Saturday 3 January 2015

The Legacy of Video Game Music

Reading the music press, artists are forever banging on about the influence of this or that musician and how their roads to music-making came via raids on parents' vinyl collections. No one will admit to the uncool commonplace of having folks who listened to CDs or, even worse, matured on a diet of Now That's What I Call Music. Nor another particularly important but much-overlooked newcomer to the scene in the 80s: video game music.

Readers here know I like my beats 'n' bleeps, and this came about partly because my mum sat me in front of TOTP just as the New Romantics and electronica were breaking through. Equally as important to the formation of my impeccable taste were video games. I lost all interest in music when we inherited our first home system (a rubber keyed Spectrum 48K if you must know). When my fascination with games waned music became more important, but the years of being battered by Speccy, C64, Amiga, and MegaDrive sound chips left an indelible impression.

I wasn't the only one. Beyond internet-based pseuds, a cadre of future musicians and producers were steeped in this stuff too. Part one of the documentary below, Diggin' In the Carts peels back the uncharted impacts numbers of mainly unknown, obscure Japanese video game music composers had on Western culture. It's a touch American-centric - the 80s in Britain were ruled by 8 and 16-bit computers; Nintendo and Sega came much later - but is absolutely fascinating for the discerning geek. A recommended watch.

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