The Steam Music Player, which has been in beta for a while now, has finally received its official launch. The program allows you to access your music through the Steam Overlay. It’s essentially a mini music player, similar to Apple’s iTunes mini player, that lets Steam users play and search through their music collection by album, artist, or track name without having to exit the game they are playing. The program can also scan the user’s computer and find music files for playback. This includes anything on iTunes libraries and any of the soundtrack DLC that has been downloaded off of Steam.
Currently the Steam Music Player only recognizes MP3s for playback. According to their announcement and FAQ, Valve plans on adding more features to the system, including support for more audio formats. This will be a much welcomed improvement, since many people, myself included, have music libraries that contain higher quality audio files, not just MP3s. Even with its current limitations, it’s nice to have easy access to your music collection, without having to exit the game or having to play the game in a windowed mode.
To help celebrate the official release, Valve has also made their soundtrack DLC available for free for people who already own the games. So if you’ve ever wanted to grab the soundtracks for Portal, Portal 2, or the Half-Life series, now is your chance. The offer on the soundtrack DLC expires on October 1st, so grab the albums while you can.
The Video Game Orchestra will be having their next performance October 2nd at the Berklee Performance Center in Boston. It’s always a good time seeing VGO perform on their home turf with their full orchestra/band, including choir. This performance is special for two reasons; 1.) Capcom, Access Games and Bandai Namco are providing actual game footage for the event, meaning VGO will have full video playing while performing (akin to Video Games Live, one would imagine), and 2.) On top of having a setlist featuring gaming classics like Street Fighter, Mega Man and Final Fantasy, it will also be the world premier of music from the newly released game D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die while the game’s creator Hidetaka “SWERY” Suehiro in attendance.
Tickets for the show are reasonable ($8-$23 per) and can be purchased from the Berklee box office.
For more info on Video Game Orchestra, check them out on vgo-online.com
A while back, I wrote an article on Blake Robinson and his Symphonic Orchestra albums. Specifically, I had issues with the branding of his albums; that of “symphonic.” You can read the article HERE. I felt that his albums played on people expectations of orchestral game music and capitalized on its popularity. All his albums include orchestral instruments and the word symphony on their covers, which lead you to the impression that this is orchestral music. Considering that all the albums use samples, Blake does use the term “synthetic orchestra,” I find the premise of his music to be, at best, troubling, and at worst, outright deception. However, this is not to say that I haven’t found enjoyment in his full orchestrations of Chrono Trigger and Banjo Kazooie, although, they are overly long. I have also never played a Metroid game and there are few orchestrations out there to listen to, a track here and there. So; I am very curious about this album and how it will measure up, in terms of quality, with Blake’s other albums, with the original compositions by Kenji Yamamoto, and whether re-creating the entire soundtrack actually works. Find out what I think after the jump.
A roguelike that uses sound generation and music sequencers to create a game environment? Okay, that will certainly get our attention. Band Saga is a game that is currently looking for funds through Kickstarter to aid its development. The project is headed by a team of two, Roger Hicks and Hillmon Ancrum. The duo is hoping to turn their current game prototype into a full game for Mac, PC, Linux, and iOS.
Band Saga is, as mentioned, a music generated roguelike. Each item, enemy, and level is tied to a specific element of the music. As you explore and unlock new sounds, characters, and items, you can manipulate parts of the soundtrack through a sequencer to change the game world. The game’s art style sticks to a 16-bit graphic aesthetic, while the music that is generated takes its cues from the FM synth sounds of the Sega Genesis. You can see and hear this all in action in the demo video below.
As a nice little bonus, the soundtrack for Band Saga is already available on Bandcamp. The soundtrack is primarily written by Rekcahdam (aka Roger Hicks), but also features a number of guest artists. These include some familiar game music names like Laura Shigihara, Disasterpeace, Stemage, and Danimal Cannon. The project has less than two weeks left. If a music based roguelike sounds like your idea of a great time, check out the Band Saga Kickstarter and be sure to take a listen to the released soundtrack.
