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evktalo

Which VGM was the first that really made you listen?

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What are the games/pieces that made you really pay attention to video game music the first time? My chronological list would go (I'll mention five):

1. Street Fighter 2

This game was so huge for a good while. These two brothers I was friends with had a SNES, and lots of time was spent in great company playing the hell out of SF2 for SNES. I sucked but lamely claimed after losing that I had the most fun. The music obviously rocks, and I remember we listened to the sound test quite a bit, which I think made me pay specific attention to the music.

2. Final Fantasy Mystic Quest

The first JRPG I saw (I think? This or Phantasy Star 3.) and I was really into it. The music for Bone Dungeon and especially the Winry Cave/Ice Pyramid sounded pretty mysterious to me, which for some reason was the atmosphere that impressed me the most. The Doom Castle & final boss music were quite cool too.

3. Final Fantasy IV

FFIV was of course quite a step in complexity from FFMQ, even though it was the initial "FF2" US SNES release. I still remember digging the music with mysterious feeling the most, the music on the Moon really enhanced the feel of the final stages of the game. The SNES of those two friends certainly was a big influence for me as far as VGM goes.

4. Star Control 2

We had a PC without a sound card at home, and it was a huge surprise to hear the MOD music play through just the speaker. You were so used to hearing just the rather abrasive monophonic beeping from it.. impressive programming! The music was quite impressive in itself as well, from the powerful ominous intro, to the ambient washes of solar system exploration, the energetic hyperspace music, and of course the tunes for the alien encounters which contributed hugely to their character.

5. Pinball Fantasies

This one (originally an Amiga title) also played MOD music right through the PC speaker. The boombastic intro tune made a huge impression and I was mighty pleased to have another game playing great music without a sound card. Digital Illusions came from the demoscene which shows in the excellent soundtrack.

There was some good stuff that in retrospect I enjoyed & which added immensely to my enjoyment of the games themselves, but I wasn't very conscious about it at the time. I'd mention Castle of Illusion and Wonder Boy III: Dragon's Trap for Sega Master System, Mega Man games for NES, and also Grand Prix Circuit for PC - great melodies/riffs even on the speaker of the 286 that my dad brought from work to home for summer. But the above stuff really made me go "hey, the music's really good" and listen to it specifically.

Discuss!

--Eino

Edited by evktalo
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Ok, that's difficult. I'd say it was Mega Man for the Game Boy, but I'm not sure chronologically. The one that really got me hooked was Secret of Mana

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Really hard for me to point to an exact moment when I really got hooked on it. I have really early memories of loving the minimalistic soundtrack to Magic Carpet, and the great music of Descent (which I first ran into back when it was just a demo and called Descent: Destination Saturn), but I don't think I really, truly fell in love with the stuff until I got my hands on Pokemon Red. I would just stand in routes and cities walking in circles so I could listen to the music.

Even then, I'm not sure I was aware of my love for the stuff. I think it took Uematsu's magnificent soundtracks to Final Fantasy 7 and 9 to really open my eyes to the fact that there were really talented people in the VGM industry making music, and the always-underrated Final Fantasy Tactics soundtrack was probably the final drop of cement that truly anchored love for the stuff. And when I finally got around to listening to FF6's music... well.

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I used to love the sound tests on games in the 90's because I used to record vgm off of the tv that way using a crappy boombox mic and a tape recorder.

1. Streets of Rage 2

2. Earthworm Jim 2

3. Sonic 2

4. Greendog (sadly no 2 was ever made)

5. Road Rash (1&2)

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double dragon and afterburner on the sms, and punch-out on the nes are the earliest vgm memories i have, but it wasnt until street fighter 2 and turtles in time on the snes that i really started paying attention. in my head i would imagine the music being played by real instruments and would often learn the songs myself on piano and violin. it's kind of how i started to train my ears, i guess

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Earthbound - Beautiful music, not all orchestral or hard rock like most other games, based a lot around jazz, swing, and early rock/blues, it definitely caught my ear.

Pokemon Black and White - A more recent example, but it's music was really, really good, AND if you talk to certain people in towns, you get extra instruments to join in the music, which just blows my fuckin mind.

Mother 3 - But for different reasons than Earthbound. In this game, battle mechanics influence how well your attacks do. Each character has an instrument that they are represented by. When you use that characters attack, if you tap the 'A' button in rhythm with that instrument, you get bonus mini-attacks. Again, blew my fuckin mind.

