Video game music is any of the musical pieces or soundtracks found in video games. A video game is a Game that involves interaction with a User interface to generate visual feedback on a video device.
At the time video games began to blossom as a form of entertainment in the 1970s, music was stored on physical medium in analog waveforms such as compact cassettes and phonograph records. A video game is a Game that involves interaction with a User interface to generate visual feedback on a video device. Music is an Art form in which the medium is Sound organized in Time. The Compact Cassette, often referred to as audio cassette, cassette tape, cassette, or simply tape, is a Magnetic tape sound A gramophone Such components were expensive and prone to breakage under heavy use making them less than ideal for use in an arcade cabinet, though in rare cases, they were used (Journey). An arcade cabinet, also known as an arcade machine or coin-op, is the housing within which an Arcade game 's Hardware resides Journey is an Arcade game made by Bally Midway in the 1980s In 1983 the release of the Frontiers album brought the band A more affordable method of having music in a video game was to use digital means, where a specific computer chip would change electrical impulses from computer code into analog sound waves on the fly for output on a speaker. Colloquial usage In colloquial use on the fly means something created when needed Sound effects for the games were also generated in this fashion.
While this allowed for inclusion of music of arcade games in the 1970s, it was usually monophonic, looped, or used sparingly between stages or at the start of a new game, such as Pac Man, or Pole Position. is an Arcade game developed by Namco and licensed for distribution Pole Position is a racing Video game released in 1982 by Namco. The decision to include any music into a video game meant that at some point it would have to be transcribed into computer code by a programmer, whether or not the programmer had musical experience. Some music was original, some was public domain music such as folk songs. The public domain is a range of abstract materials &ndash commonly referred to as Intellectual property &ndash which are not owned or controlled by anyone The popular Atari 2600 home system, for example, was capable of generating only two tones, or "notes," at a time. The Atari 2600 is a Video game console released in October 1977 Some exceptions, such as arcade games developed by Exidy, took steps toward digitized, or 'sampled' sounds. Exidy was one of the largest creators of Arcade video games during the early period of Video games from 1974 - 1983. In Signal processing, sampling is the reduction of a Continuous signal to a Discrete signal.
This approach in game development carried on into the 1980s. As advances in silicon and cost of technology fell, a definitively new generation of arcade machines and home consoles allowed for great changes in accompanying music. In arcades, machines based on the Motorola 68000 CPU and Yamaha YM chips for sound generators allowed for several more tones or 'channels' of sound, sometimes eight or more. The Motorola 68000 is a 16/32-bit CISC Microprocessor core designed and marketed by Freescale Semiconductor (formerly Motorola Semiconductor Home console systems also had a comparable upgrade in sound ability beginning with the ColecoVision in 1982 capable of four channels. The ColecoVision is Coleco Industries ' second generation home Video game console and was released in August. However, more notable was the Japanese release of the Famicom in 1983 which would later be known in the US as the NES in 1985. The Nintendo Entertainment System (often abbreviated as NES or simply Nintendo) is an 8-bit Video game console that was released by The Nintendo Entertainment System (often abbreviated as NES or simply Nintendo) is an 8-bit Video game console that was released by It was capable of a total of 5 channels, one being capable of simple PCM sampled sound. Also of note was the home computer Commodore 64 released in 1982, which was capable of early forms of filtering effects and different types of waveforms. waveformogg|right|a sine square and sawtooth wave at 440 hz]] Waveform means the shape and form of a signal such as a Wave moving in a solid liquid or gaseous Its comparatively low cost made it a popular alternative to other home computers, as well as its ability to use a TV for an affordable display monitor.
Approach to game music development in this time period usually involved using simple tone generation and/or frequency modulation synthesis to simulate instruments for melodies, and use of a 'noise channel' for simulating percussive noises. A 220 Hz carrier tone modulated by a 440 Hz modulating tone with Early use of PCM samples in this era was limited to sound bites (Monopoly), or as an alternate for percussion sounds (Super Mario Bros 3). is the fifth release in the Super Mario Video game series It was first released for the Famicom in Japan and later on the NES The music on home consoles often had to share the available channels with other sound effects. For example, if a laser beam was fired by a spaceship, and the laser used a 1400 Hz tone, then whichever channel was in use by music would stop playing music and start playing the sound effect.
The mid-to-late 1980s software releases for these platforms had music developed by more people with greater musical experience than before. Quality of composition improved noticeably, and evidence of the popularity of music of this time period remains even today. Composers who made a name for themselves with their software include Koji Kondo (Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda), Koichi Sugiyama (Dragon Quest), Rob Hubbard (Monty On the Run), Hirokazu Tanaka (Metroid and Kid Icarus), Martin Galway (Times of Lore), Hiroshi Miyauchi (Out Run), Nobuo Uematsu (Final Fantasy), and Yuzo Koshiro (Ys). is a Japanese Composer and Musician best known for his scores for various Video games produced by Nintendo. is a Platform game developed by Nintendo in late 1985 and published for the Nintendo Entertainment System, a sequel to the 1983 game Mario is a Video game designed by Shigeru Miyamoto and developed and published by Nintendo. (his birth name is, which is pronounced the same (born April 11, 1931) is a Japanese music Composer, council member of JASRAC published as Dragon Warrior in North America until the 2005 release of Dragon Quest VIII Journey of the Cursed King, is a series of role-playing Rob Hubbard (born 1956 Kingston upon Hull, England) is a music Composer best known for his composition of computer game theme music especially for microcomputers Monty on the Run is a Computer game created by the Software house Gremlin Graphics and released in 1985 for the C64, Spectrum, is a Japanese Composer and Musician best known for his scores for various Video games produced by Nintendo. is the first game in the ''Metroid'' series of video games It was released first for the Famicom Disk System on August 6, 1986 For the title character see Pit. For the series as a whole see Kid Icarus (series. Martin Galway (born January 3, 1966, Belfast, Northern Ireland) is one of the best known composers of music for the Commodore 64 Times of Lore was an early computer-based roleplaying game with a detailed world (also spelled OutRun and Outrun) is a 1986 Arcade game designed by Yu Suzuki and Sega-AM2. is a Japanese Video game music Composer and Musician, best known for scoring numerous Final Fantasy titles is a Japanese Video game music composer Early life Koshiro was exposed to music at a very young age learning to play the piano at age 3 (English ˈiːs is a Japanese computer and Console role-playing game series and Nihon Falcom corporation's flagship franchise Toward the end of the life of the Famicom, some cartridge games were released with additional tone generating chips built into them at the developer's expense, further expanding to the number of channels for composition.
