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Why do you listen to game music? - Videogame Music Research Survey

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I would say that the average video game soundtrack nowadays isn't all that special. Because video games have become so much more cinematic, the music has followed.

Sure, the epic-orchestral stuff is great, but it isn't anything special. That's why I think that VGM from the 90s and the earlier part of the 2000s was so great: They often had a more unique approach to mainstream genres of music at the time.

It blew my mind hearing a great song or soundtrack that fused something like jazz, traditional asian instruments, electronic AND rock music at the same time. Good luck finding that on a radio station or on most CDs of mainstream genres at the time.

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I just took the survey. Quite enjoyable :)

I would say that the average video game soundtrack nowadays isn't all that special. Because video games have become so much more cinematic, the music has followed.

Sure, the epic-orchestral stuff is great, but it isn't anything special. That's why I think that VGM from the 90s and the earlier part of the 2000s was so great: They often had a more unique approach to mainstream genres of music at the time.

It blew my mind hearing a great song or soundtrack that fused something like jazz, traditional asian instruments, electronic AND rock music at the same time. Good luck finding that on a radio station or on most CDs of mainstream genres at the time.

That was actually something I mentioned briefly on the survey where it seems that the more unrealistic and fantasy driven a game is, usually the better the soundtrack is. Where as the more realistic a game is, the more commercially hedonistic the soundtrack is, and usually with a very predictable soundtrack while leaving much to be desired.

Video game music is not a "genre". Metal, rock, pop, etc. are genres and VG composers are doing the same genres than mainstream artists.

That's how I see things. :)

I do agree with you to a degree. Video game composers have been using similar genres as mainstream music, however they have been quite ahead of the mainstream music scene for quite some time...that is until recently. In a sense, they have cut out some interesting new ways to answer old musical questions with timbres and instrumentation, especially the video game composer scene 2 generations ago where the tools they had were incredibly basic and primitive and relied more on the creativity of the composer.

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Video game music isn't "more real" than any other kind of music. Saying that is just as bad as those folks who write-off VGM because it's from video games, saying things like "it's not real music" or "it's not legitimate."

There is also a lot of music from video games that is totally boring, formulaic, and forgettable.

I love VGM, but there is literally SO MUCH music out there that is brilliant and worth listening to that isn't VGM. All you have to do is look around for 5 minutes on the internet and you will find some really amazing stuff.

I wasn't knocking ALL music that isn't VGM as a whole. I was knocking the stuff on the radio. And I agree there is VGM that is boring and forgettable....it just so happens that I don't listen to that kind lmao.

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All you have to do is look around for 5 minutes on the internet and you will find some really amazing stuff.

lol, based on my tastes, I have to look really hard on the internet to find some really amazing stuff. Lots of mainstream that plays in my university's commons is trance, dance, and other repetitive genres. :P

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Sure, the epic-orchestral stuff is great, but it isn't anything special.

Listen to The Witcher OST. Though that is the one exception. :)

Everyone has some great points here though for me it's the connection between myself and a perfect art. Because there is so much to experience in a given game and unlike all other forms of art, the player is involved in shaping the outcome it makes the connection to the music that much stronger. You don't just watch it or listen to it, you are involved in every moment to follow a common yet still create a unique experience.

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Video game music isn't "more real" than any other kind of music. Saying that is just as bad as those folks who write-off VGM because it's from video games, saying things like "it's not real music" or "it's not legitimate."

There is also a lot of music from video games that is totally boring, formulaic, and forgettable.

I love VGM, but there is literally SO MUCH music out there that is brilliant and worth listening to that isn't VGM. All you have to do is look around for 5 minutes on the internet and you will find some really amazing stuff.

boyinaband's youtube channel made two really interesting points about that using cats as examples. one point was saying that comparing two musical styles saying one was more "musically expressive" than the other was like comparing a cat to a dog. Both can be fun and loving pets, but both animals act differently than the other, and oftentimes, different than other animals in that same breed.

