more charming the music is (to me), because of the limitations. It's also educational, and for DSP/IDM enthusiasts especially, provides the most clear-cut case study on the development of computerized music...

Nostalgia obviously figures back into this again of course, but I think electronic music today has been very recently been heavily influenced by ancient video game technology and the music thereof, mainly because this has been the most accessible forum for hearing the odd ancient sounds of its time.

Someone on ILM in a past thread mentioned "Well, if those guys could have made the music back then sound like Styx, they would have, but they couldn't... hence..". Sadly, now that the technology is there to pretty much play fully rendered analog rock music, there's going to be less charm and less reason to be excited about the music of video games today.


...the fact that the catchiness of video game background music is a key element to a video game's success. This is the understated reason I think recent cutesy Japanese video games have captured the hearts of those who would be bored by all the big sounding sports or racing games.

Just clusterfuck of thoughts here... but I'm curious to hear all y'all thoughts.

donut bitch (donut), Thursday, 10 October 2002 17:46 (eighteen years ago) link

why 1 and 2 and not megaman 3?!

mitch lastnamewithheld (mitchlnw), Thursday, 10 October 2002 17:52 (eighteen years ago) link

Sean C: I think it used to be a very popular thing to do before the advent of MP3s and larger games. I have at least Lode Runner: the Legend Returns and Lemmings 3D as games I can put in my CD player, and I'm positive there are many more.

Vinnie (vprabhu), Thursday, 10 October 2002 19:19 (eighteen years ago) link

Now to answer the question! Video game music often stays with me - some of my favorite soundtracks are the Mega Man games, Chrono Trigger, Aero the Acrobat, and Legend of the Mystical Ninja.

Vinnie (vprabhu), Thursday, 10 October 2002 19:20 (eighteen years ago) link

one year passes...
The Advantage CD is really, realy enjoyable. BUBBLE BOBBLE (!!!)

|OBEY|EYE|BO| (deangulberry), Tuesday, 20 April 2004 15:33 (sixteen years ago) link

Just played through Earthbound recently and that has some of the strangest (and greatest) music of any game I've played. Whoever composed it got some pretty wild sounds out of the SNES sound chip. (i.e. the REALLY FAT AND NASTY bass sounds in some of the battle music)

original bgm, Tuesday, 20 April 2004 15:54 (sixteen years ago) link

this beat samples shinobi 3

Bstep, Wednesday, 22 January 2020 19:17 (one year ago) link

lol my bad i meant this one

Bstep, Wednesday, 22 January 2020 19:20 (one year ago) link

Bstep, Wednesday, 22 January 2020 19:21 (one year ago) link

six months pass...

Hirosato Noda - prelude (Final Fantasy X OST)
reworked dance/hip-wiggling version that has been already mentioned in this thread, i'm sure

resent rendition of the FF Prelude Theme by three (?) presumably japanese girls on a huge Xylophon(?)

Yū Miyake - kitsch (Tekken 4 OST)
jazzy fun loop; vocal parts sound like an electrified version of Manhattan Transfer

Yasunori Mitsuda - 風が呼ぶ、蒼穹のシェバト
Xenogears OST Revival Disc - the first and the last', Track 31.
Arranged version that oozes with influence from those big 70's TV score composers like Bill Goldenberg. But maybe it's just me.

Chill & Zelda - dark world (Mikel Lofi Remix)
Ian Taylor - sea shanty 2, Runescape OST
OSRSBeatz - sea shanty 2 (Trap Remix), Soundcloud still & again popular banger on gamer streams; helps rng in different games

meisenfek, Monday, 27 July 2020 18:17 (seven months ago) link

that last one reminds me of this banger

diamonddave85​​ (diamonddave85), Tuesday, 28 July 2020 00:13 (seven months ago) link

one month passes...

Final Fantasy XIV - Exponential Entropy (Alexander: Cruise Chaser's Theme) by Masayoshi Soken

Forward and back and then forward and back
And then go forward and back, then put one foot forward (x2)

Transcendental minds unleashed
Exponential entropy

Forward and back and then forward and back
And then go forward and back, then put one foot forward (x8)

(crossposted to hoover tunes: what are the essentials )

meisenfek, Wednesday, 9 September 2020 13:34 (five months ago) link

Terraria - underground (by Scott Lloyd Shelly)

Description: It's a fast and whimsical track, with an almost robotic tone.

(Terraria Gamepedia)

meisenfek, Wednesday, 9 September 2020 13:44 (five months ago) link

Runescape 07 - Book of Spells (Trap Remix)


meisenfek, Wednesday, 9 September 2020 13:50 (five months ago) link

yuzo koshiro's ys soundtrack is one of my alltime favorites. my partner said this one sounded like the pet shop boys

diamonddave85​​ (diamonddave85), Wednesday, 9 September 2020 14:53 (five months ago) link

the ff14 soundtrack is astonishing. i played a lot of hours of that game and there's still a zillion tunes i've never heard, including that one.

adam, Wednesday, 9 September 2020 16:17 (five months ago) link

"‘Half-Life’, all in-game sounds replaced with samples from 90s rave tracks and sample CDs."

adam, Wednesday, 9 September 2020 18:40 (five months ago) link

Not sure if anyone has mentioned Quest Master yet but found it on bandcamp recently and am kind of blown away. It's a Dungeon Synth "love letter to the RPG's of the 1990's". All 3 albums have been pretty fun. This is the latest:

gman59, Friday, 11 September 2020 00:14 (five months ago) link

two weeks pass...

