Margin Makers: Guide to video game music

From stirring strings to the bleeps of 8-bit classics, MCV explores the musical landscape of games

From the opening notes of Super Mario to the rousing chords of Fallout, the music of games has become as integral to players’ experience as visuals and gameplay.

In line with the evolution of gaming hardware, the wider recognition and appreciation of game music has also progressed.

The acclaimed orchestral score to UK indie title Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, composed by Jessica Curry, debuted at number seven in the Official Classic FM Chart, compiled by the Official Charts, when it was released earlier this year.

While games are edging further and further into the digital world, their scores and soundtracks appear to be going the opposite way.

In line with growing consumer demand for music on vinyl – which saw LP sales hit a 20-year high in the UK with 1.29 million units sold last year – the music for an increasing number of beloved video game classics, including Street Fighter, Perfect Dark and Grand Theft Auto, has been pressed on wax for the first time.

Interest in vinyl looks set to grow further, after the Official Charts Company revealed that vinyl album sales were up a massive 69 per cent during Q1 2015, compared to the same period in 2014.

It’s not just recorded soundtracks that are currently booming in popularity, either.

Recent years have seen the emergence of multiple concerts dedicated to live performances of game music, from the Final Fantasy Distant Worlds and The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses shows, to the recent Silent Hill Live event and next month’s upcoming Pokmon: Symphonic Evolutions.

With 2016 set to bring plenty to bolster the record collections of gamers, retail should get in tune with the latest chart-toppers.

Street Fighter II: The Definitive Soundtrack

Targeting die-hard fans of Capcom’s iconic fighting series, this release includes both CPS-1 and CPS-2 versions of the arcade game, taken directly from the arcade boards and remastered for vinyl. Original composer Yoko Shimomura and Polygon writer Matt Leone contribute liner notes for the deluxe double LP, which also includes art prints sourced from the Capcom archive. The discs themselves are pressed from translucent coloured vinyl.


Manufacturer: Brave Wave

Distributor: Brave Wave


Banjo-Kazooie Vinyl Soundtrack Double LP

Grant Kirkhope’s quirky score for Banjo-Kazooie is one of the games industry’s most recognisable. Here the original soundtrack is presented in the form of a beautiful double vinyl set, decorated with realistic takes on the titular cartoon creatures by Toronto-based artist Jacub Gagnon.

SRP: $35 (23)

Manufacturer: iam8bit

Distributor: iam8bit


The Greatest Video GameMusic 2

This CD collection includes themes from Assassin’s Creed, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Final Fantasy, Halo and Portal, among others.

SRP: 12.99

Manufacturer: X5 Music Group

Distributor: Select Music and Video Distribution

Contact: 01737 645 600

Video Game Music –Classic FM Handy Guide

Those new to the world of games music can get a head-start with this useful little guide. Our tip? Start with the classics: Mario.

SRP: 9.99

Manufacturer: Elliott & Thompson Limited

Distributor: Faber & Faber


Distant Worlds III:More music from Final Fantasy

The third instalment in the acclaimed series of orchestral performances includes songs from Final Fantasy IX, X, XIII, XIV and more.

SRP: 14.99

Manufacturer: AWR Records

Distributor: AWR Music


Everybody’s Gone ToThe Rapture

Jessica Curry’s soundtrack to The Chinese Room’s atmospheric indie hit is a fittingly beautiful, moving effort.

SRP: 10.99

Manufacturer: Sony Music Classical

Distributor: The Chinese Room

Contact: 01273 506 595

Halo 5: Guardians

Master Chief’s latest sci-fi outing has an epic orchestral score to fit with the intense tone of Halo 5: Guardians.

SRP: 14.99

Manufacturer: Microsoft

Distributor: Exertis

Contact: 01279 822 822

Journey Vinyl Soundtrack

The first game ever to be nominated for a Grammy Award, Journey’s soundtrack comes to vinyl for the first time in this set.

SRP: $35 (23)

Manufacturer: iam8bit

Distributor: iam8bit


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