The oncoming generation of arcade, home consoles, and home computers would reshape the approach to music in video games.
The first home computer to make use of digital signal processing in the form of sampling was the Commodore Amiga in 1985. The Amiga is a family of Personal computers originally developed by Amiga Corporation. The computer's sound chip initially featured four independent 8-bit digital-to-analog converters. In Electronics, a digital-to-analog converter ( DAC or D-to-A) is a device for converting a digital (usually binary code to an Analog signal Instead of simply generating a waveform that sounded like a simplistic "beep", such as FM synthesis, this technique allowed short samples of pre-recorded sound waves to be played back through the computer's sound chip from memory. waveformogg|right|a sine square and sawtooth wave at 440 hz]] Waveform means the shape and form of a signal such as a Wave moving in a solid liquid or gaseous This article is about the "beep" sound See Beep for its disambiguation page A 220 Hz carrier tone modulated by a 440 Hz modulating tone with In Signal processing, sampling is the reduction of a Continuous signal to a Discrete signal. A sound chip is an Integrated circuit (ie "chip" designed to produce Sound (see Chiptune) It allowed a developer to take a 'sample' of a real instrument or sound they wanted at a significantly higher quality and fidelity than was previously available or would come to be available on home computing for several years. This was an early development example of what would later be called wavetables and soundfonts. Wavetable synthesis is a technique used in certain digital music Synthesizers to implement real-time Additive synthesis and Direct digital synthesis with SoundFont is a Brand name that collectively refers to a File format and associated technology designed to bridge the gap between recorded and synthesized For its role in being first and affordable, the Amiga would remain a staple tool of early sequenced music composing, especially in Europe. A music sequencer (also MIDI sequencer or just sequencer) is software or hardware designed to create and manage computer-generated music
The Amiga's main rival, the Atari ST, used the Yamaha YM2149 Programmable Sound Generator (PSG), which was limited compared to the Commodore 64's SID chip and thus digitized sound was heard on Atari ST only through certain programming tricks that consumed processor time making it impractical for games. The Atari ST is a home / Personal computer that was commercially available from 1985 to the early 1990s AY-3-8910 is a 3-voice Programmable Sound Generator (PSG designed by General Instrument, initially for use with their 16-bit CP1610 or one of the PIC1650 series A Programmable Sound Generator is a Sound chip that generates sound waves by synthesizing multiple basic waveforms and often some kind of noise generator (all controlled Since it had in-built MIDI ports, the Atari ST was instead used by many professional musicians as a MIDI programming device. MIDI ( Musical Instrument Digital Interface, ˈmɪdi is an industry-standard protocol that enables Electronic musical instruments Computers
IBM PC clones in 1985 would not see any significant development in multimedia abilities for a few more years, and sampling would not become popular in other video game systems for several years. IBM PC compatible computers are those generally similar to the original IBM PC, XT, and AT. Though sampling had the potential to produce much more realistic sounds, each sample required much more data in memory. Computer data storage, often called storage or memory, refers to Computer components devices and recording media that retain digital This was at a time when all memory, solid state (cartridge), magnetic (floppy disk) or otherwise was still very costly per kilobyte. In various types of electronic equipment a cartridge can refer one method of adding different functionality or content (e A floppy disk is an increasingly Obsolete data storage medium that is composed of a disk of thin flexible ("floppy" Magnetic storage medium encased A kilobyte (derived from the SI prefix Kilo -, meaning 1000 is a unit of Information or Computer storage equal to either 1024 Sequenced soundchip generated music on the other hand was generated with a few lines of comparatively simple code and took up far less precious memory.
The previously mentioned hybrid approach (sampled and tone) to music composing in the Third Generation of consoles would continue into the Fourth Generation, or 16-bit era, of home game consoles with the Sega Mega Drive in 1988. In the History of computer and video games, the third generation (the latter half of which is sometimes known as the 8 bit era) began in 1983 with the Japanese In the History of computer and video games, the fourth generation (more commonly referred to as the 16 bit era) began on October 30, 1987 The is a 16-bit Video game console released by Sega in Japan in 1988 North America in 1989 and the PAL region in 1990 The Mega Drive, (Sega Genesis in the US) sported advanced graphics over the NES and improved sound synthesis, but largely held the same approach to sound design. Ten channels of total tones with one for PCM samples were available in stereo instead of the NES's 5 channels in mono, one for PCM. Stereophonic sound, commonly called stereo, is the reproduction of Sound, using two or more independent audio channels through a Symmetrical As before, it would often be used for percussion samples, or 'drum kits' (Sonic the Hedgehog 3). Sonic the Hedgehog 3, often abbreviated and literally known in Europe as Sonic 3, is a Platform game in the Sonic the It should be pointed out that the 16-bit Sega referred to was the CPU and should not be confused with 16-bit sound samples. The Genesis did not support 16-bit sampled sounds. Despite the additional tone channels, writing music still posed a challenge to traditional composers and it forced much more imaginative use of the FM synthesizer to create an enjoyable listening experience.
