The 'high-water mark for video game music'

Anything to do with games at all.
User avatar
more heat than light
Member
Joined in 2008
Location: Leicestershire

PostThe 'high-water mark for video game music'
by more heat than light » Sun Jul 07, 2019 8:33 am

So every Sunday the music website Pitchfork does a legacy review of an album that they consider to be a significant record from the past that they haven't reviewed before. These are usually pretty good reads, detailing the history of old classic records and their impact on the world today. Logging on this morning, I was surprised to see a review of the Ocarina Of Time soundtrack, a record they describe as 'the high water mark of video game music'.

https://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/ko ... a-of-time/

So I thought first and foremost that that would be an interesting topic of conversation, is this actually the best game music has ever been? But when I got to thinking about it, the whole concept of listening to the music detached from the game got me thinking. Does anyone here simply listen to old game soundtracks? Does the music ever stand up without the game backing it up? I guess it's a bit like listening to film scores, something else I've never really understood the appeal of.

Anyway, discuss. :-)

jawafour wrote:You definitely have the biggest one, mhtl - it's strawberry-floatin' massive!
User avatar
Squinty
Member
Joined in 2009
Location: Norn Oirland

PostRe: The 'high-water mark for video game music'
by Squinty » Sun Jul 07, 2019 9:48 am

I wouldn't say it's the best, it's very iconic though. Kondo keeps thing really simple a lot of the time. And that's why it is so effective. I feel like a lot of music strives to be over complicated, while forgetting that you need something that catchy and accessible to people. OoT's OST does this very well. I did a rough little acoustic cover of the Market Town track at the start of the year, and it's amazing how simple the music is, yet it creates a lot of feeling.

I could not pick the best, although I really love the Chrono Trigger, The Wonderful 101, Final Fantasy VII and Xenoblade 2 OST's.

Edit - Oh strawberry float I forgot Tropical Freeze. Fruit Factory is the GOAT.

Last edited by Squinty on Sun Jul 07, 2019 9:53 am, edited 2 times in total.
User avatar
Balladeer
Member
Joined in 2018
Location: Lord's

PostRe: The 'high-water mark for video game music'
by Balladeer » Sun Jul 07, 2019 9:49 am

Ooh me me this is my topic hello!

First off: I listen to gaming soundtracks, normally extended versions of the pieces on YouTube while I work and write. My tastes are largely instrumental (I was a piano player before I was a gamer) so I prefer pieces without lyrics on the whole, and a good piece of music is a good piece of music no matter where it's found. Many of the pieces of music I listen to do stand up, and some even ape other genres. It helps if you can recall the area or the moment, of course, but it's not always necessary. I'll never play the original Crypt of the Necrodancer, but is this eminently hummable and fun to work to? Is the variant with the shopkeeper still hilarious? Yes and yes.

Second off: no it's absolutely not the high-water mark, but that's not really its fault. OoT used MIDI sounds that just haven't aged as well as the ideas behind them. While the tunes themselves remain incredible, they've been since surpassed by orchestral variants of themselves, let alone other pieces. That's not to say, however, that the soundtrack wasn't stonking for the time. The water's just risen since then. #ExctinctionRebellion

My personal high-water mark is the soundtrack for Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, which is far far better than a 2D platformer about a bunch of hyperactive simians deserves. David Wise is God's gift to videogame music (along with a few others, natch - Yoko Shimomura springs to mind). Whether it's epic frostbitten wastelands, savannahs with a finale straight out of the Lion King, or just the happiest tunes around, the soundtrack has something for almost everyone and does almost all of it well.

Third off: :lol: at Kondo straight up nicking the Islamic call to prayer.

GNamer admin.: visit your friendly neighbourhood affiliate!

