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Show Notes RFG World 2 Levels 25-34

November 23rd, 2010

Oh my goodness, look at that!  The last 2 months have been hectic for me, and I haven’t been quite as diligent about updating the show notes as I should be.  I promise to make every effort to post the show notes just as regularly as I post new episodes.  Anyway, as another entry in the “better late than never” column, here are the links and track names for World 2 Levels 25-34.

RFG World 2 Level 25

George and Jonathan’s “The Best Music” – Intro (Party Every Night), Toy Factory, No More Lies, Out With My Girlfriends, Witch’s Brew, Whale, Business Trip

WillRock’s “Back to Square Waves” – 2 Minutes to Midnight, Everybody Wants to Rule the World, MadNes, Protoman Theme, Route 225, Shoot ‘Em Down, Im in ur green hill, eatin ur mushrooms, Beyond The Relms of Time and Space

konjak’s “The Legend of Princess” Soundtrack – Title, Stage, Miniboss, Battle 2, Saved

The Minibosses – Metroid, Castlevania, Super Mario Bros 2, Mike Tyson’s Punch Out, Ninja Gaiden

RFG World 2 Level 26

Vernian Process’ “The Cries of the Planet: An Orchestral Tribute to the Music of Final Fantasy VII” – Main Theme, Tifa’s Theme, A Secret Sleeping in the Deep, The Nightmare Begins, A Full Scale Attack, Cid’s Theme

Mick Gordon’s “Avatar: The Last Airbender” Soundtrack – The Last Airbender, The Prologue, Air Bending, Aang Fighting in the Air Temple, Aang in the Ice Caves, The Fire Nation Storm the City, The Airbender Must Save Us, Aang Summons the Ocean, End Credits

Jay Tholen’s “The Great Hylian Revival” – The Spirit Descends on Kakariko Village, Lullaby, Saria’s Song, Saviour of Toadstools, Breaker of Bricks, Conjurer of Fire

OCRemix.org’s “Final Fantasy V: The Fabled Warriors 1 ~ Wind”

RFG World 2 Level 27

Dwelling of Duels August 2010 – Bonkers “Select”, mithius “Clouds”, M-H “ROOPO”, Daniel Alm “Melancholia”

Nebyoolae’s “Gamey Mixture” – Dave is the Man, It’s Dark at 3AM, Matoya’s Cafe, Super Mega Eagle Scout, From the Depths of the Sky

Adam WarRock’s “West Coast Avengers MixTape” – Hank Pym, War Machine, U.S. Agent, Tigra & Firebird Intermission, Super-Woman, Living Lightning, Vision, NES Hard

Metroid Metal’s “Expansion Pack” – Norfair, Prime Theme, Brinstar Crateria

Koji Kondo’s “Super Mario World” Soundtrack – Title, Overworld, Athletic (Yoshi), Underground (Yoshi), Swimming, Haunted House, Fortress, Bowser’s Last Attack, Staff Roll, Cast List

RFG World 2 Level 28

OCRemix.org Remixes of the “Tales of Phantasia” Soundtrack – Dhsu & Sixto Sounds “The Unholy Wars”, Ghetto Lee Lewis “Emotions Lost in Time”, Fishy and Nutritious “Just Go”, Anthony Lofton & Dhsu “Sweet Dreams”

Nimrod Production’s “Split/Second” Soundtrack – The Elite (Director’s Cut), Eye of the Storm, 10 Past Zero, Heavy Heat, Cold Sweat and Fears, Hunt with the Pack, Safe Progress, Extended-Powerful (Tower Mix)

Virt’s “Shantae: Risky’s Revenge” Soundtrack – Main Titles, File Select, She’s Got Moves, Through the Trees, Adventure, Sand in my Potion, Hall of Magic, End Credits

Kameya and Ishida’s “F-Zero” Soundtrack – Opening Theme, Big Blue, Fire Field, Silence, White Land 1, Port Town, Mute City, Sand Ocean, Ending Theme