As cost of magnetic memory declined in the form of diskettes, the evolution of video game music on the Amiga, and some years later game music development in general, shifted to sampling in some form. It took some years before Amiga game designers learned to wholly utilize digitized sound effects in music (an early exception case was the title music of text adventure game The Pawn, 1986). The Pawn is an Interactive fiction game by Magnetic Scrolls which was first published by Rainbird in 1986. Also, by this time computer and game music had already begun to form its own identity, and thus many music makers intentionally tried to produce music that sounded like that heard on the Commodore 64, which resulted in the chiptune genre. A chiptune, or chip music, is music written in sound formats where all the sounds are synthesized in realtime by a computer or Video game console Sound chip
The release of a freely-distributed Amiga program named Sound Tracker by Karsten Obarski in 1987 started the era of MOD-format which made it easy for anyone to produce music based on digitized samples. Karsten Obarski (born May 11 1965) handle "Obi" is considered a pioneer of the Demoscene for the creation of the music creation program MOD is a computer File format used primarily to represent Music, and was the first Module file format MOD-files were made with programs called "trackers" after Obarski's Sound Tracker. MOD is a computer File format used primarily to represent Music, and was the first Module file format Tracker is the generic term for a class of software Music sequencers which in their purest form allow the user to arrange sound samples stepwise on a timeline across This MOD/tracker tradition continued with PC computers in 1990s. Good examples of Amiga games using digitized instrument samples include David Whittaker's soundtrack for Shadow of the Beast, Chris Hülsbeck's soundtrack for Turrican 2 and Matt Furniss's tunes for Laser Squad. Amiga games are Computer games compatible with the Commodore Amiga. David Whitaker or David Whittaker may refer to David Whitaker (screenwriter, the English Script editor of the Doctor Who series Shadow of the Beast is a side-scrolling platform computer game produced by Reflections Interactive and published by Psygnosis Chris Hülsbeck (born March 2 1968) is a game music composer from Germany. Turrican is a 1990 Video game programmed by Manfred Trenz. It was first developed for the Commodore 64 by Rainbow Matt Furniss is a Videogame sound artist Matt's music and sound effects can be found in many computer and console Videogames. Laser Squad is a Turn-based tactics computer game originally released for the ZX Spectrum and later for the Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC Richard Joseph also composed some theme songs featuring vocals and lyrics for games by Sensible Software most famous being Cannon Fodder (1993) with a song "War Has Never Been So Much Fun" and Sensible World of Soccer (1994) with a song "Goal Scoring Superstar Hero". Richard Joseph ( 23 April[[ 953]] - 4 March 2007) was a British computer game Composer, Musician and sound specialist Sensible Software was a highly regarded Software house in the nineties from the United Kingdom that released several games amongst those the popular Cannon Fodder is a short series of two War (and later Science fiction) themed action Computer and video games developed by Sensible Sensible Soccer, often affectionately known as Sensi, is a Football (soccer Video game series which was highly popular in the early 1990s and These songs used long vocal samples.
Similar to the Amiga, this approach to sound and music developments in arcades began to appear in certain specialized arcade system board revisions. An arcade system board is a dedicated Computer system created for the purpose of running Arcade games. In 1991, games like Street Fighter II on the CPS-1 used voice samples extensively along with sampled sound effects and percussion. is a 1991 competitive fighting game by Capcom. It is widely credited with launching the fighting game genre into the mainstream and extending the life of the worldwide arcade The or Capcom Play System is an Arcade system board by Capcom that debuted in 1988 with Forgotten Worlds. Neo Geo's MVS system also carried powerful sound development which often included surround sound. The Neo Geo is a cartridge -based arcade and home Video game system released in 1990 by Japanese game company SNK. 51, Multichannel audio, Multichannel music Surround 3D Surround 5
The evolution also carried into home console video games, most notably with the release of the Super Famicom in 1990, and its US/EU version SNES in 1991. The Super Nintendo Entertainment System or Super NES (also called SNES and Super Nintendo) is a 16-bit Video game console that was This home console system sported a specialized custom Sony chip for both the sound generation and for special hardware DSP. is a multinational conglomerate corporation headquartered in Minato Tokyo, Japan, and one of the world's largest Media conglomerates with It was capable of 8 channels of sampled sounds at up to 16-bit resolution, possessed a wide selection of DSP effects including a type of ADSR seen usually in high end synthesizers of the time period, and full stereo sound. ADSR envelope is a component of many Synthesizers samplers and other Electronic musical instruments. This allowed experimentation with applied acoustics in video games, such as musical acoustics (early games like Castlevania IV, F-Zero, Final Fantasy IV, Gradius III, and later games Chrono Trigger), directional (Star Fox) and spatial acoustics (Dolby Pro-Logic was used in some games, like King Arthur's World and Jurassic Park), as well as environmental and architectural acoustics (Zelda III, Secret of Evermore). Super Castlevania IV, known as in Japan is a platform game developed and published by Konami and the first Castlevania game for the Super is a futuristic racing video game developed and published by Nintendo for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES is a Console role-playing game developed and published by Square (now Square Enix) in as a part of the Final Fantasy series is a Scrolling shooter Arcade game, developed and published by Konami in 1989 for Video arcades The player returns as the role of the pilot is a Console role-playing game developed and published by Square (now Square Enix) for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in Star Fox may refer to one of two Video games Star Fox, a video game published by Mythicon for the Atari 2600 Dolby Pro Logic is a Surround sound processing technology designed to decode soundtracks encoded with Dolby Surround. Architectural acoustics is the science of controlling sound within buildings The Legend of Zelda A Link to the Past, known in Japan as, is an action-adventure Video game developed and published by Nintendo for the Secret of Evermore is a North American role-playing game for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System Video game console. Many games also made heavy use of the high quality sample playback capabilities (Super Star Wars, Tales of Phantasia). Super Star Wars is the first of a series of three Super Nintendo games based on the original three films of the Star Wars series is a Super Famicom game in the RPG genre published by Namco and released in Japan in 1995 The only real limitation to this powerful setup was the still costly solid state memory. Semiconductor memory is Computer memory implemented on a Semiconductor -based Integrated circuit.