Back in 2013, Platinum Games released The Wonderful 101 on the Nintendo WiiU. The game has earned itself a sizable following, which has continued to grow with the help of this past summer’s Mario Kart 8 game promotion. Now, just about a year after the game’s launch, The Wonderful 101 soundtrack has now received a full digital release!
The complete soundtrack contains over 120 tracks, which have all been remastered. It’s enough music to fill up five CDs. In addition to improved sound quality, there is also a new version of the title theme “The Won-Stoppable Wonderful 100,” which features an actual ending rather than having the music continuously loop.
The soundtrack is split into two volumes, which each cost $10. You can of course just buy the individual tracks that you like for $0.99 each, if you don’t want the entire soundtrack for your game music library. The Wonderful 101 OST Volume 1 and Volume 2 can currently be purchased on Sumthing.com and on iTunes.
As enthusiasts about video game music and everything attached to it, a good majory of those in the community have a incredible sense of nostalgia for the old days of gaming and how it influences all of our lives. Documentaries that delve into the media itself and its background are a hot topic because of this nostalgic desire, with several being kickstarted to help really dive into the nitty-gritty of game music.
“Diggin’ in the Carts” is actually a unique entity for two reasons: 1.) It’s sponsored by Red Bull Music Academy; yes, as in the energy drink but it’s actually a world-traveling music workshop that focuses on today’s “musical landscape”. 2.) The series is specifically about the origins of video game music in Japan with Japanese composers and the history of companies like Namco and Konami.
Diggin’ In The Carts is a new series from Red Bull Music Academy about the untold story behind the most influential music to come out of Japan. Check back each Thursday, from September 4th to October 9th, for new episodes, mixes, and bonus interview footage.
So far two of the six, 15ish-minute episodes have been released and I have to say that the work behind the series is phenomenal. Having people like Anamanaguchi and Haruhisa Hally Tanaka explain the influence of game music and things like the history of the VRC6, and then featuring what I can only describe as delightful interviews with the likes of Masashi Kageyama (Gimmick!), Junko Ozawa (Galpus, The Tower of Druaga) and Hirokazu “Hip” Tanaka (Metroid) just to name a few, is beyond wonderful. I admit I got misty-eyed through parts of each episode (especially ep.2) and it’s so refreshing to see Japanese composers who otherwise might go without knowing the impact their games had on so many of us as children and beyond getting their spotlight.
Diggin’ in the Carts will be released every Thursday for the next month, so be sure to tune into each episode. I dare you not to feel some form of excitement while watching it.
A little over a week ago, OSV ran a story regarding Red Thread Games, the studio behind the upcoming Dreamfall Chapters, and a fan-requested music submission contest they had put together. We posted this article based on incomplete information; it didn’t take long before a storm hit our comments section, some sharply criticizing our site, others doubling down in an ill opinion of Red Thread Games.
Now, we at OSV generally don’t hold Masters or PhDs in Communication or Journalism, but we do pride ourselves on getting the story straight, even if that means having to give it a second go. It’s within that spirit that we now present to you our interview with Ragnar Tørnquist, director of Dreamfall Chapters and founder of Red Thread Games. I urge you to read it, especially if you were disappointed by the music contest’s existence and/or cancellation and all the rumors floating around it. We hope to set everything straight in this interview. (more…)
This seems to be the time of year for game music Kickstarter campaigns. In addition to the previously covered Beep game audio documentary, another full length film titled The Players’ Score: A Videogame Music Documentary is looking for support through a Kickstarter campaign. Unlike the Beep documentary, The Players’ Score will be focused specifically on the music by game composers, chiptune artists, and videogame music cover artists. The documentary will also be taking a look at the culture and community surrounding game music.
The primary goal of the Kickstarter is to help fund the film team’s expenses as they travel to locations like MAGFest (Music and Game Festival) and to international locations in order to interview composers and artists and to cover game music events. Hitting the first stretch goal will allow the team to fly out to Japan for even more interviews.
