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How Videogame music affected your mainstream tastes (and vice versa)?


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I was pondering on cool ideas for original editorials until I thought of this one all of a sudden. Only now I started reflecting on my musical tastes of my childhood until today and how videogame music became a major part of it. I would love to read your stories, and if you mind me quoting you for my editorial if I ever finish it...it would be great. If you're not comfortable with it, just say no...I don't mind.

Reflecting back at my childhood, I recall that I wasn't exactly into music that much. If you can believe it, my biggest exposure to music back then was during the first four years of my life when I lived in Washington DC. I vaguely recall images of me watching VH1 and rocking my body to whatever's on thanks to mom constantly bringing it up stories during my adulthood. Micheal Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Leo Sayer, George Micheal, Cyndi Lauper, and a few others were artists I liked to listen to...and in a way these were basically the only ones I enjoyed listening to until high school.

The reason why my tastes remained the same and got less interested in mainstream music is because we moved from Washington to KSA when I became five years old. The only English music I had were the video tapes my mom recorded off VH1, which I watched constantly. Our cable back then only had Arabic music, which I wasn't fond of much. Despite the satellite boom in the mid-90s which introduced English music to our country, things changed compared to the 80s. Everyone here was focused on pop and boy bands...I was one of the few who disliked those at first sight. Occasionally I stumbled onto stuff which attracted me, such as Alanis Morissette's "Ironic", Aqua's music (don't ask), and Four Non Blondes' "What's Up". But other than those, my music tastes remained stagnant for so long.

This is where videogame music came in. Luckily, when we moved from DC, my parents managed to secretly snag a NES with them for my 6th birthday. My new obsession was born. In the back of my head, I guess you could say videogame music took over my tastes without me even realizing it. I used to hum those chiptunes a lot, but it wasn't until the SNES, n64, and PS1 days when I truly started to really appreciated VGM. A Link to the Past, Mega Man X, Super Mario RPG, Final Fantasy VI, Sonic the Hedgehog games...those were some of the first SNES/Genesis games which had music stuck in my head. Sonic CD was a turning point for me because it was the first time I listened to vocals and live instruments in VGM. Sonic Boom was really addictive back in the day, along with many of the stage tunes.

The late 90s came in along with the internet...and sharing programs. I won't beat around the bush...I used those back in the day as they were my only source of listening to VGM without opening the game itself. I'll be frank, I didn't know that VGM was actually shipped on CDs and packaged like mainstream music, so I assumed that other people ripped the music from the game CDs and put it on the internet for the world to see, and I thought that there was nothing wrong with it. It wasn't until later that I learned otherwise. The fact that game music CDs were only produced in Japan and it would've cost me a fortune and took months to get to my country discouraged me even further. I remember the first things I looked for; a bunch of Final Fantasy originals and orchestrated remixes, and Valkyrie Profile. Thanks to composers such as Nobuo Uematsu and Motoi Sakuraba, I developed a taste for classic and orchestrated music. Final Fantasy 8's intro song and most of Sakuraba's stuff were addictive. Later in life when internet shopping and shipping services because easier and things didn't take months to get to me, I gave back. Bought a couple of OSTs from Japan, most notably Final Fantasy X, Final Fantasy XII, and F-Zero GX.

The late 90s/early 2000s also introduced another genre to me: rock, which became my favorite. Limp Bizkit, Metallica, Korn, Creed, Linkin Park, and System of a Down were some of the first bands I was exposed to. Since then, I always looked out for rock-oriented tracks in videogames. Final Fantasy X's "Otherworld" struck a chord with me. I still consider Baten Kaitos and Digital Devil Saga my top two favorite game OSTs because of the amount of awesome rock music in both games, particularly the latter. As the internet developed, I learned more and more things about mainstream music and videogame music. Stumbling upon OC ReMix in 2003 encouraged me to read up about VGM and learn about composers (thanks, Wikipedia!) Also, thanks to OCR, DoD, and VGMix, I opened up to other genres of mainstream music that I should listen to. Empowering my love to orchestra and rock, and getting me to slightly like techno. I'm trying to remember what exactly got me to find OCR...maybe it had something to do with re-looking up that System of a Down Zelda mix that I found via sharing programs. OCR obviously corrected me on that myth.

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I don't know when it really began for me, but i do remember as a child that i would play Super Mario Bro's 3, and beat the first two worlds just to listen to the World Map 3 music theme for hours while drawing pictures.

I had done the same for many different games, such as Super Mario World, LOZ - Link to the Past, Super Metriod, and Sonic the hedgehog my favorite brand of VGM. I use to drive my mother crazy after i learned to record music from my video games on to an tape player, and had made up to 10 different tapes from many different games.

I had grew up listen to many types of Music, but it was video game music that has always had better quality to me, i didn't care much for lyrics, and was only into music itself.

Now and days when people ask to use my mp3 player, i always have to warn them that there's nothing on it that they may like because of the type of music on it, but they give it a shot and afterward i always get the question. "Why do you listen to this, don't you like anything else?"

I reply, "Yes, but nothing compares to the wonderful dreams that video game music gives me."

My listen to video game has effected many of my friends, and family members, just an few month's ago my younger sister at the age of 22 asked me for an copy of Sonic Colors - Wisp Planet Map Theme because i had listened to it all night, and it stuck with her even when i hadn't seen her some time ago.

I don't think anything could drag me away from video game music, i'm already awaiting the release of LOZ - Skyward Sword, so i can find familiar tunes that i'm fond of.

