Jeff's online journal, ramblings, whatever.

Hey, it all sounds like video game music!

One of the most common comments I’ve had on music I’ve written in the past has been “Wow, that sounds like it’s right out of a video game!” or “It makes me think of Sonic the Hedgehog for some reason” or some variant thereof. This criticism has been one that I’ve actively tried to avoid (as most people tend to not take video game music seriously or hold it in high esteem), yet since I work in an electronic medium and have little access to real live instruments, it’s something that I’m basically going to have to live with until I can afford high-end sound libraries (I was using some of Nate Drew’s recently, but they all got stolen, so it’s going to be awhile).

In the meantime, I’ve resolved that, if I’m limited by funds and libraries and therefore can only write video game music, I might as well try to make it the best video game music it can be (for purposes of this post, when I refer to video game music I don’t mean the full orchestral scores you get out of Halo or whatever, but the more electronic sounds associated with games like, well, Sonic the Hedgehog). And even in that medium there is much that can be done to elevate music above the mediocre or utilitarian. Consider the following: back in the mid-90’s, there was a DOS game released called Clyde’s Revenge. It was a typical sidescroller of the time and the game itself, while fairly fun, was nothing particularly exciting or groundbreaking. The music was a general MIDI soundtrack done by a guy named Garret Thomson, and a typical track would sound like this:

MV14

It’s kind of funky, but nothing really to write home about. Now compare it to a remix I did in 30 minutes, using the same MIDI file:

Enter the Magnets

Still video game music, still using virtually the same notes even, but the latter is something I’d put on a playlist and listen to on its own, while the former is fairly blah. And it’s that skill I can work on and even market: writing music that can both enhance a game and stand on its own.

In conclusion, I don’t really have a though-provoking or controversial point regarding the state of video game music or my skills as a composer. I just did this remix and liked it, so I wanted to share it. That is all. Enjoy the Magnets!

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2 responses

  1. To be fair, Jeff, sometimes they don’t sound like video games. Sometimes they sound like “Eye of the Tiger” 🙂

    January 29, 2011 at 3:27 pm

  2. PS. I really like the remix. It made me think of Mega Man.

    January 30, 2011 at 2:30 pm

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