RFG World 2 Level 29

Tomoko Sasaki’s “Ristar” Soundtrack – Shooting Ristar, Dancing Leaves, Splash Down!!, Break Silence, Ring Rink, Ice Scream, Crazy Kings, Next Cruise

Dwelling of Duels September 2010 – Scaredsim and Harjawaldar “Finish the Minish!”, Prince of Darkness “I Need Scissors! 61!”, FamicomBit “Kick Master”, CarboHydroM “Starshine on the Rocks”, bill cakes “Gecko Swerve”, Hat “Credit Where Credit’s Due”

NintenJoe64’s “Life” – Final Sunset, Evil Forces, Jenova Theme Remix

OCRemix.org Remixes of the “Super Metroid” Soundtrack – Revolver Project “The Mother is in Control”, DrumUltimA “Petals”, Matt Drouin “Energy Tank”, Big Giant Circles “In Your Prime”, Red Tailed Fox “Bonsai Garden”

RFG World 2 Level 30

SGX’s “Wonderful Bite (Free Version)” – Right Back Up, Span, Shed, Rockstar, And All That Between

Navi’s “Lo Fi Muey Thai” – Jugglebath, Cookin’ With Fire, Black Hole Beautiful, Bass Girl, +Infinitum

Mattias “AnoSou” Gerdt’s “We Express Ourselves with T-Shirts” – T-Shirt With Flowers Instead of Fabric, T-Shirt Made by Sang Han, Souvenir T-Shirt from Space Travel, Stolen T-Shirt with Black Cat Print, The Person You Love Forgot this T-Shirt, Richard’s T-Shirt

Samuel Ascher-Weiss’ “Ender’s Game” – Graff – Rat, Rat – Bonzo

RFG World 2 Level 31

David Wise’s “Donkey Kong Country” Soundtrack – Simian Segue, Cranky’s Theme, Life in the Mines, Forest Frenzy, Ice Cave Chant, Gang-Plank Galleon, The Credits Concerto

Songs playing behind the first bit of the interview with Daniel Baranowsky were from the Super Meat Boy Soundtrack, available for purchase here.

OCRemix.org Remixes by Daniel Baranowsky – Awakened Fears of the Gerudo, Damn Those Turks!, Before Time

Remix: Tha Sauce Remixes – jmr “Princess Maker 2: Something’s Out There”, Skrypnyk “NiGHTS Into Dreams: Escape Into the Twilight”, pothocket “Final Fantasy IX: How Much Longer”, jmr “Super Mario Galaxy: Meteorites and Rabbits”, Navij11 “Kirby & The Amazing Mirror: Kirby’s Mystical Mirror”, OA “Lufia 2:  Stand Tall”

RFG World 2 Level 32

Olivier Deriviere’s “Obscure 2″ Soundtrack – Corruption with Rage and Melancholy, Back to School, Finally Home, Melancholy, We All Die, Waltz of Death, The Last Ones, Atmospheric Mood

Dwelling of Duels September 2006 – Reboot “Soggy Meadow”, Scaredsim “Lost Stars”, John Trent “Magdalene”, Paragon “Promise Fulfilled”

Bioshock Soundtrack (No Longer Available For Free) – Bioshock Main Theme, Welcome to Rapture, Step into my Gardens, Dancers on a String, Cohen’s Masterpiece, The Engine City, Empty Houses, This is Where They Sleep, All Spliced Up

OCRemix.org Remixes – Children of the Monkey Machine “Magus (Temporal Rehab)”, Scott Peeples “GhostOfStHelens”, Nekofrog and Sole Signal “Malevolent Mansion”, Tamimi “NayTomorrow”, Mazedude “Norfair Deathmarch”, Protricity “Neighburgers”

RFG World 2 Level 33

Dwelling of Duels October 2010 – MH “Unicorn”, Brandon Strader “Ring”, Ergosonic “Continua”, Scaredsim “Leaves”, Musically Inspired “Sherwood”, Daniel Alm “Chainsaw”

