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Video game music...

Posted 11-19-2009 at 08:25 AM by BriGuy92
Updated 01-05-2010 at 08:34 AM by BriGuy92
...and, by default, the tendency that Japanese people have to be awesome.

Yeah, I consider music to be a pretty high priority of quality in a video game. Great music can make an amazing game even amazinger. Yes, I just invented a word. As an example, have a listen to this tune:

That tune, for those not in the know, plays during one of the most frustrating sections of Super Mario RPG: The Forest Maze. The name alone should tip you off; it was a maze you had to find your way through, and the only hint was an NPC that would show up occasionally to point you in the right direction. And it was positively packed with enemies. But that music made it bearable. I'll even go so far as to say that the music made it desirable to go there. Call me crazy, but that's just an awesome song, as are most of the songs in that game.

Now that I think about it, most of the music by that composer, Yoko Shimomura, is pretty cool.

So what I'm basically saying is that the music adds a lot to the whole experience of the game. Of course, some games take that a step further. I'm talking specifically about the Metroid series here. Anyone who's played any Metroid game knows about the way that the music of those games manages to work itself into the very environment itself. It's not background music, it's foreground music. Need proof?

Super Metroid is probably the biggest "offender" here. Nearly all of its tunes are so very fitting to the areas they're found in that you hardly even notice the music as you play. That's how seamless it is. Have a listen to another:

The area of the game that this tune appeared in was probably the loneliest, as well as the creepiest, area. It was a weird and kind of lonely-feeling place to begin with, but the music amplifies it immensely. Of course, ten years later, that same tune was redone for an area in Metroid Prime 2. As hard to believe as it may be, it fit even better there.


And speaking of Torvus Bog, listen to the main theme that level:

There's nothing I can say about this song that does not scream "EPIC!" It's not awesome so much in that it integrates with the level, but that it's just such a cool song.

Alright, I've said enough about Metroid; time to look at the flip side of the coin. Some music in video games is just... bad. I'm looking at you, Yoshi's Island DS. Just take a look at any of those search results. Sure, some of them are pretty okay, but for the most part, they're just not good. Not to mention the fact that they're all the same freaking song. That tactic only works sometimes, Nintendo. You did a good job with it in Super Mario 64. That worked. In Yoshi's Island DS, it did not. At all. In my opinion, the only good song in that whole game was this one here:

Alright, I'm finished ranting for today.

tl;dr: Some video game music is epic, Metroid especially. Other music sucks. Japanese people are wonderful a whole lot of the time.

longpost is looooooooooooooong

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  1. PedroRomero's Avatar
    i totally agree. the music in a game is usually the part of the game that sticks with me the longest. video game soundtracks are made of love.

    you have some awesome choices up there.

    you know what one thing i always wanted to do? i always wanted to go to one of those concerts where they play game music. There was on a few years ago in Baltimore that played songs from Final Fantasy, Morrowind, and tons others.

    I love listening to orchestral arrangements by like The London Symphony Orchestra of Yoshi's island theme for example. I used to play a lot of vid game music on my viola when I still played a lot.
    Posted 11-19-2009 at 09:08 AM by PedroRomero PedroRomero is offline
  2. SOC's Avatar
    Oh freak yes, your blog is full of win here. I totally listen to almost all of those songs you posted on a daily basis. I listen to video game soundtracks as I grind in MMORPGs and in the car when I'm driving. :3

    Metroid series, especially the ones you posted, have some of the most epic songs of all time. Personally, though, the best game music composer is Nobuo Uematsu, for sure. Final Fantasy and other Square music is just... mind blowing.

    Yes, those two songs from Super Metroid are my favorite, and Torvus Bog was very good in MP2. I actually go there to AFK and just listen to it some times, it's so good. (Ironically I just got Metroid Prime Trilogy last friday and re-beat MP1, finally beat MP2, and replaying MP3 'cause I never finished it.)

    Honestly, though, IMO, Yoshi's Island DS wasn't that good, and I didn't like its music either. :/ The normal one, on the SNES, had EPIC music that I still hum today!

    Also, I would like for you to check out OC Remix because it has A LOT of epic fan-made VG music remixes. And my favorite song in Super Mario RPG is... Hmm... I hum that song of that cloud city that Mallow is from a lot... but I still think that yeah, the mushroom forest is my favorite! Smithy had a sweet battle theme, too. - Is also full of win, BTW.
    Posted 11-19-2009 at 09:36 AM by SOC SOC is offline
  3. BriGuy92's Avatar
    Heheh, I've already heard that song in the video, and I'm pretty sure I have the top score on it in Audiosurf. And yes, I also know about OC Remix. Probably one of my favorite sites ever. I've actually got a work-in-progress song that I'd like to submit there once it's finished. Of course, I don't really anticipate finishing it anytime soon; I haven't worked on it in over a year now.
    Posted 11-19-2009 at 10:28 AM by BriGuy92 BriGuy92 is offline
  4. SOC's Avatar
    Oh, yeah? What all songs are you using in WIP? I would love to hear it if I recognize it! XD
    Posted 11-19-2009 at 11:02 AM by SOC SOC is offline
  5. BriGuy92's Avatar
    Well, this is the thread I made on the OCR forums about it, but I'm pretty sure that none of the link I posted are valid any more. So here is a new link to the mp3 file.
    Posted 11-19-2009 at 11:33 AM by BriGuy92 BriGuy92 is offline
  6. 7979789Omina's Avatar
    Agreed, Metroid had such fitting music! I hated Yoshi's Island DS, Super Mario Advanced 3, Yoshi's Island was better than that, seriously.
    Posted 11-19-2009 at 03:47 PM by 7979789Omina 7979789Omina is offline
  7. 7hatGuy's Avatar
    Wait, are you saying that Super Mario Advanced was better or worse then Yoshi's island? The comma confuses me T.T

    Also, no Sanctuary Fortress from MP2? For shame...
    Posted 11-19-2009 at 03:57 PM by 7hatGuy 7hatGuy is offline
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