There are many aspects that make video games absolutely amazing. You have gameplay, graphics, story, and you have music and sound.
Video game music has come a long way from the simple beeps and blips it used to be made up of. There are now video game soundtracks with complete scores and even licensed tracks from famous artists. I still enjoy the music from the Super Nintendo and Genesis soundcard era, but love the newer stuff as well. It’s great to look at where video game music has come from, where it’s at, and where it is going in the future.
Things come and go with time. Out with the old and in with the new, as they say. When it comes to music and it’s formats, the same can be said for the most part. Cassette tapes, CDs, MP3 players — they’ve all come and gone. But there’s one format that has always stuck around: the vinyl record.
Vinyl records may have been dormant from time to time but they’ve never really disappeared from music culture completely. Part of this is because audiophiles say they produce the highest quality sound, and the other being that DJs still use them regularly.
Now more than ever, vinyl records are now making a comeback, possibly due to the whole retro craze that has been happening in recent years. Vinyl record producers are also getting more and more creative, with colored vinyls, picture vinyls, and some spectacular cover art.
The Art of Collecting
Being a fan of music, I have been collecting vinyl records for a long time. In recent years, as I searched for good records I started running into OSTs for video games — a pleasant surprise.
One company that really stood out at first was DATADISCS. There are many other companies currently producing video game records like iam8bit, Mondo Tees, the Yetee, Brave Wave, and FanGamer, just to name a few. But DATADISCS stood out because they were bringing back soundtracks from classic games like Streets of Rage 1 and 2, Panzer Dragoon Saga, and many others.
Their production value is also top-notch. They include lithographs and usually have three different vinyl choices to choose from when they release a record. The three options are typically a multi-color record (very limited), a solid-color record (limited), or a plain black record. Others have followed suit recently and have begun releasing limited colors and pressings of game soundtracks for both old and new games. I think it’s a great thing.
Vinyl sales are on the upswing and will likely continue upward as record-collecting becomes increasingly popular. I think that video game soundtracks on vinyl have helped with this. I love retro stuff and the feeling of nostalgia. Vinyl records featuring old soundtracks bring back that retro feeling and that nostalgia that we all chase every once in a while.
And it’s not just about the music. These records are great pieces to have even just for display. I’ve also seen some of these vinyl releases come with digital downloads of the tracks and sometimes of the game itself. I think these features hook fans and make them eager to keep buying these products. I know I’ve definitely been drawn in over and over again.
Another great thing about the resurgence of video game music on vinyl is the collaboration and effort that goes into the products. When you get your hands on these records you can tell they’re labors of love, time, and attention. These are products that were made by fans, for fans.
The companies collaborate regularly by selling on each other’s sites or promoting each other, which I think is great. It’s not out of the ordinary to see Brave Wave releasing records on Mondo’s or Fangamer’s sites. Working together like this as opposed to simply competing is something I hope is a growing trend in the industry.
The New Wave
The future looks bright for video games and vinyl records as it’s a match made in heaven. How cool would it be to eventually see a video game OST section at a local music or electronics store? Maybe it’s asking too much but it’s something I can always hope for. Until then there’s always Amazon and a multitude of sites that are jumping on this sweet music train. I hope that this train doesn’t stop anytime soon.