Every console has one slow year in its first two. The Switch is now in year 3. Deep breath...
User avatar
Squinty
Member
Joined in 2009
Location: Norn Oirland

PostRe: The 'high-water mark for video game music'
by Squinty » Sun Jul 07, 2019 9:55 am

Balladeer wrote:My personal high-water mark is the soundtrack for Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, which is far far better than a 2D platformer about a bunch of hyperactive simians deserves. David Wise is God's gift to videogame music (along with a few others, natch - Yoko Shimomura springs to mind). Whether it's epic frostbitten wastelands, savannahs with a finale straight out of the Lion King, or just the happiest tunes around, the soundtrack has something for almost everyone and does almost all of it well.


DON-KEY KONGGGGGGGGGGG

The Savannah level is amazing.

User avatar
Cheeky Devlin
Member
Joined in 2008
Location: The Dark And Lonely Regions, Where Nobody Goes.
Contact:

PostRe: The 'high-water mark for video game music'
by Cheeky Devlin » Sun Jul 07, 2019 10:19 am

I've been listening to the dark souls score recently. Thats pretty damn sweet.

Check out some of our stuff!
Image Image Image

JOIN OUR MINECRAFT REALM HERE!
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/ ... sp=sharing
User avatar
OrangeRKN
SONM & Cake Sec.
SONM & Cake Sec.
Joined in 2015
Location: Reading, UK
Contact:

PostRe: The 'high-water mark for video game music'
by OrangeRKN » Sun Jul 07, 2019 10:37 am

Ocarina is top for me. The soundtrack has so much baggage, nostalgia included, that it's impossible to get away from.

Witty biological-political hybrid jokes are the reason this place fails to cater to a wide audience
Image
Image
Web - RedBubble - @OrangeRakoon - GOTY 2018
User avatar
Cheeky Devlin
Member
Joined in 2008
Location: The Dark And Lonely Regions, Where Nobody Goes.
Contact:

PostRe: The 'high-water mark for video game music'
by Cheeky Devlin » Sun Jul 07, 2019 10:47 am

OrangeRKN wrote:Ocarina is top for me. The soundtrack has so much baggage, nostalgia included, that it's impossible to get away from.

It is a great soundtrack. Even weirder when considering that apart from a few notes in the Hyrule Field music, the main theme for the series isn't in it at all.

Check out some of our stuff!
Image Image Image

JOIN OUR MINECRAFT REALM HERE!
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/ ... sp=sharing
User avatar
Balladeer
Member
Joined in 2018
Location: Lord's

PostRe: The 'high-water mark for video game music'
by Balladeer » Sun Jul 07, 2019 10:57 am

Squinty wrote:Edit - Oh strawberry float I forgot Tropical Freeze. Fruit Factory is the GOAT.

Glad I could help. :P


I forgot to mention earlier, in response to the 'Do you listen to game music?' question, that I have a few gaming soundtracks on my iPhone. DKCTF (illegally ripped :oops: ) is one, and I have bits of Smash for Wii U and Twilight Princess from the special editions of those games; and I also have Yooka-Laylee as a backer reward, and have barely listened to it because of my eternal hope that I'll someday play the rest of the game. I do however have the proper full Celeste and Undertale soundtracks, and they get a lot of playtime.

In a way, I think indie developers (and the composers who help them) are the ones really pushing the boundaries of music at the moment. Shovel Knight, Hollow Knight, and the aforementioned Crypt of the Necrodancer are all relevant here as well. They don't have big budgets, so they have to do more with what they have; a lot of the time that trumps have an orchestra in your back garden.


Other soundtracks I think are worth mentioning are Super Mario Galaxy (natch), whatever the latest Smash is (natch), Banjo-Kazooie (less natch but Grant Kirkhope on song is and was a force to be reckoned with), and... Bravely Default. A lesser-known 3DS JRPG that got a massive musical ensemble to do its music. This is the final boss theme: even if you don't give a crap about JRPG musics, it's worth simply clicking the link to see the scale of their musical force. The other end of the scale from the indies I just mentioned, I suppose!

GNamer admin.: visit your friendly neighbourhood affiliate!