Other consoles of the generation could boast similar abilities yet didn't enjoy the same popularity as the SNES. The Neo-Geo home system was capable of powerful sample processing, but was several times the cost of a SNES. The Neo Geo is a cartridge -based arcade and home Video game system released in 1990 by Japanese game company SNK. The Sega CD upgrade to the Genesis added multiple PCM channels, but few titles used this feature and instead simply streamed music from the CD from a Red Book format. The is an add-on device for the Sega Mega Drive that was released in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Japan. Red Book is the standard for audio CDs ( Compact Disc Digital Audio system or CDDA) Neither saw the circulation of the SNES.
Popularity of the SNES and its software remained limited to regions where NTSC television was the broadcast standard. NTSC ( National Television System Committee) is the Analog television system used in the United States, Canada, Japan, Mexico Partly because of the difference in frame rates of PAL broadcast equipment, many titles released were never re-designed to play appropriately and ran much slower than originally intended, or were simply never released. PAL, short for Phase Alternating Line, is a colour -encoding system used in Broadcast television systems in large parts of the world This represented a divergence in popular video game music between PAL and NTSC countries that still shows to this day. This divergence would be lessened as the Fifth Generation of home consoles launched globally, and as Commodore began to take a backseat to general purpose PCs and Macs.
Though the Sega-CD, and to a greater extent the PC Engine in Japan, would give gamers a preview of the direction video game music would take in streaming music, the use of both sampled and sequenced music continues in game consoles even today. The, known as TurboGrafx-16 in the USA is a Video game console developed by the Nippon Electric Company (NEC and released in Japan on October Streaming multimedia is Multimedia that is constantly received by and normally presented to an end-user while it is being delivered by a streaming provider (the The huge data storage benefit of optical media would be coupled with progressively more powerful audio generation hardware and higher quality samples in the Fifth Generation. The fifth-generation era (more commonly known as the 32 bit era and occasionally after the release of the Nintendo 64, the 64 bit era and more rarely In 1994, the PlayStation with a CD-ROM drive supported 24 channels of 16-bit samples of up to 44. The PlayStation (abbreviated PS, PSone, PS1, or informally as PSX) is a 32-bit fifth generation Video game console 1 kHz sample rate, equal to CD audio quality. It also sported a few hardware DSP effects like reverb. Reverberation is the persistence of Sound in a particular space after the original sound is removed Many Squaresoft titles continued to use sequenced music, such as Final Fantasy 7, Legend of Mana, and Final Fantasy Tactics. was a Japanese Video game company founded in September 1983 by Masafumi Miyamoto. is a Console role-playing game developed by Square (now Square Enix) and published by Sony Computer Entertainment as the seventh installment in the Legend of Mana, known in Japan as is the fourth game in the Mana series is a Tactical role-playing game developed and published by Square (now Square Enix) for the Sony PlayStation Video game console. The Sega Saturn also with a CD drive supported 32 channels of PCM at the same resolution as the PSX. The is a 32-bit Video game console that was first released on November 22 1994 in Japan, May 11 1995 in North America In 1996 the N64, still using a solid state cartridge, actually supported an integrated and scalable sound system that was potentially capable of 100 channels of PCM, and an improved sample rate of 48 kHz. The, often abbreviated as N64, is Nintendo 's third home Video game console for the international market Games for the N64, because of the cost of the solid state memory, typically had samples of lesser quality than the other two however, and music tended to be simpler in construct.
