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What does JWfan think of...Video Game scores!


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Do you like them?

Yes, very much so.

Do you have any favorite scores or composers?

Nobou Uematsu- the legendary Final Fantasy composer. My favorite of his is VI (thematically perfect), and I also really like VII (a grand epic) and IX (achingly beautiful, you have to get the FFIX Plus OST that has all the cut scene cues to really appreciate its greatness).

Jeremy Soule- Composed, in my opinion, the best non-JW Star Wars music for Knights of the Old Republic. He's also the composer for the Elder Scrolls series, some excellent work that I'm just discovering.

Koji Kondo- The Legend of Zelda. A Link to the Past is my favorite of his, with Ocarina of Time second.

Should Williams ever try to compose music for a video game?

A moot question as he's already done Zelda. ;)

Seriously, why not. Though I would want him attached to a project that with lots of cut scenes and other film-like moments rather than just a whole lot of in-game BGM.

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Composing music for a videogame generally involves playing videogames. So, no, he should not, cannot, and will not.

Jeremy Soule and Clint Bajakian are my favorite orchestral composers. Koji Kondo is the father of the genre, but he's fallen a bit behind on the realism curve. I still love the old tunes, of course. Mark Griskey's work on Knights of the Old Republic II impressed me a lot (e.g. by actually inciting strong emotion in me at points, which is very rare in games). He seems to be a fast-improving composer, because his work on Star Wars: Starfighter three years earlier or so was completely flat.

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Zelda, man that brings back memories, with the music rings in your ears after playing all day and you are trying to go to sleep. I'd rather JW stick to movies though, I don't have anytime for videogames any more. ;)

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I enjoy them too, and generally enjoy Uematsu's work. Sadly he mostly refuses (says so himself in an interview) to upgrade his synths (because he doesnt want to waste time relearning how to use it apparently) so we tend to get good melodies with painfully crummy sound quality which is especially obvious FFVII onwards (relative to what was being done in other games). Of course there are those albums which feature a fully orchestral version of some of the highlights which are pretty magnificent. IIRC FFV, and VIII had them while VII's was a single disc release containing mostly identical music from the normal release with the exception of 3 tracks which was fully orchestrated.

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A moot question as he's already done Zelda.  ;)  

I heard that he didn't actually make the Zelda music that you are thinking of. Some other member on the site a while ago said that is a common misconception.

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I enjoy them too, and generally enjoy Uematsu's work. Sadly he mostly refuses (says so himself in an interview) to upgrade his synths (because he doesnt want to waste time relearning how to use  it apparently) so we tend to get good melodies with painfully crummy sound quality which is especially obvious FFVII onwards (relative to what was being done in other games). Of course there are those albums which feature a fully orchestral version of some of the highlights which are pretty magnificent. IIRC FFV, and VIII had them while VII's was a single disc release containing mostly identical music from the normal release with the exception of 3 tracks which was fully orchestrated.

All of the cues for the FMV cutscenes in FFIX were recorded with a live orchestra. That was the OST Plus for FF IX that I mentioned earlier and they are amazing.

A moot question as he's already done Zelda.  ;)

I heard that he didn't actually make the Zelda music that you are thinking of. Some other member on the site a while ago said that is a common misconception.

I was being sarcastic, hence the :| . It is a common misconception, an urban legend out there that he's done Zelda music, just like he's done Back to the Future and just about every other piece of film/video game music that ends up on file sharing programs.

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The game music that tries to sound like a film score isn't that great, with the exception of Jeremy Soule, who has written some nice cues.

Old game music though , such as Sega's arcade games, and Chris Huelsbeck is very good indeed.

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I don't mind some of the game music. I enjoy Enter The Matrix by Erik Lundborg. He definitely made it sound very much like Don Davis' original music. I also have the Star Trek Starfleet Academy game promo score a very good one. All though those are the only two game scores I have.

Edit: I should point out I don't much like synth game scores though...I perfer ones that have real orchestras...

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I enjoy them too, and generally enjoy Uematsu's work. Sadly he mostly refuses (says so himself in an interview) to upgrade his synths (because he doesnt want to waste time relearning how to use  it apparently) so we tend to get good melodies with painfully crummy sound quality which is especially obvious FFVII onwards (relative to what was being done in other games). Of course there are those albums which feature a fully orchestral version of some of the highlights which are pretty magnificent. IIRC FFV, and VIII had them while VII's was a single disc release containing mostly identical music from the normal release with the exception of 3 tracks which was fully orchestrated.