Zelda Remixes by ArtificialFear – Lost Woods, Song of Healing, Gerudo Valley, Dark World Theme, Stone Tower Temple, Twinrova

Virt, Freaky DNA, and Norrin Radd’s “Retro City Rampage” Mixtape

Phlogiston’s “Super Crate Box” Soundtrack – Tutorial, Construction Yard, Moon Temple

Dragon Quest VIII Piano Arrange Album – Majesty of the Castle, Overcoming Painful Times, To a Vast World, Tower of Mystery, These Feelings, Fly to the Heavens

RFG World 2 Level 34

Noumenon’s “Nimbus” Soundtrack – 01-01, 02-02, 03-01, 03-02, 04-02

Bradley Burr’s “Tower Assault!  Curse of Zombie Island” Soundtrack – World 1 Overworld, World 1 Battle 1, World 1 Battle 2, Super Soldier, World 2 Overworld, World 2 Battle 1, World 2 Battle 2, Hidden Level, World 3 Overworld, World 3 Battle 1, World 3 Battle 2, Final Battle, Credits

OCRemix.org Remixes by Scott Peeples – Wicked Orchestra, Dream Fighter, Another Inspiration, Facility (Hacker Mix), Clear Skies

Oshima & Tanaka’s “Legend of Legaia” Soundtrack – Prologue, Title Screen, World Map Theme, Sad Theme, Rim Elm, The Ride to Karisto, Sol Fever Disco

Super Meat Boy Interview!

October 19th, 2010

Danny Baranowsky will be interviewed on Radio Free Gamer tomorrow, Wednesday the 20th, about his soundtrack for the newly-released Super Meat Boy for the Xbox 360, Wii, PC, and Mac. IGN Editor Daemon Hatfield referred to Baranowsky’s chiptune soundtrack to Super Meat Boy as “the best I’ve heard since Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game”, which is high praise considering the amazing quality of the Scott Pilgrim game soundtrack.

Join Radio Free Gamer this Wednesday from 7-9 PM Eastern here at 8BitX to hear the interview, as well as other great video game music. If you cannot listen live, be sure to download the podcast when it is posted later this week. The interview will also be posted to Youtube.

If you have any questions you want asked during the interview, please feel free to leave them here!

A Guide to the Video Game Music Scene

September 29th, 2010
Other Entries in this Series: Pt. 1
The video game music scene has its roots in nostalgia.  Millions of people around the world can relate to these games and their music.  The appeal of listening to video game music and creating remixes is twofold: first it allows people of different backgrounds, cultures, and languages to come together through the shared experience of gaming, and second it allows the artist to express their own feelings and experiences through this common medium of game music.  The video game music scene has developed into a global community, and this guide is meant to introduce readers to some of its many players and outlets.

Part 2: Remixing Video Game Music

What is Video Game Music Remixing?

In recent years a number of musicians have dedicated themselves to “remixing” video game music.  Wikipedia describes a remix as “an alternative version of a song, made from an original version.”  A remix, in the purest sense of the word, includes the original song in some way.  Many of the songs created by these video game remixers contain elements from the original song, such as the melody or instrumentation, but do not use the original track in the finished remix.  Thus it may be more appropriate to refer to these songs as “arrangements” or “reinterpretations” rather than remixes.  Regardless of semantics, the video game music remixing community has become a driving force behind the growth of the video game music community.

In the wake of the video game remixing trend, some game companies have themselves released official remix albums.