The more dominant approach for games based on CDs, however, was shifting toward streaming audio. Streaming multimedia is Multimedia that is constantly received by and normally presented to an end-user while it is being delivered by a streaming provider (the
Taking entirely pre-recorded music had many advantages over sequencing for sound quality. In Video games music can be sequenced, where the game includes instructions for the generation of music or streamed, where the audio is pre-recorded and played back Music could be produced freely with any kind and number of instruments, allowing developers to simply record one track to be played back during the game. Quality was only limited by the effort put into mastering the track itself. Memory space costs that was previously a concern was somewhat addressed with optical media becoming the dominant media for software games. CD quality audio allowed for music and voice that had the potential to be truly indistinguishable from any other source or genre of music. A Compact Disc (also known as a CD) is an Optical disc used to store digital data, originally developed for storing digital audio
In the same timeframe of late 1980s to mid 1990s, the sampling approach had mostly skipped over PC games. Early PC gaming was limited to a 1-bit PC speaker, leftover legacy from an IBM clone's standard and was poor for generating complex sounds. The PC speaker is the most primitive sound system used in IBM compatible PCs It was the only source of sound available to PC games before more technologically advanced While sampled sound could be achieved, using pulse width modulation, doing so required a significant proportion of the available processor power, rendering its use in games rare. Expansion cards allowed for FM synthesis, such as the AdLib sound card. This page is about the (now defunct sound card company named Ad Lib — not to be mistaken with the software company Adlib Software or Adlib Information systems. MIDI sequencing was used by the game developers to drive the FM synthesis (Doom). MIDI ( Musical Instrument Digital Interface, ˈmɪdi is an industry-standard protocol that enables Electronic musical instruments Computers Doom (officially cased DOOM) is a 1993 Computer game by Id Software that is a landmark title in the First-person shooter A typical PC lacked the specialised computing power to deal with sampling play back, or a way to output it. Rather than the game developer do their own sampling, wavetable sequencing became a popular alternative. Wavetable synthesis is a technique used in certain digital music Synthesizers to implement real-time Additive synthesis and Direct digital synthesis with A wavetable with samples pre-made and conforming to General MIDI would be installed on a sound card either by design, or by addition of a daughter board. A daughterboard or daughtercard is a Circuit board meant to be an extension or "daughter" of a Motherboard (or 'mainboard' or occasionally another Quality of these wavetable samples had the tendency to range wildly from one manufacturer to the next, but Roland's product were used as a standard until the release of Creative's Sound Blaster in 1989. is a Japanese manufacturer of Electronic musical instruments electronic equipment and Software. Creative Technology Limited ( is a listed manufacturer of computer Multimedia products based in Singapore, where the firm was founded and now under the executive The Sound Blaster family of Sound cards was for many years the De facto standard for audio on the IBM PC compatible System platform, before PC The Sound Blaster represented an affordable catch-all solution for PC users to have access to sound features. It included a joystick port, midi support using AdLib FM synthesis compatibility, a standardised port for daughter cards for their own Wave Blaster and for other companies' products, and 8-bit 22. The Wave Blaster port is an internal connector / header on some Sound cards from the 1990s that allowed Sample-based synthesis MIDI playback capability to 05 kHz (later 44. 1 kHz) digital audio recording and playback of a single stereo channel. This still did not result in wide use of sampling for PC games because of the inability to play more than one sample at a time. Sequenced music would continue on PCs as the most commonly found game music until mid 90s as CD-ROMs became a more common feature of PCs and game software, as well as a general increase in storage capacity. This gave developers the memory space to use streaming for their soundtracks.
In fourth generation home video games and PCs this was limited to playing a Red Book audio track from a CD while the game was in play (Sonic CD). However, there were several disadvantages of regular CD-audio. Optical drive technology was still limited in spindle speed, so playing an audio track from the game CD meant that the system couldn't access data again until it stopped the track from playing. Looping, the most common form of game music, was also problem as when the laser reached the end of a track, it had to move itself back to the beginning to start reading again causing an audible gap in playback.
To address these drawbacks, some PC game developers designed their own container formats in house, for each application in some cases, to stream compressed audio. This would cut back on memory used for music on the CD, allowed for much lower latency and seek time when finding and starting to play music, and also allowed for much smoother looping due to being able to buffer the data. In Computing, a buffer is a region of memory used to temporarily hold Data while it is being moved from one place to another A minor drawback was that use of compressed audio meant it had to be decompressed which put load on the CPU of a system. As computing power increased, this load became minimal, and in some cases dedicated chips in a computer (such as a sound card) would actually handle all the decompressing.
Fifth generation home console systems also developed specialised streaming formats and containers for compressed audio playback. Sony would call theirs Yellow Book, and offer the standard to other companies. The Yellow Book is the Standard that defines the format of CD-ROMs The Yellow Book created by Sony and Philips, was the first extension of the Games would take full advantage of this ability, sometimes with highly praised results (Castlevania: Symphony of the Night). Castlevania Symphony of the Night is a 2D Action-adventure game developed and published by Konami in 1997 Games ported from arcade machines, which continued to use FM synthesis, often saw superior pre-recorded music streams on their home console counterparts (Street Fighter Alpha 2). Street Fighter Alpha 2, known as in Japan, Asia, South America and Spain, is a Fighting game originally released Even though the game systems were capable of "CD quality" sound, these compressed audio tracks were not true "CD quality. " Many of them had lower sampling rates, but not so significant that most consumers would notice. Some games continued to use full redbook CD audio for their soundtracks (the Wipeout series) and could even be played in a standard CD player. Wipeout is the title of a series of futuristic Anti-gravity Racing games originally produced by Psygnosis for the PlayStation video
This overall freedom offered to music composers gave video game music the equal footing with other popular music it had lacked. A musician could now, with no need to learn about programming or the game architecture itself, independently produce the music to their satisfaction. This flexibility would be exercised as popular mainstream musicians would be using their talents for video games specifically. An early example would be Way of the Warrior on the 3DO, with music by White Zombie. A more well-known example would be Trent Reznor's score for Quake. Trent Reznor (born Michael Trent Reznor on May 17 1965 is an American Musician, singer producer, and Multi-instrumentalist.