The other point was saying that comparing musical styles and saying one isnt " real music" was like looking at two cats, one wearing a tophat, and saying that the cat with the tophat on wasn't a real cat because it had a hat on. really clear and playful way to look at it if you ask me, makes arguing over genres seem silly.

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Video game music is not its own style. That is a ridiculous notion. Musical genres include things like rock, electronic, jazz, orchestral, etc. And video game music often consists of a lot of different genres.

Video game music is no different than "plain music" except that it is written for the purpose for use in interactive media.

The people who say commercial music is all crap in comparison to VGM have absolutely no idea what they are talking about and have an extremely parochial view of the musical world. They're extremely naive and are tied to feelings of nostalgia and self-righteousness. That, and they conveniently don't remember a lot of video game music is crap too.

There are many fantastic artists nowadays that don't write their music for video games.

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I recall one theory by Claudia Gorbman, whom in 1980 proposed that 'film music' was actually any music that was put into a film, because regardless of the musical style or the film genre music would eventually "do something" (Gorbman, 1980, p. 189).

I think this totally applies to videogame music, especially old school music. Because of the same limitation in of sounds given by the sound cards and the programming formats AND the skills of the engineers [and sometimes musicians] that "composed" this music THEN you would get music that can, in fact, be translated into all different music styles. For example, think of the Mario Overworld theme, and how it can sound awesome being played just by a piano on its own, or by an live orchestra. OCRemix is definitely an example of the malleability of the old school music. Contemporary game music in a way doesn't have that luxury of being reinterpreted like, because the composer has more control [if not absolute control] over the final sound of the music that goes into the game.

And not to mention licensed music. How cool are the FIFA soundtracks, for example? Or think about racing games. Many of them have licensed music. So, it's not about bagging radio music, indie music, but think about the music that was found in a game and how that music impacted you, whether you played that game or not.

And thanks for all your responses!

For those of you that are new to this discussion make sure you fill in the survey

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boyinaband's youtube channel made two really interesting points about that using cats as examples. one point was saying that comparing two musical styles saying one was more "musically expressive" than the other was like comparing a cat to a dog. Both can be fun and loving pets, but both animals act differently than the other, and oftentimes, different than other animals in that same breed.

The other point was saying that comparing musical styles and saying one isnt " real music" was like looking at two cats, one wearing a tophat, and saying that the cat with the tophat on wasn't a real cat because it had a hat on. really clear and playful way to look at it if you ask me, makes arguing over genres seem silly.

Thank you very much for posting this. You are so right, and I absolutely agree. It's nice to see something explained so perfectly, since I don't possess that talent myself. :lol:

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Done. If I can still answer the original question freely without having to do all those actual questions and such on that page then uh... Screw it I'm doing it.

Why do I listen to video game music?

Well first, one word. Nostalgia. I listen to Zelda or Mario or Sonic and my childhood returns to me again. Lots of times, even the darkest songs from a Metroid soundtrack can put me in a really good mood that day because it just reminds me of my childhood. And I don't know about everyone else, but my childhood rocked.

I also listen to video game music because lots of times it seriously is written well. It doesn't necessarily sound very good (which is the case nearly--if not--half of the time), but lots of times the music is written well and can be a source of inspiration for my own original music. Melodies are very often ridiculously important in video games, as there is normally no lead lyrical vocals on a video game song. Often video game music can be crappy, though, but some of it I still listen to just because of that whole nostalgia thing.

My parents didn't like the fact that I had interest in video game music. They thought that wasn't good influence on my musical skills. I was raised in a musical family, so this is why they were so concerned. And I listen to a ton of other artists out there. I listen to them more than any video game music, honestly. But there were some things about video game music that really got me thinking and inspired. And when it comes to me actually composing music for a video game, it's good to actually hear official video game music and be influenced by it. Often combining influence of video game music and popular music can create awesome things. Really, in general, being inspired by two different things and doing something like those two different things and mashing them together can create something new and cool. Hopefully that made at least a little bit of sense. I seem to be pretty good at failing to explain things.

Also, listening to video game music is fun because you can find stuff you like and are interested in and remix it, which is why I am active on ocremix, of course.

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