Every console has one slow year in its first two. The Switch is now in year 3. Deep breath...
User avatar
SugarDave
Member
Joined in 2008

PostRe: The 'high-water mark for video game music'
by SugarDave » Sun Jul 07, 2019 2:53 pm

I listen to plenty of game soundtracks, new and old, and even own the records for select ones I particularly adore. I value their composition and use to the extent that a good one can elevate an otherwise unremarkable game to something I loved going through.

Akira Yamaoka's work on Silent Hill 2 stands out to me as possibly the best that gaming has to offer. Not all of the tracks are something you'd want to listen to outside of the game but I can't think of another score that feels quite as integral to the entire experience of their respective game as that one.

User avatar
Kriken
Member
Joined in 2015
AKA: Best boy
Contact:

PostRe: The 'high-water mark for video game music'
by Kriken » Sun Jul 07, 2019 3:08 pm

As it happens, the other day I was telling a friend that I thought OoT's soundtrack was incredible. Not just great but really high up there. I randomly got onto listening to its soundtrack, and though I already knew it to be good having played it so much, it only just hit me there quite how consistently good it is.

Every composition is solid and there's a lot of variety. Aside from obvious standout tracks like Hyrule Field, the title screen theme and the Forest Temple, I also like the theme used for sneaking past the castle guards. Imbued with so much humour and a sense of mischief.

To me Ocarina still has the most solid endgame segment in any Zelda game and the music really compliments it, from Ganondorf's organ-playing as you go up the stairs, to the boss fight and then the sinister music that plays as the castle is going down. Then there's the suitably epic final boss music and a solid credits medley.

Of course I can't deny my bias though, as it was a game I played a lot while growing up.

User avatar
Mommy
Member
Joined in 2009

PostRe: The 'high-water mark for video game music'
by Mommy » Sun Jul 07, 2019 3:09 pm

The original Silent Hill theme gives me goose bumps.
Monty on the Run score from the C64 version is my favourite game music ever, pushed close by Robocop on the Speccy or Actraiser.

I have officially retired from international football.
User avatar
Squinty
Member
Joined in 2009
Location: Norn Oirland

PostRe: The 'high-water mark for video game music'
by Squinty » Sun Jul 07, 2019 3:26 pm

Balladeer wrote:Other soundtracks I think are worth mentioning are Super Mario Galaxy (natch), whatever the latest Smash is (natch), Banjo-Kazooie (less natch but Grant Kirkhope on song is and was a force to be reckoned with), and... Bravely Default. A lesser-known 3DS JRPG that got a massive musical ensemble to do its music. This is the final boss theme: even if you don't give a crap about JRPG musics, it's worth simply clicking the link to see the scale of their musical force. The other end of the scale from the indies I just mentioned, I suppose!


Bravely Default has a really good soundtrack. The bit at 1.39 on this is the strawberry floating gooseberry fool.


User avatar
Mystical Ninja Starring Danmon
Go for it, Danmon!
Joined in 2008
Location: Peach Mountain

PostRe: The 'high-water mark for video game music'
by Mystical Ninja Starring Danmon » Sun Jul 07, 2019 3:31 pm

I think a GRecommends for videogame music would be a great thread.

I can see how Ocarina is considered the high point as it combines quality with nostalgia, but for me... Wind Waker was better.

Loved the soundtracks for Animal Crossing, Banjo Kazooie and Donkey Kong Country 2 but it's probably nostalgia talking (especially with AC). Thought the OG Sims and JSRF have great soundtracks too but the latter is selected music not written exclusively for the game.

Loved the minimalist soundscape of the original RDR too.

User avatar
Rex Kramer
Member
Joined in 2008

PostRe: The 'high-water mark for video game music'
by Rex Kramer » Sun Jul 07, 2019 3:37 pm

Not sure if it still holds up but I remember Outcast on PC having an absolutely incredible soundtrack.


