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Kung Fu Hung-Su

80s and 90s gaming music versus today

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If I think of memorable game music, I generally think of 8/16 bit games. I've had the Amiga R-Type intro theme ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBJ0bzB2_FU ) stuck in my head for months now. Listening to the actual music is a let down, and does sound a bit dated, but the theme itself is still great. Even if it doesn't feature the usual chiptune sounds I like from that era.

 

PvZ, Diablo 1/2 and Portal are probably the main games that are 'modern', that the music stood out as noticeable for me. That may just be because I have a habit of playing my own music in more recent games via WinAmp, and turning game music/sound off. It may also be because I don't really play many games anymore, and tend to stick to single titles for longer.

 

I don't think they deliberately made music/sfx catchy to cover other shortcomings of the games, per se. I think, in part, it was just another element they could focus on to make the game more immersive/fun to play. The original Sid Meier Pirates! game, and Elite, were both games I'd have running in the background, just to hear some Baroque harpsichord pieces, or Strauss's Blue Danube, respectively. But I wouldn't say those tunes were chosen to cover up the godawful (by modern standards) graphics, but rather the atmosphere they induced.

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Obliterator on the Amiga had a great soundtrack. Just a pity the game itself was utter crap.

 

 

IMO, it takes a hell of a lot more talent to do "chiptunes", ie get music out of what is essentially a tone/waveform generator.

 

The Amiga and Atari STE were kind of intermediate tech between PSGs and modern day sound systems. DMA based sample playback, although the programmer did have to do some work because you simply couldn't just play back a WAV file, you needed to construct waveforms on the fly.

 

Modern day games don't really count IMO - it's all just pre-composed stuff played back as MP3 or <whatever> You can essentially get some muso who has absolutely no computing experience to do the music without him going anywhere near a computer.

 

Xenon 2 had some pretty cool music:

 

Armalyte on the C64 had some great music:

 

 

Of course, some of the best music was actually in demo:

 

(Atari STE)

 

(Atari 8-bit)

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haha holy crap cybes, xenon 2 does really sound good :D ANd i don't even need to play the game to appreciate that haha

 

EDIT: Oops! Sorry Rybags! D=

Edited by Kung Fu Hung-Su

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Rob Hubbard

 

 

/thread

 

<3 <3

 

And dont forget Ban Daglish

 

 

Also this one

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Squidy

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The only game Ive played in the last 8 years that has music I would call good is X3.

 

I dont know what you would call this style of music, mirrors edge used it to a certain extent as well.

 

 

Edited by Sir_Substance

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I think Mario's music was an essential part of the game's success. Yes, the game contained elements of great game design: risk/reward, progressive increase in difficulty as the player got acquainted with the game's skills etc - but there was definitely purpose in the music that was made for the game. Had to be catchy to really make the game a mad hit.

Oh I don't disagree on the music helping make it a hit. It's catchy as all hell.

But your OP stated that catchy music was to cover up the shortfalls of graphics back in the day.

 

I'll ask again. So do you think Mario's music was to overcome the graphical limitations?

 

But people won't buy a game based on the music alone. They buy it because they heard/read that the game is fun. Great music is a bonus.

Didn't say people will buy games for the music. (ignore music games). Riddle me this: how long will a person play a game that has no music at all, before putting it down and complaining that the game feels dead?

 

For many games, not long, I imagine. Even if they don't put it down, they'll complain about it being missing. Music of some sort is -essential-.Great music keeps a game in a person's mind for longer. This is a good thing.

 

Re-reading your original quote

----

It's coming to my attention that great music certainly broadens the potential audience of a game a great deal. Thinking about text adventures and roguelikes and such with no music, it really did take a special kind of person (fully atomic, wahahaha) to play and enjoy those games.

----

I think I misread what it is you said.

 

I agree that a lack of music will turn quite a few people away. On that note though, I always turn off any music in a racing game (Except for Flatout and Road Rash). In fact I'm playing through Transformers: War for Cybertron and I can't remember any music there. But then again there's sufficient background noise from the environment to distract me from any silence.

 

Actually... did Portal have any background music (aside from turning on a radio)?