An alternate approach, as with the TMNT arcade, was to take pre-existing music not written exclusively for the game and use it in the game. The game Star Wars: X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter and subsequent Star Wars games, took music composed by John Williams for the Star Wars movies of the 1970s and 1980s, and used it for the game soundtracks. Star Wars X-Wing vs TIE Fighter is the third installment of the ''X-Wing'' computer game series, although it is not a regular part of the series John Towner Williams (born February 8 1932) is an American Composer, conductor and Pianist. Star Wars is an epic Space opera franchise initially conceived by George Lucas during the 1970s and significantly expanded
Both using new music streams made specifically for the game, and using previously released/recorded music streams are common approaches for developing sound tracks to this day. It is common for X-games sports based video games to come with some popular artists recent releases (SSX, Tony Hawk, Initial D), as well as any game with heavy cultural demographic theme that has tie-in to music (Need For Speed: Underground, Grand Theft Auto). Need for Speed Underground ( NFSU) is the seventh Racing game in the ''Need for Speed'' video game series developed by EA Sometimes a hybrid of the two are used, such as in Dance Dance Revolution. Dance Dance Revolution (abbreviated DDR) previously known as Dancing Stage in PAL territories until the announcement of
Sequencing samples continue to be used in modern gaming for many applications, mostly RPGs. Sometimes a cross between sequencing samples, and streaming music is used. Games such as Republic: The Revolution (music composed by James Hannigan) and Command & Conquer: Generals (music composed by Bill Brown) have utilised sophisticated systems governing the flow of incidental music by stringing together short phrases based on the action on screen and the player's most recent choices. Republic The Revolution is a computer game produced by Elixir Studios, founded by Demis Hassabis, a former programmer of Lionhead Command & Conquer Generals is a Real-time strategy game in the Command & Conquer series. Other games would dynamically mix the sound on the game based on cues of the game environment. In a recent game, if your snowboarder in SSX took to the air after jumping from a ramp, the music would soften or even muffle a bit, and the ambient noise of wind and air blowing would become louder to emphasize the sensation of being airborne. SSX ( Snowboard Supercross) is the first in a series of Snowboarding video games published by EA Sports BIG. When you land, the music would resume regular playback until its next 'cue'. The LucasArts company pioneered this interactive music technique with their iMUSE system, used in their early adventure games and the Star Wars flight simulators Star Wars: X-Wing and Star Wars: TIE Fighter. LucasArts Entertainment Company LLC is an American Video game developer and publisher. iMUSE ( I nteractive MU sic S treaming E ngine is a Game engine developed in the early 1990s by composers Michael Land and Star Wars X-Wing (or X-Wing for short is the first LucasArts DOS computer game set in the Star Wars universe as TIE Fighter, a computer space combat game, is the sequel to Star Wars X-Wing, and the first game of the series that puts the Action games such as these will change dynamically to match the amount of danger. Stealth-based games will sometimes rely on such music.
Being able to play one's own music during a game in the past usually meant turning down the game audio and using an alternate music player. Some early exceptions were possible on PC/Windows gaming in which it was possible to independently adjust game audio while playing music with a separate program running in the background. Some PC games, for example Quake, played music from the CD while retriving game data exclusively from the hard disk, thereby allowing the game CD to be swapped for any music CD. Quake is a First-person shooter Computer game that was released by Id Software on June 22, 1996.
Some PlayStation games supported this by swapping the game CD with a music CD, although when the game needed data, you had to swap the CDs again. One of the earliest games, Ridge Racer, was loaded entirely into RAM, letting the player insert a music CD to provide a soundtrack throughout the entirety of the gameplay. In Vib Ribbon, this became a gameplay feature, with the game generating levels based entirely on the music on whatever CD the player inserted. Vib-Ribbon is a game for Sony PlayStation. Developed by Masaya Matsuura (the former leader of the Japanese "Hyper Pop Unit"
Microsoft's Xbox, a competitor in the sixth generation of home consoles opened new possibilities. The Xbox is a sixth-generation Video game console produced by Microsoft Corporation. Its ability to copy music from a CD onto its internal hard drive allowed gamers to utilize their own music more seamlessly with gameplay than ever before. The feature, called Custom Soundtrack, had to be enabled by the game developer. The feature carried over into the seventh generation with the Xbox 360 except it is now supported by the system software and enabled at any point. The Xbox 360 is the second Video game console produced by Microsoft, and was developed in cooperation with IBM, ATI, and SiS.
The PlayStation Portable can, in games like Need for Speed Carbon: Own the City and FIFA 08 also let the player play their own music from a Memory Stick. The PlayStation Portable (officially abbreviated PSP) is a Handheld game console manufactured and marketed by Sony Computer Entertainment. Need for Speed Carbon, also known as NFS Carbon or NFSC is an Electronic Arts video game belonging to the Need FIFA 08 is the next to latest installment of Electronic Arts ' series of football Video games Developed by EA Canada Memory Stick is a removable flash Memory card format launched by Sony in October 1998, and is also used in general to describe the whole family
The PlayStation 3 has the ability to utilise custom soundtracks in games using music saved on the hard drive, however no game developers have used this function so far, with the exception of MLB 08: The Show, released in North America on March 4, 2008, which has a My MLB sound track feature which allows the user to play music tracks of the users choice saved on the hard drive of his/her PS3, rather than the preprogrammed tracks incorporated into the game by the developer. Events 51 - Nero, later to become Roman Emperor, is given the title Princeps iuventutis (head of the youth 2008 ( MMVIII) is the current year in accordance with the Gregorian calendar, a Leap year that started on Tuesday of the Common
In Audiosurf, custom soundtracks are the main aspect of the game. Audiosurf is an IGF Award winning puzzle / rhythm hybrid game created by Invisible Handlebar Users have to pick a music file to be analyzed. The game will generate a race track based on tempo, pitch and complexity of the sound. The user will then race on this track, synchronized with the music.