When asked what they found appealing about remixing video game music, the artists at OverClocked Remix had a wide variety of answers.  William Harby (aka WillRock) cited the technical and monetary limitations faced by many of the composers of original video game music, saying that through remixing he wants to “bring new life to tunes that didn’t have the equipment needed to realise their full potential as works of art.”  Many of the artists mentioned nostalgia as a driver, which Stevo (aka Level 99) attributed to the “joy of going back to something you have fond memories of” as well as making new memories by remixing music from games he had not played before.  Elizabeth Ryerson (aka ella guro) echoed a sentiment expressed by many fans of video game music: love for the wide body of “well composed and interesting game music that so many people don’t take seriously at all because it’s from a videogame.”  Remixing video game music not only pays tribute to the original composers, but also legitimizes it to an entirely new audience.

Just as musicians create remixes for a number of reasons, so are video game music fans drawn to remix sites for different reasons.  At first Wesley Cho (aka Bahamut) searched the internet for original video game music, but “happened upon remixed/rearranged songs often by accident & grew to appreciate them.”  When video game music was more difficult to find, remixes gave listeners an entirely new way to experience music from their favorite games.  OverClocked Remix user Ray Falling spoke of how he listens to remixes so he can hear game music ”without actually having to play the game”, and also attributed the appeal of listening to remixes to hearing “someone take a soundtrack to a next level.” Finally, Damon Campbell (aka Blue Magic) remarked upon the creativity involved in remixing.  When different artists apply their own styles to video game music, the results can be “unique even though some may share the same source tune.”

Sites Dedicated to Remixing Video Game Music

OCRemix's "Summoning of Spirits" remix album

OverClocked Remix – Founded December 11th 1999 by David Lloyd (aka djpretzel), OverClocked Remix is described by its staff as an “organization dedicated to the appreciation and promotion of video game music as an art form.”  OverClocked Remix (or OCRemix) fosters the appreciation of video game music by hosting remixes as well as providing information about the original games and soundtracks.  The OCRemix community also serves as a place where emerging artists can develop their skills through collaboration and exchanging constructive criticism.

OCRemix hosts over two thousand individual remixes by over five hundred remixers, all available to download for free.  Remixes may be downloaded in large collections via torrent, downloaded individually from one of the site’s mirrors, or streamed on OCRemix’s YouTube channel.

In addition to hosting individual remixes, OCRemix also hosts community-driven album projects each dedicated to a single game.  These albums often feature a wide variety of artists from OCRemix, collaborations with several remixers on a single track, and thematic elements which grant cohesiveness to the album.  OCRemix also hosts albums and original soundtracks made by some of the musicians who have contributed remixes to the site.

Remix: Tha Sauce – Launched in 2006 by OCRemix veterans Ty Guenley (aka Suzumebachi) and Douglas Arley (aka Ramaniscence) as an extension of the video game music news and culture site Tha Sauce, Remix: Tha Sauce (or R:TS) does not place an emphasis on technical execution but rather looks for creativity and nostalgic value in its submissions.  The site hosts a wide array of remixes which can all be downloaded for free.

The artwork from the September 2009 Dwelling of Duels contest, reflecting its theme of Rareware Games

Dwelling of Duels – A monthly video game remixing competition centered around live instrumentation, the Dwelling of Duels (or DoD) contest has been held regularly since 2005.  A theme is defined for each month, and remixers must submit their mixes anonymously.  The mixes are then voted upon by the listeners, and a winner is declared.  All submitted mixes are made available to download for free. The DoD contest was established as part of the video game remix site VGMix, which unfortunately has gone down.  However, the contest is still held regularly at its new home page.

Remix.kwed.org – The community at Remix.Kwed.Org (or RKO) is dedicated to the preservation and appreciation of music composed for the Commodore 64 video game system.  This community may serve a small niche of video game music, but the remixes on their site are of no lesser quality.  Their remixes can be downloaded invidually or via torrent.

OverLooked Remix – Overlooked Remix (or OLR) is “dedicated to ridiculous interpretations of video game music and video game culture.”  A wide variety of remixes, some parodical some not, are available at OLR to download for free.