 

How much of Final Fantasy's music stands out? How much of it is in the last decade? Same again for blizzard - how much of the music have they made lingers in your mind, and how much of it was made recently? Halo theme is only one song - that doesn't make catchy music common. Not to mention that the halo theme is over half a decade old now. I stand by my belief that catchy music in games today remains uncommon, because it it is perceived to be unnecessary compared to a game's other elements. A shame.

There's plenty of FF music that has stood out, but not in the last decade. You've got me on that one.

Halo actually has a few themes, but everyone really only remembers one - Finish The Fight.

The others linger in my mind, but I'm not everyone.

Half a decade = 5 years old = not 80s/90s.

 

I'm starting to run out of arguments though and will most likely concede that catchy music is rare these days. Especially multiple catchy tunes.

But I still don't believe that there's a correlation between improved graphics and decline in catchy music.

 

 

If I think of memorable game music, I generally think of 8/16 bit games. I've had the Amiga R-Type intro theme ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBJ0bzB2_FU ) stuck in my head for months now. Listening to the actual music is a let down, and does sound a bit dated, but the theme itself is still great. Even if it doesn't feature the usual chiptune sounds I like from that era.

 

PvZ, Diablo 1/2 and Portal are probably the main games that are 'modern', that the music stood out as noticeable for me. That may just be because I have a habit of playing my own music in more recent games via WinAmp, and turning game music/sound off. It may also be because I don't really play many games anymore, and tend to stick to single titles for longer.

 

I don't think they deliberately made music/sfx catchy to cover other shortcomings of the games, per se. I think, in part, it was just another element they could focus on to make the game more immersive/fun to play. The original Sid Meier Pirates! game, and Elite, were both games I'd have running in the background, just to hear some Baroque harpsichord pieces, or Strauss's Blue Danube, respectively. But I wouldn't say those tunes were chosen to cover up the godawful (by modern standards) graphics, but rather the atmosphere they induced.

+1 to what Nich... said

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Oh I don't disagree on the music helping make it a hit. It's catchy as all hell.

But your OP stated that catchy music was to cover up the shortfalls of graphics back in the day.

 

I'll ask again. So do you think Mario's music was to overcome the graphical limitations?

Hmm, no. The music was to take the game from enjoyable to burned in the souls of people forever.

 

I think I misread what it is you said.

 

I agree that a lack of music will turn quite a few people away. On that note though, I always turn off any music in a racing game (Except for Flatout and Road Rash). In fact I'm playing through Transformers: War for Cybertron and I can't remember any music there. But then again there's sufficient background noise from the environment to distract me from any silence.

 

Actually... did Portal have any background music (aside from turning on a radio)?

I'll turn music off for sims. Yes there are quite a lot of games where music is unneeded now that you mention it. Even back to Pac-man where the constant wokka wokka sound makes music redundant. I still haven't played portal. I'll play it when I feel like it.

 

There's plenty of FF music that has stood out, but not in the last decade. You've got me on that one.

Halo actually has a few themes, but everyone really only remembers one - Finish The Fight.

The others linger in my mind, but I'm not everyone.

Half a decade = 5 years old = not 80s/90s.

 

I'm starting to run out of arguments though and will most likely concede that catchy music is rare these days. Especially multiple catchy tunes.

But I still don't believe that there's a correlation between improved graphics and decline in catchy music.

I am beginning to see that it's not a direct correlation - that is, improvements in graphics tech *causing* catchy music to become less common. As to what that is, I think any answer anyone gives will be speculative and vague at best.

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haha holy crap cybes, xenon 2 does really sound good :D ANd i don't even need to play the game to appreciate that haha

Whilst I appreciate being well-thought-of, I believe that credit belongs to Rybags. ;)

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How could I have ever forgotten - Cannon Fodder.

 

If you're talking music that adds atmosphere to a game, then it'd have to be one of the best examples.

 

Loading theme:

 

 

Intra-level music:

 

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O_O

 

Hung-Su and I had a discussion on the internet where we started off on opposing sides, and ended up agreeing with each other without resorting to name-calling or flame wars or anything

 

O_O

 

How did that happen?

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O_O

 

Hung-Su and I had a discussion on the internet where we started off on opposing sides, and ended up agreeing with each other without resorting to name-calling or flame wars or anything

 

O_O

 

How did that happen?

Its important not to over-analyse or obsess over your failures morris, we all make mistakes.

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