The Xbox 360 wields software Dolby Digital support, sampling and playback rate of 16-bit @ 48 kHz (internal; with 24-bit hardware D/A converters), hardware codec streaming, and potential of 256 audio simultaneous channels. Dolby Digital is the marketing name for a series of lossy audio compression technologies developed by Dolby While powerful and flexible, none of these features represent any major change in how game music is made from the last generation of console systems. PCs continue to rely on third-party devices for in-game sound reproduction, and SoundBlaster, despite being largely the only major player in the entertainment audio expansion card business, continues to advance its product development at a significant pace.
The PlayStation 3 handles multiple types of surround sound technology, including Dolby TrueHD, and DTS-HD. Dolby TrueHD is an advanced lossless multi-channel audio codec developed by Dolby Laboratories which is intended primarily for high-definition home-entertainment DTS (also known as Digital Theater Systems) owned by DTS Inc ( is a multi-channel digital Surround sound format used for both commercial/theatrical
Nintendo's Wii console shares many audio components with the Nintendo GameCube from the previous generation, including Dolby Pro Logic II. The, often abbreviated as GCN, is Nintendo 's fourth home Video game console and is part of the sixth generation console era. Dolby Pro Logic is a Surround sound processing technology designed to decode soundtracks encoded with Dolby Surround. These features are extensions of technology already currently in use.
The game developer of today has many choices on how to develop music. More likely, changes in video game music creation will have very little to do with technology and more to do with other factors of game development as a business whole. As sales of video game music separate from the game itself became marketable in the west (compared to Japan where game music CDs had been selling for years), business elements also wield a level of influence that it had little before. Music from outside the game developer's immediate employment, such as music composers and pop artists, have been contracted to produce game music just as they would for a theatrical movie. Many other factors have growing influence, such as editing for content, politics on some level of the development, executive input and other elements.
Many of the games made for the Nintendo Entertainment System and other early game systems featured a similar style of music which may come closest to being described as the "video game genre" in terms of musical composition, as opposed to simply "video game music" for being in a video game or being played on a video game console. Some compositional features of this genre continue to influence certain music today, though, game soundtracks currently tend to emulate movie soundtracks more-so than this classic genre. This genre's compositional elements may have developed due to technological restraints. The genre might also have been influenced by technopop bands such as Yellow Magic Orchestra, which were quite popular during the period in which videogame music took its trademark sound. Yellow Magic Orchestra (YMO is an influential Japanese Electropop band formed in 1978 Features of this genre include:
Appreciation for video game music, particularly music from the third & fourth generations of home video game console and sometimes newer generations, continues today in very strong representation in both fans and composers alike, even out of the context of a video game. In the History of computer and video games, the third generation (the latter half of which is sometimes known as the 8 bit era) began in 1983 with the Japanese In the History of computer and video games, the fourth generation (more commonly referred to as the 16 bit era) began on October 30, 1987 Melodies and themes from 20 years ago continue to be re-used in newer generations of video games. Themes from the original Metroid by Hirokazu Tanaka can still be heard in Metroid games from today as arranged by Kenji Yamamoto. is the first game in the ''Metroid'' series of video games It was released first for the Famicom Disk System on August 6, 1986 is a Japanese Composer and Musician best known for his scores for various Video games produced by Nintendo.
Video game music soundtracks were sold separately on CD in Japan well before the practice spread to other countries. Interpretive albums, re-mixes, and live performances were also common variations to original soundtracks (abbreviated OST). Koichi Sugiyama was an early figure in this practice sub-genres, and following the release of the first Dragon Quest game in 1986, a live performance CD of his compositions was released and performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra (then later by other groups including the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, and NHK Symphony). (his birth name is, which is pronounced the same (born April 11, 1931) is a Japanese music Composer, council member of JASRAC Dragon Warrior, also known as in Japan is a role-playing Video game developed by Chunsoft and originally published in Japan by Enix The London Philharmonic Orchestra ( LPO) based in London, is one of the major Orchestras of the United Kingdom, and is based in the Royal The claims to be the oldest classical orchestra in Japan having been founded in Nagoya in 1911 The in Tokyo, Japan began as the New Symphony Orchestra on October 5, 1926 and was the country's first professional Symphony orchestra Yuzo Koshiro, another early figure, released a live performance of the Actraiser soundtrack. is a Japanese Video game music composer Early life Koshiro was exposed to music at a very young age learning to play the piano at age 3 is a 1990 Super Nintendo Entertainment System action and city-building simulation game developed by Quintet and published by Enix Both Koshiro's and fellow Falcom composer Mieko Ishikawa's contributions to Ys music would have such long lasting impact that there were more albums released of Ys music than of almost all other game-type music. is a Japanese Computer game company The company was founded in March of 1981 by Masayuki Kato. Mieko Ishikawa (石川三恵子 born 1964-01-23) is a composer who contributed music to several Video games by Nihon Falcom. (English ˈiːs is a Japanese computer and Console role-playing game series and Nihon Falcom corporation's flagship franchise
Like anime soundtracks, these soundtracks and even sheet music books were usually marketed exclusively in Japan. (anime in Japanese, Therefore, interested non-Japanese gamers have to import the soundtracks and/or sheet music books through on or offline firms specifically dedicated to video game soundtrack imports. This has been somewhat less of an issue more recently as domestic publishers of anime and video games have been producing western equivalent versions of the OSTs for sale in UK and US, but only for the most popular titles in most cases.