Where to Go From Here

In the first part of this series, several original game soundtracks were mentioned.  Various resources hosting original video game music were also discussed, giving readers an opportunity to discover some of the soundtracks which are being remixed on the aforementioned sites.  Many of these sites allow users to search by game, so they may look up remixes for their favorite games and listen to them.  If listening to these mixes yields a remixer whose style particularly appeals to the listener’s taste, the listener can then search for remixes by that remixer and discover new remixes and games.     Another good idea is to download the torrents available at these remix sites.  These torrents usually contain many different remixes, so listeners are guaranteed to get a wide variety of music.  This is a great way to start if the listener does not have any particular game or remixer in mind and would just like to get into some music.

Part Three of “A Guide to the Video Game Music Scene” will feature video game bands and musicians!  As the video game music scene continues to grow, an entire subculture has formed around bands which have dedicated themselves to performing music from video games.  The article will explore the history of the development of such bands, name some of the many bands which are active today, and list resources to find their music and receive information about their concerts.   Please check it out when it’s posted within the next two weeks!

Justin Johnston is the host of Radio Free Gamer, a weekly podcast featuring free video game and video game inspired music. Listen live here on Wednesdays at 7PM Eastern.  Subscribe to the podcast via RSS here or via ITunes here.

Show Notes World 2 Levels 23/24

September 1st, 2010

Hey everyone!  World 2 Level 23 was kind of eaten by the internets, so I combined it with World 2 Level 24.  Here’s the rundown:

Another Soundscape’s The Answer: Preview Edition – A sneak peek of AnoSou’s tribute to Armored Core: For Answer.  These aren’t even the final cuts, and they still sound amazing.  AnoSou brings his usual technical flair to the already epic soundtrack, and the result is utterly brilliant.  Featured on this episode: Morning, Thinker, Twisted on the Surface, Apex in TECHNO

Pause Music’s Magnetic Sumo – A compilation from Pause Music, the online source for chip tunes and demo scene music.  A variety of artists contribute to the album, including OCR favorite Joshua Morse.  Featured on this episode: Bionic Boiz, Give us the Green Light, Spheredivers, What Was Once a Great Nation, Meteor Shower Pro.

Kenneth and Troy Keyn’s Trenches Original Soundtrack – OCRemixer Abbadoss and his brother Troy Keyn team up to score the IPhone strategy game Trenches.  OCRemix is kind enough to host the soundtrack and distribute it for free, so be sure to visit their site for the torrent.  Featured on this episode: Dead of Night, Battle at Dawn, The Engine of War, Awaiting Orders, Iron Crosses.

Dwelling of Duels December 2005 – Dwelling of Duels, the monthly video game remixing competition, has finally found a permanent new home at dwellingofduels.net.  To celebrate, RFG airs one of the best contests to date.  Featured on this episode: Zeboimite Ascension, Eternal Wind, The Battle for Alefgard, Fire Cross.

Setsuo Yamamoto’s MegaMan X Original SoundtrackThe original soundtrack to MegaMan X is one of the most metal OST’s on the Super Nintendo.  Countless VGM bands have covered it, and for good reason.  The MegaMan X soundtrack stands as a great example for the marriage of rock and video games. Featured on this Episode: Intro Stage, Boomer Kuwanger, Chill Penguin, Launch Octopus, Spark Mandrill, Sigma Fortress 1, Sigma Fortress 2, Castings.

The Bossfights The Bossfights EP – The Bossfights are a new nerd rock super group fronted by the accomplished nerdcore rappers Zealous1 and Dr. Awkward.  Their first EP rocks pretty darn hard, mixing metal with nerdcore rap to make pure win.  As soon as their full album is released, RFG will be all over it. Featured on this episode: Left4Dead, Frontalots.

The University of Maryland Gamer Symphony Orchestra’s Spring 2010 Concert – The UMD GSO recently celebrated their second mix on OCRemix, the Celtic-influenced Hyrulian Highlands from The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker.  Be sure to hit up their home page and download all their concert recordings. Featured on this episode: Gusty Garden Galaxy, Hyrulian Highlands.