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I started with pop in the '90s, game music not really something I thought about despite playing so many titles. Then I started listening to my dad's classic rock CDs and old records but it wasn't until Guitar Hero that I went gung-ho on rock. During high school, I started to feel burnt out on rock and found techno "online". I was listening to all this cheesy arena dance stuff until one day my little bro came up to me and was really excited to share some song with me.

It was "Propane Nightmares" by Pendulum. I had never heard anything like it, so much raw power mixed in with catchy melodies and harmonies. From then on, I was into every kind of electronic music. Well then I played Skies of Arcadia and that threw me into a loop. Its music was very orchestral but also had some electronic elements to it. That game pretty much provided the final ingredient to what my ideal music was and still is: electronic that uses piano (or full orchestras, but I'm biased to piano)

A good example of that is DigiE's "Trance Turnabout". 'tis an orgasmic mix.

So yeah, just two games that really altered my musical tastes.

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VG music has been pretty defining for me ever since I was about 5. I would hum songs from various NES games all the time. Around 1998, it occurred to me that I could just put a tape recorder up to the speaker on the TV and I could record the music that I liked to listen to since radio just wasn't doing it for me. That led to the creation of 5 tapes with various game music themes, many of which were end credits songs since it takes a lot of work to reach the end credits.

My first CD was in 1998, and it was the free Banjo-Kazooie soundtrack from Best Buy that came with the preorder. I listened to that thing so much that summer. I got the Super Mario 64 soundtrack in September of that year, and the 4-track Zelda: Ocarina of Time preorder bonus from Kmart (which, as a piece of trivia, was--I think--the only official OOT release to have the dawn music as part of the Hyrule Field track). From there, I started getting CDs through the Nintendo Power Supplies catalogue (see http://www.videogamemm.com/v/Catalogs/SPS+Winter+98/ for some nostalgia).

In 2000, my family got a new computer and I convinced my dad to get me a microphone and a long cord for it. I plugged that thing in, reached the cord as far as it would stretch, and recorded an hour and fifteen minutes worth of music from Super Mario RPG, which was and still is one of my favorite game OSTs ever. I still remember the crappy quality of those .wav files I recorded.

But enough waxing nostalgia, onto the question. How has it affected my mainstream tastes? Well, in a couple of ways. First, as demonstrated above, I was heavily influenced by video game music as I grew up, so it became preferable over mainstream stuff. Second, the mainstream music I like tends to have some game connection, however attenuated. For instance, I like Disturbed, a band I was introduced to because I watched Funimation's dub of Dragon Ball Z movie 5 and it featured, among other songs, The Game, a very video game-like track, over the penultimate battle with Cooler. VG music has been the biggest influence in my life as far as music goes, and I can't see that changing any time soon. As for mainstream tastes, I generally listen to VG music or remixes on my iPod while I drive rather than the radio, so I guess I don't generally have mainstream tastes.

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My mother was like the 80s hair metal queen. She had hundreds of casette tapes of bands. Well known and obscure. If you can find me even one band that released at least one album from the Sunset Strip 1980-92 that I haven't heard I'll be freaking amazed. Truth is though, even though I was around that music when I was little I didn't really get into it hardcore until about 13. When I got a guitar.

When I first got into music, I was a little kid in the 90s and my tastes were kinda weird. My favorite tune was Billy Ray Cyrus'.......you know what song I'm talkin' about. I also liked Britney Spears and Nsync (stfu all of you).

One day, when I was digging through some of my mom's old tapes, I found two cassettes of "Appetite For Destruction". That album truly changed my life and made me decide music is what I wanna do. I played both tapes so much everyday since I found them, and years later I still have them, that they've completely stopped working.

After the whole hair band thing, I got into the Thrash Metal bands and into the European and South American metal and rock bands.

There's more but that's basically how I got into music.

For games. I didn't really pay attention to the music till I started playing guitar. I realized how BAD ASS so much game music is. Lots of different styles etc. that I really liked. Much of it was electronic music, so I hear some dance stuff on the radio that I like that I don't really think I would if it weren't for games.

This shit's gettin' too long so I'll just leave it as "Video games introduced me to a wider range of genres I didn't previously enjoy as a whole. Now I'm doing electronic music for an Iphone game XD so......"

Game music is killer and deserves moar respect

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Almost my entire musical preference is based on video games.

I like classical and movie scores because I played the hell out of Empire Strikes Back on Atari and then watched the movie and fell in love with the music.

I like rock and metal because Final Fantasy Mystic Quest and Mega Man X are amazing soundtracks.

I like trance and other electronic music because it sounds like video games.

I like trip-hop and downtempo music because EarthBound is incredible in every way.

This could go on for every music genre (except country, blech).

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Sorta-kinda-maybe? Well that'd be the best short answer I could give so let me give the longer version.

Some of my first memories (~3 y.o.) are with video games but I dabbled in playing music since about 5th grade. Around 9th grade I actually started listening to music besides Michael Jackson and Weird Al and around 10th I actually got serious about playing an instrument (bass guitar). Throughout all that... I still have no idea why I like what I do, lol! I listen to a lot of music pop, hip hip, metal, jazz, funk, fusion, and loads of other crap that probably couldn't place genre-wise. Generally though, the music I like in video games tends to be pretty different from the music I like outside of them.

Rarely, I'll come across something like Final Fantasy X-2, Marvel Vs. Capcom or Bayonetta where the soundtrack is made up of music that I really dig that doesn't sound even remotely video game-like but then you have games like Sonic (original) and Megaman which I like just as much but have the "clearly video game music" thing going on. I guess I could say that neither really affects the other because I usually don't really make much of a distinction between the two, I just look at music that I like... as music that I like, haha.

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