Kamil Orman Janowski - Shaper's Realm
(OST Path Of Exile - Atlas Of The Worlds)

I listened to this a lot, A LOT of times looping ingame for hours.
And it still grows and makes me wanna pee.

meisenfek, Friday, 25 September 2020 13:02 (five months ago) link

Short interview and performance by the Panzer Dragoon musician

Robert Adam Gilmour, Thursday, 8 October 2020 20:24 (four months ago) link

She (Saori Kobayashi) and Yoko Kanno. That makes two female computer game composers i know.

meisenfek, Friday, 16 October 2020 23:15 (four months ago) link

Pascal Michael Stiefel - scootin' through clocktowers beneath the sea (A Hat In Time OST)

meisenfek, Friday, 16 October 2020 23:16 (four months ago) link

Michiru Yamane is pretty famous.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Friday, 16 October 2020 23:25 (four months ago) link

three weeks pass...

good stuff here

real muthaphuckkin jeez (crüt), Thursday, 12 November 2020 02:50 (three months ago) link

err, that was supposed to be a link to a youtube channel but apparently ILX thought it was a video URL


real muthaphuckkin jeez (crüt), Thursday, 12 November 2020 02:51 (three months ago) link

mentioned it in the console games poll but the thread blew right by it lol

the "highway star" meets jean-luc ponty "mute city" song from f-zero x is one of the all-time video game bangers

la table sur la table (voodoo chili), Thursday, 12 November 2020 14:19 (three months ago) link

Actually, I spent a good chunk of yesterday afternoon listening to the F-Zero X OST thanks to your post--it shreds wayy harder than I remembered. Some of the tracks are like straight-up death metal w cookie monster vox and everything

american primitive stylophone (zchyrs), Thursday, 12 November 2020 14:23 (three months ago) link


american primitive stylophone (zchyrs), Thursday, 12 November 2020 14:27 (three months ago) link

Piven After Midnight (The Yellow Kid), Thursday, 12 November 2020 14:29 (three months ago) link

omg i totally forgot about devil's forest

the 8-bit version of "mute city" shreds, obviously, but doesn't have the garish grandiosity of the orchestrated version

la table sur la table (voodoo chili), Thursday, 12 November 2020 14:33 (three months ago) link

a friend of mine has done a radio show about video game music:

Specific Ocean Blue (dog latin), Thursday, 12 November 2020 15:26 (three months ago) link

F-Zero OST > F-Zero X OST, but I might be biased, the commentator on X is just too irritating

Devil's Forest is crazy haha

flamboyant goon tie included, Thursday, 12 November 2020 15:40 (three months ago) link

another banger

la table sur la table (voodoo chili), Thursday, 12 November 2020 15:56 (three months ago) link

give the drummer some!

la table sur la table (voodoo chili), Thursday, 12 November 2020 15:58 (three months ago) link

Yeah Big Blue was my jam from this game

Vinnie, Thursday, 12 November 2020 23:19 (three months ago) link

lol you can buy the soundtrack on cd from discogs for the low-low price of one thousand and thirty three dollars

la table sur la table (voodoo chili), Friday, 13 November 2020 15:14 (three months ago) link

you know a fight's about to get real when this starts playing

diamonddave85​​ (diamonddave85), Friday, 13 November 2020 15:17 (three months ago) link

pomenitul, Friday, 13 November 2020 15:20 (three months ago) link

real muthaphuckkin jeez (crüt), Tuesday, 17 November 2020 05:38 (three months ago) link

some serious waking the witch vibes on this track

diamonddave85​​ (diamonddave85), Monday, 30 November 2020 21:33 (three months ago) link

The soundtrack to Hades is great and I just nominated it in the heavy music thread. I've been thinking a lot about game music lately because of it. I also got a Switch and started playing some older titles on their NES/SNES apps and remembered how much I love the Donkey Kong Country music. Mario 2 also has great music. Just bookmarked this thread and am going to check out a lot of new (to me) stuff.

beard papa, Tuesday, 1 December 2020 19:21 (three months ago) link

this game and OST is good

sir kieth scamper QC (||||||||), Wednesday, 2 December 2020 21:52 (three months ago) link

This one is awesome:

Evan, Saturday, 5 December 2020 22:44 (three months ago) link

one month passes...

so good

real muthaphuckkin jeez (crüt), Wednesday, 27 January 2021 01:09 (one month ago) link

feeling it

I Am The Lionel Richies (dog latin), Wednesday, 27 January 2021 01:18 (one month ago) link

One of my favourite things is YouTubes of people covering tunes from Chrono Trigger.

Kara Comparetto does some lovely piano versions:
(although I've noticed nearly everyone struggles to get that quick slide quite right)

I Am The Lionel Richies (dog latin), Wednesday, 27 January 2021 01:31 (one month ago) link

fascinating effort/scene but i wouldn't say their end products are necessarily aesthetically 'better' than the compressed versions we heard from the cartridges

dyl, Saturday, 6 February 2021 17:36 (three weeks ago) link


That's not really my scene (I'm 41) (forksclovetofu), Saturday, 6 February 2021 17:55 (three weeks ago) link

i'm not really a fan of the SMW recreations, they're an interesting curiosity but the way the original SNES version of the soundtrack sounded was so heavily coloured by the compression that these ultimately don't have the same feel to them at all

i do really like the DKC ones people have done though, the compressed versions of the samples on the cartridge weren't anywhere near as coloured by the compression so it really does just sound like a clearer version of the original

ufo, Saturday, 6 February 2021 18:01 (three weeks ago) link

finding that lovely too!

That's not really my scene (I'm 41) (forksclovetofu), Saturday, 6 February 2021 18:10 (three weeks ago) link

xzanfar, Saturday, 6 February 2021 21:28 (three weeks ago) link

two weeks pass...

zero mentions of "one-winged angel" in this thread, which is a shame because it's truly batshit

tiwa-nty one savage (voodoo chili), Monday, 22 February 2021 20:15 (one week ago) link

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