That’s it for this week!  Be sure to keep an eye on the blog and join us next week for some more Radio Free Gamer!

A Guide to the Video Game Music Scene

September 1st, 2010
Other Entries in this Series: Pt. 2
The video game music scene has its roots in nostalgia.  Millions of people around the world can relate to these games and their music.  The appeal of listening to video game music and creating remixes is twofold: first it allows people of different backgrounds, cultures, and languages to come together through the shared experience of gaming, and second it allows the artist to express their own feelings and experiences through this common medium of game music.  The video game music scene has developed into a global community, and this guide is meant to introduce readers to some of its many players and outlets.

Part 1: Original Video Game Soundtracks

What is Video Game Music?

Before delving into the world of video game remixes, covers, and arrangements it would be best to discuss the original music from which all of these draw.  To be clear, video game music is any music written for the express purpose of being featured in a video game.  Wikipedia has a fairly comprehensive account of the technological development of video game music, and in summary there are two main kinds: music which is recorded onto physical media and music which is generated by specialized sound chips embedded in the game consoles.

The earliest video game music was stored on physical media such as cassette tapes or records.  These media were prevalent during the 1970’s when the arcade industry was developing and the home console had not been widely adapted.  The drawbacks to storing music on physical media are obvious: they were prone to breakage, they were limited in how much music they could store, and it is much more difficult to change tracks as the player progresses through the game.

A much simpler solution was the sound chip.  Music could be stored digitally in a compressed format.  What was stored was not the actual sound, but rather instructions for a proprietary chip to produce the music.  The chips themselves were capable of creating sound using a limited number of channels.  Composers could only utlize as many sounds at any one time as there were channels, but could produce a wide variety of low-fidelity sounds over these channels.  It was much simpler to produce these chips, and the music could be controlled much more easily by the machine.  This would remain the standard for nearly 20 years, in both arcade machines and home consoles.  This technology has also spawned its own genre of music, dubbed “Chip Music” or “Chip Tunes”, in which musicians create compositions for a variety of sound chips.

The DSP1 Sound Chip Utilized by the Super Nintendo

With the advent of disc-based games came the return of recorded music.  The actual music was stored on the game disc and did not face channel limitations or other drawbacks inherent to sound chips.  As disc storage space and music production budgets grew, composers could utilize a vast array of live and electronic instrumentation.  Modern games do not have to sacrifice sound quality and can have music ranging from orchestral to rock to electronic.

Sources for Original Video Game Music

Most game music is stored inside arcade cabinets or game cartridges. As these containers degenerate and are lost it stands to reason that the music within would be lost as well.  Luckily, there are individuals who have taken it upon themselves to preserve and distribute video game music.

SNESmusic.org hosts complete soundtracks from many Super Nintendo games.  The soundtracks themselved are stored in SPC format, which requires a special media player plugin to play.  This added step is well worth it, as the files themselves are much smaller than MP3’s while maintaining the SNES’ sound quality. Soundtracks can be downloaded individually or all at once via a torrent.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Soundtrack

Zophar.net offers soundtracks from consoles ranging from the Nintendo Entertainment System up to the Nintendo 64.  As was the case before, these files are stored in various formats other than the standard MP3, so plugins are required for each type of file to be played.

In addition to hosting a large collection of video game remixes, OCRemix.org also hosts a collection of original soundtracks.  For example, to download the original soundtrack to “Final Fantasy”, simply type “Final Fantasy” into the search box at the top right and select the game page for “Final Fantasy” from the search results. The soundtrack is available under “Chiptunes” on the game page.  Most newer games do not have this option.

There are an increasingly large collection of video game soundtracks available through commercial outlets such as ITunes, Bandcamp, and Amazon.  A search for “video game soundtrack” (or a term along those lines) will yield a list of soundtracks available for purchase.  Many recent Western titles such as “Mass Effect” and “Red Dead Redemption” have made their soundtracks available through such outlets for reasonable prices.  Imported soundtracks may be expensive though, and research may turn up one of the many sites specializing in imported soundtracks.