Final Fantasy 6 - This game has great compositions and excellent ambiance. But that's not really why I liked it. It taught me the effectiveness of a leitmotif, or a recurring melody/musical cue.

Mega Man 2 - Oh man Mega Man 2 rocked my socks.

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Well some games from the NES era was where it all began for me when I was a kid. Games like Mega Man II and III had/has awesome music. Contra as well (waterfall stage comes instantly to mind). That song from Rygar : Cavern of the Sagila. Super Mario Bros. 2 Main Theme. Oh and Ninja Gaiden 2 opening sequence. I could name so many more...

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FF6 and FF7, probably, though I do remember being super young and thinking Double Dragon's and Contra's soundtracks were amazing. But a lot of the early Squaresoft RPGs really stuck out to me, and I remember downloading huge MIDI packs of Squaresoft music back in maybe 1998 or so and listening to everything, even tunes from games I'd never heard of. Definitely my first foray into listening to VGM for its own sake as opposed to listening to it as part of a game.

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Donkey Kong Country, thanks to being able to listen to the music when you paused. :-)

Dunno if I ever paused and listened, but ambient aquatic is the first thing that came to mind in regards to the question.

and maybe Bubble Bobble's theme...

Tetris? nah, DKC was the first to really make me listen.

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I distinctly remember leaving Super Mario Kart running just to listen to the music. A lot of games from even earlier than that still stick with me though, this song from Yoshi's Cookie being a prime example that I still hum to this day:

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I can't say for certain, but I think it was the pokemon games. I have a very clear memory of riding to school with my sister brother and dad holding the gameboy up to my ear listening to the main theme for gold. They told me I was wasting the battery.

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Super Metroid, which reminds me that I should see if any of my nieces or nephews want to play it sometime.

After that, Our older brother once got my sister a subscription for Nintendo Power for fun and it came with a CD of the Super Mario 64 music. Tetrisphere was where I really first heard intentionally electronic music. I loved it, my parents weren't big fans of it.

Also, the NES Castlevanias really stuck with me as having great music.

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honestly, I think it was Sonic Adventure 2. I had some interest in vgm when I played Super Mario Bros. because that theme song is like the most catchy and world renowned theme song ever, but I think the music to Sonic Adventure 2 was just sooo cool to me that I think that's what got me into listening to vgm.

my parents (especially my professional studio musician father) never liked it; they thought it was bad influence on me. but honestly I think most modern music at that time sounded way crappier than vgm, mainly because there was actually songwriting happening and interesting melodies. of course, they weren't trying to persuade me to listen to the new music. I was raised on Michael Jackson and The Beatles.

but I'm glad I listened to vgm. it's definitely had an influence on my music and lots of it has truly been an inspiration to me. even the majority of my stuff which has nothing to do with video games has a hint of video game-sounding stuff in it. it's just become natural. I don't mean like chip tune sounds in my songs (though I do use that sound quite a bit). I'm simply talking about just the way the song is written. there's just a tiny bit of influence that always sneaks in even when I don't mean it to. and I'm fine with it. it's just sorta part of the way I do music. and I honestly don't regret anything.

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Yoshi's Island. That game was fucking incredible in basically every way imaginable.

Come to think of it, I'll add that to my list of VGM that first stuck out to me. Flower Garden has been stuck in my head for like 16 years now.

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I believe that theme song from Necromancer was the first one that I really noticed in terms of listening to it as a song, and not just some background music. I can remember trying to learn it on my old keyboard back in the day, too.

Then came this theme from Ballblazer, with a funky little beat and some ever-looping improve. I never could get this one down on the aforementioned keyboard.

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Man this is a tough one. I think the first game soundtrack i actually loved was Metropolis Zone from Sonic 2. I was 3 or 4 years old at the time and was terrible at the game. I managed to get to Metropolis once and then tried my hardest to get to it again because i loved the music so much, but i just couldn't do it. I came back to the game 10 years later when i fixed my Megadrive and managed to reach it no sweat. It filled me with so many emotions because all i had were faint memories of the tune. I've now listened to it too many times though haha :P

The game soundtracks that really inspired me to create music would definitely be from the Donkey Kong Country series, Soul Reaver, Jazz Jackrabbit and F-Zero GX.

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