Other original composers of the lasting themes from this time have gone on to manage symphonic concert performances to the public exhibiting their work in the games. Koichi Sugiyama was once again the first in this practice in 1987 with his "Family Classic Concert" and has continued concert performances almost annually. In 1991 he also formed a series called Orchestral Game Concerts, notable for featuring other talented game composers such as Yoko Kanno (Nobunaga's Ambition, Romance of the 3 Kingdoms, Uncharted Waters), Nobuo Uematsu (Final Fantasy), Keiichi Suzuki (Mother /Earthbound), and Kentaro Haneda (Wizardry).
Global popularity of video game music would begin to surge with Squaresoft's 1990s successes, particularly, Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy VI, and Final Fantasy VII. Compositions by Nobuo Uematsu on Final Fantasy 4 were arranged into Final Fantasy IV: Celtic Moon, a live performance by string musicians with strong celtic influence recorded in Ireland. The Love Theme from the same game has been used as an instructional piece of music in Japanese schools.
On August 20, 2003 for the first time outside of Japan, music written for video games from all over the world ranging from Final Fantasy to The Legend of Zelda was performed by a live orchestra, the Czech National Symphony Orchestra in a Symphonic Game Music Concert in Leipzig, Germany at the Gewandhaus concert hall. Events 636 - Battle of Yarmouk: Arab forces led by Khalid ibn al-Walid take control of Syria and Palestine Czech National Symphony Orchestra (ČNSO (Český národní symfonický orchestr is a symphony orchestra in Prague in the Czech Republic. The Symphonic Game Music Concerts ( German: Symphonische Spielemusikkonzerte) are a series of German Video game music concerts produced This event was held as the official opening ceremony of Europe's biggest trading fair for video games, the GC Games Convention and repeated in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007.
On November 17, 2003, Square Enix launched the Final Fantasy Radio on America Online. Events 284 - Diocletian is proclaimed emperor by his soldiers Year 2003 ( MMIII) was a Common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. The radio station has initially featured complete tracks from Final Fantasy XI and Final Fantasy XI: Rise of Zilart and samplings from Final Fantasy VII through Final Fantasy X. also known as Final Fantasy XI Online, is a Massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG developed and published by Square (later Square also known as Final Fantasy XI Online, is a Massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG developed and published by Square (later Square is a Console role-playing game developed and published by Square (now Square Enix) and the tenth installment in the Final Fantasy series
The first officially sanctioned Final Fantasy concert in the United States was performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, California, on May 10, 2004. Dear Friends -Music From Final Fantasy- is a Concert tour featuring music from the Final Fantasy video game series that toured the United States The Los Angeles Philharmonic (LA Phil LAP or LAPO is an American Orchestra based in Los Angeles, California, United States The Walt Disney Concert Hall at 111 South Grand Avenue in Downtown Los Angeles, California is the fourth hall of the Los Angeles Music Center. Los Angeles (lɑˈsændʒələs los ˈaŋxeles in Spanish) is the largest City in the state of California and the American West California ( is a US state on the West Coast of the United States, along the Pacific Ocean. Events 1291 - Scottish Nobles recognize the authority of Edward I of England. All seats at the concert were sold out in a single day. "Dear Friends: Music from Final Fantasy" followed & was performed at various cities across the United States.
On July 6, 2005, the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra also held a Video Games Live concert, which was founded by video game music composers Tommy Tallarico and Jack Wall at the Hollywood Bowl. Events 1044 - The Battle of Ménfő takes place 1189 - Richard the Lionheart is crowned King of England Video Games Live (VGL is a concert series created and produced by industry veterans and video game composers Tommy Tallarico and Jack Wall Tommy Tallarico (born on February 18, 1968) is an American Video game music Composer. Jack Wall is an American Video game music Composer. He has worked on video game music for over thirty games including the ''Myst'' franchise, The Hollywood Bowl is a famous modern Amphitheatre in the Hollywood area of Los Angeles California, USA, that is used primarily for music Performances This concert featured a variety of video game music, ranging from Pong to Halo 2. Halo 2 is a Science fiction First-person shooter Video game developed by Bungie Studios. It also incorporated real-time video feeds that were in sync with the music, as well as laser and light special effects. Video Games Live has been touring worldwide since.
On August 20, 2006, the Malmö Symphonic Orchestra with host Orvar Säfström performed an outdoor concert of game music in Malmö, Sweden before an audience of 17 000, currently the attendance record for a game music concert. Events 636 - Battle of Yarmouk: Arab forces led by Khalid ibn al-Walid take control of Syria and Palestine Year 2006 ( MMVI) was a Common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. Orvar Säfström (born February 18 1974) is one of Sweden 's most popular film reviewers. "Sverige" redirects here For other uses see Sweden (disambiguation and Sverige (disambiguation.
On April 20 to April 27, 2007, Eminence Symphony Orchestra, an orchestra dedicated to video game and anime music, performed the first part of their annual tour, the "A Night in Fantasia" concert series in Australia. Events 1303 - The University of Rome La Sapienza is instituted by Pope Boniface VIII. Events 1124 - David I becomes King of Scotland. 1296 - Battle of Dunbar: The Scots are defeated Year 2007 ( MMVII) was a Common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. The Eminence Symphony Orchestra based in Sydney, Australia is a symphony orchestra which delves into the classical music featured in Video games and Whilst Eminence had performed video game music as part of their concerts since their inception, the 2007 concert marked the first time ever that the entire setlist was comprised of pieces from video games. Up to seven of the world's most famous game composers were also in attendance as special guests.
Other notable examples of video game music outside of games are listed in the timeline in this article.
In addition to these professional deviations, a huge network of English speaking fandom has sprung up with the help of emulators and the Internet in recent years. Computer and video game music, with the help of the internet has developed into its own culture with many extensions beyond existence as a video game soundtrack