If a soundtrack is not available at any of the above sources, there is a large community at Youtube dedicated to posting video game music.  This is mentioned last because the audio quality is typically supbar on Youtube, and because most of these soundtracks are made available without the game publisher’s consent.  This is not usually a problem with older soundtracks, but Youtube videos containing music from newer games are often removed.  That being said, an increasing number of game publishers are releasing tracks on Youtube as a way of promoting their games.

Important Composers and Soundtracks

There are too many great video game composers and soundtracks to list here, but certain names are encountered frequently in the video game music community. Listening to music from some of the games mentioned below is a great way to start gaining an appreciation for video game music.

The Super Mario Galaxy Soundtrack

The Super Mario Galaxy Soundtrack

Koji Kondo has been an in-house composer for Nintendo since 1984.  In that time he has scored numerous first-party Nintendo games.  Kondo has created some of the most iconic and popular video game music to date, with his most influential work being “Super Mario Brothers” and “The Legend of Zelda”.  Recently, his work on “Super Mario Galaxy” was heralded as being one of the finest orchestral soundtracks to date.

Nobuo Uematsu is widely considered to be the grand master of video game music, and his work on the “Final Fantasy” series changed the face of the industry.  Uematsu composed for “Final Fantasy” on the Nintendo Entertainment System through “Final Fantasy X” on the Playstation 2, with minor contributions to other entries in the series.  Uematsu composed the entire soundtrack to “Final Fantasy XIV”, though at the time it is unclear if he will return for future installments in the series.  His most influential work includes “Final Fantasy IV”, “Final Fantasy VI”, “Final Fantasy VII”, and “Final Fantasy VIII.”

The “Castlevania” series has had almost as many composers as it has entries.  Each has served to set the tone for this gothic adventure series, and many games owe something to the “Castlevania” series.  The most important entries are Kinuyo Yamashita’s “Castlevania”, Jun Funahashi, Yoshinori Sasaki and Yukie Morimoto’s “Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse”, and Michiru Yamane’s “Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.”

The “Sonic the Hedgehog” series helped establish Sega as a rival to Nintendo during the 16-bit era.  Masato Nakamura’s brilliant soundtracks to the first two entries in the series take full advantage of the Genesis sound chip and set an example for depth and utter catchyness in game music.

The Metal Gear Solid Soundtrack

Finally, the “Metal Gear Solid” series stands as a more recent example of influential video game music.  Tappy Iwase’s dramatic electronica set the futuristic tone of “Metal Gear Solid”, while Harry Gregson-Williams’ work on “Metal Gear Solid 2″ gave the game the feel of a high-budget film.  All games with big-budget soundtracks owe something to “Metal Gear Solid.”

Other Places to Start

Garudoh’s Youtube series entitled “From Bleeps to Beats: The Music of Video Games” chronicles the development of video game music.  There are several hundred videos in the series, each one highlighting the music from a particular game.  Obviously it’s not important to watch every single video, but browsing through the most viewed entries is a great way to become more familiar with video game music.

There are many video game radio stations which air a wide variety of music.  The station here at 8BitX.com favors classic soundtracks as well as remixes.  The video game soundtrack station on AOL Radio focuses on more recent soundtracks, many of which are available commercially.  A search on Google or on an internet radio player will yield many more stations with a wide variety of playlists.

Part 2 of A Guide to the Video Game Music Scene will cover remix sites, which are amazing resources for free remixes of video game music.  Be sure to check it out when it’s posted next week!  Update: Please find the second article in the series here.

Justin Johnston is the host of Radio Free Gamer, a weekly podcast featuring free video game and video game inspired music. Listen live here on Wednesdays at 7PM Eastern.  Subscribe to the podcast via RSS here or via ITunes here.