User avatar
Balladeer
Member
Joined in 2018
Location: Lord's

PostRe: The 'high-water mark for video game music'
by Balladeer » Sun Jul 07, 2019 4:23 pm

Kriken wrote:To me Ocarina still has the most solid endgame segment in any Zelda game and the music really compliments it, from Ganondorf's organ-playing as you go up the stairs, to the boss fight and then the sinister music that plays as the castle is going down. Then there's the suitably epic final boss music and a solid credits medley.

From a position of less nostalgia, I'd say it's actually beaten out by the two most recent Zelda games, let alone other ones in the canon. There's the phantasmal march of dead soldiers from BotW, of course; there's also the way ALBW's medley builds. Both of them absolutely splendid.

Mystical Ninja Starring Danmon wrote:I can see how Ocarina is considered the high point as it combines quality with nostalgia, but for me... Wind Waker was better.

There's no wrong answer to the 'which Zelda has the bestest music', natch. For me the best moment (outside the credits theme) is when they take the triumphant Great Sea theme that you absolutely love by this point unless you have a heart of utter stone... and subvert it. Image

Squinty wrote:Bravely Default has a really good soundtrack. The bit at 1.39 on this is the strawberry floating gooseberry fool.

I know a lot of people love that one, but for me it's actually one of the weaker battle themes in the game... which is amazing given how good it is. :wub:

Mommy wrote:Monty on the Run score from the C64 version is my favourite game music ever, pushed close by Robocop on the Speccy or Actraiser.

This absolutely qualifies under 'great music from games I've never played'.



Shines through despite the old soundset, definitely (although I do also like this remix).

GNamer admin.: visit your friendly neighbourhood affiliate!

Every console has one slow year in its first two. The Switch is now in year 3. Deep breath...
User avatar
HaruKazuhira
Member
Joined in 2018

PostRe: The 'high-water mark for video game music'
by HaruKazuhira » Sun Jul 07, 2019 5:22 pm

VGM has a pretty special place in my heart and always will. It's magical when a soundtrack compliments the game perfectly and it only adds to its timeless nature. Which is the case with OoT and honestly a lot of the Zelda games.

Image
"I am the reason, the answer and the problem"
twitter
User avatar
Pedz
Twitch Team
Joined in 2009

PostRe: The 'high-water mark for video game music'
by Pedz » Sun Jul 07, 2019 5:31 pm

I love listening to music that's from games seperate to playing the games themselves.

I have a load on my PC and Spotify, from the original music to remixes (just not the really gooseberry fool remixes people were posting in the remixed game music (not sure on name) thread.)

ImageImage
User avatar
Drumstick
Member ♥
Joined in 2008
AKA: Vampbuster

PostRe: The 'high-water mark for video game music'
by Drumstick » Sun Jul 07, 2019 6:39 pm

I generally have favourite singular tunes but if we're talking complete soundtracks, I'd nominate DKC2, Banjo-Kazooie, Perfect Dark, F-Zero GX and Metroid Prime.

One man should not have this much power in this game. Luckily I'm not an ordinary man.
Image Image
"economically unviable"
-Oblomov Boblomov
User avatar
andythevillan
Member
Joined in 2008
Location: Birmingham

PostRe: The 'high-water mark for video game music'
by andythevillan » Sun Jul 07, 2019 7:58 pm

Is anyone listening to High Score on Saturday evenings on Classic FM as it's a great show promoting how fantastic videogame is and they play a generally good selection. My favourites recently have been Hollow Knight and Hyper Light Drifter which I listen to regularly on my phone

User avatar
Johnny Ryall
Member
Joined in 2008
AKA: Macraig
Location: Box Elder, MO

PostRe: The 'high-water mark for video game music'
by Johnny Ryall » Sun Jul 07, 2019 8:09 pm

I like a bit of chiptune aesthetic.

Always think of the Fez soundtrack.



Shovel Knight as well



The Messenger's music was incredible:



A reimagining too but I have lots and lots and lots of love for Tee Lopes' Sonic Mania work, I wish it was available to stream.



Return to “Games”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: IAmTheSaladMan, more heat than light, Nook29, Peter Crisp, Robbo-92, suzzopher, Tafdolphin and 47 guests