Cast members in the film include Austin Wintory, Jesse Buddington, Nate Horsfall, and bands like Urizen and The Megas. The documentary is being narrated by Arin “Egorapter” Hanson and will have an original soundtrack composed by Jake “Virt” Kaufman. Backer rewards for the project include physical copies of the soundtrack, Blu-ray copies of the film, and special Skype calls with the cast and crew. If a documentary on the community and culture of videogame music sounds interesting to you, definitely take a look at this Kickstarter project.
The newest iteration in the Super Smash Bros. franchise will have an official soundtrack for Club Nintendo members. Nintendo is a company that has been notoriously stingy when it comes to releases of their game soundtracks. This is particularly true if you happen to live in North America. But with the release of Super Smash Bros. for the 3DS this fall and the WiiU version at a later date, Nintendo is promoting a special offer for North American and European fans. If you purchase and register both versions of the game, you will be eligible to receive a promotional two disc soundtrack.
Nintendo has released a few details about the two disc album, including contributing arrangers of the music. The list of composers is as extensive and as varied as the games that are represented in the Super Smash Bros. games. Composers include Yuzo Koshiro, Hideki Sakamoto, Yoko Shimomura, Mahito Yokota, and many more. Nintendo has also released some sample music from the soundtrack. The full track list has yet to be released, but definitely keep your eyes on the Club Nintendo site for future announcements.
As originally reported on, the fantastic soundtrack for Shovel Knight by Jake “Virt” Kaufman (with contribution’s by Mega Man composer Manami Matsumae) has been out and available for download at a Pay-What-You-Want price on Bandcamp for a little while now. The the music, as well as the game itself, has been described by most as both a a love letter to the NES and Genesis-era of video games, though it’s probably more appropriate to say the music and game are faithful evolutions of the retro-gaming genre. The inspirations from popular past franchises is evident in every nook and cranny of the sidescrolling platformer’s construction, but it does well enough on its own that the term “cookie-cutter” would not be giving the game enough credit, nor the music.
And there is a significant amount of music, and an additional album of arranged music by various artists on top of the original soundtrack’s ensemble as well. Shovel Knight may have had those who pledged to the game’s Kickstarter biting their nails in anticipation, but it certainly did good on its promise to deliver….in spades! (sorry, I’ll keep the puns to a minimum) Today, I’ll finally be focusing on Strike the Earth! Shovel Knight Arranged.
Creators of a new game documentary have launched a Kickstarter. The project titled Beep is intending to take a look at the history of game music and sound. Everything from the old school sounds of arcade games all the way to the games of today. The focus isn’t just on the music of these games. The documentary will also be an exploration of audio design, voice work, and the use of chiptune and other game sound technology outside of the gaming medium. A book will also accompany the documentary to supply more detailed information about the various subjects covered in the film.
There are already plans for interviews with major members of the game audio community. Raising money through Kickstarter will aid the creators in being able to travel and interview composers and sound designers. Several composers have already been named for interviews including Tommy Tallarico, Winifred Phillips, Shota Nakama, Peter McConnell, and many more.
Rewards for backers include copies of the documentary, book, soundtrack, t-shirts, and many other physical rewards. The Kickstarter has already raised over $15,000 of the needed $40,000 pledge goal. If this sounds like a project you’d like to see made, definitely check this Kickstarter out.
Need more Random aka Mega Ran in your life? Then you may want to consider pre-order his new tour documentary Mega-Lo-Mania! Coming in more digital and physical formats, the documentary will chronicle the chip-hop artist’s recent tour and appearance at PAX. Along with the 33-minute film, directed by Michael Cardoza as he followed Mega Ran and soul/funk band The Lo-Classic, you’ll also be receiving 5 never-released recordings and some other goodies.
“I had a blast. It didn’t totally go as I’d expected, but I think that’s the best story to tell; that it won’t always work out 100% according to plan, and that making adjustments on the fly is such a big part of what we do. I love the way the documentary came out.” – Mega Ran
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night – “Aria Of The Bloodline” (Live Practice Instrumental)
Pre-Order @ Mega-Lo-Mania Purchase Page