All of the cues for the FMV cutscenes in FFIX were recorded with a live orchestra. That was the OST Plus for FF IX that I mentioned earlier and they are amazing.

Yea I know. Sadly the tracks are all very short. ;)

Anyway the score for Mafia by Vladimir Simunek is also pretty good. Its not available on release but Tweakguide.com has a guide for extracting the music. Also check out the music from The Movies game. I think the Collector's Edition comes with a soundtrack CD

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Most of Lucasarts adventure games had amazing scores. Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis had an amazing thematic development and a lot of atmosphere for a MIDI score. Grim Fandango is also top notch work.

But nothing beats the Monkey island games in the music department.

Romão, whose ringtone is LeChuck's theme.

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I like video game scores and am happy that nowadays first rate game composition is given its right due and many games boast with a completely orchestral score. That is not saying that other game scores than orchestral are bad. There are very good ones like Jeremy Soule's music for SWKOTOR and numerous other games.

Michael Giacchino came first to mind if I have to name favourites as well as Soule. I think music is very important part of a gaming experience and love to hear good scores for games.

I am waiting to hear Shore's Soul of the Ultimate Nation score. The game itself is heavily influenced by LOTR in the visual style since the game trailer contained almost direct lifts from the scenes from LOTR right down to the camera angles and action.

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I can't say that I've heard much. The only video game music that I've actually listened to, and I'm not talking about the music from old Nintendo games, is the ochestral versions of some of the stuff from Final Fantasy VII, like Aerith's Theme and One-Winged Angel.

Other then that, I never had much interest, although I do like those two aforementioned pieces.

I was slightly curious about Shore's SUN score, but it's not available in the USA through normal retailers, unless I order over some specialty online store somewhere. However, I really don't need it all that badly. I'll try to get some samples and make a judgement. The FSM podcast had me curious.

Tim

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Composing music for a videogame generally involves playing videogames. So, no, he should not, cannot, and will not.

Then how do you explain Howard Shore's "Sun"? I think the quality of the composer is more important than their gaming experience.

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Good game scores are very good. I'm a big fan of Chris Hülsbeck's old C64 and Amiga scores. Of the newer stuff, most LucasArts scores are very good, or at least used to be, before they started just copying & pasting the Williams scores for their games and apparently stopped producing anything but Star Wars games. Of course, they also had the advantage of the excellent iMuse system.

Oh, and Chris Afonso ain't too shabby either.

Marian - :)

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Composing music for a videogame generally involves playing videogames. So, no, he should not, cannot, and will not.

Then how do you explain Howard Shore's "Sun"? I think the quality of the composer is more important than their gaming experience.

Good point. Let me rephrase it: John Williams will never score a videogame.

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The game music that tries to sound like a film score isn't that great...

...except when heard, as it was written and performed, outside of the game.

And listened to as such, I think Secret Weapons Over Normandy is one of the greatest symphonic works of the last 10 years.

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I purchased Medal of Honor: Frontline from iTunes the other day, but only listened to it today.

I was blown away. Absolutely fantastic. An obvious influence from Williams, but I could pick apart moments that for me were nothing but Giacchino, or at least what he still uses in his other scores, such as string suspensions and punctuating blasts from the lower brass (tuba/trombone). I can't wait to get the rest of them, and to play the games for that matter.

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My favourite video game score is easily Total Annihilation by Jeremy Soule. Nothing else even comes close.

Right now i´m listening mostly Oblivion by Soule, but that is only because keep playing most of my free time. :P

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Some video game scores are amazing within the game, for example the scores to the Myst games. There's really not too much there, but they work incredibly well with the sound effects and general atmosphere in the games.

I actually bought the 2-CD set of music from Kingdom Hearts. It's a nice score. Some of the pieces are cheesy, but as the game is Disney-inspired that's only to be expected. Sometimes I put it on for a little easy-to-listen-to background music though.

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Michael Giacchino's 3 Medal of Honor cds are the videogame equivalent of the Indiana Jones trilogy, IMO. They are equally exciting, dramatic, and thrilling as the IJ scores, and each one is different enough to warrant another listen.

Likewise, Chris Tilton's two game scores, Mercenaries and Black are as good as any summer blockbuster score.

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I purchased Medal of Honor: Frontline from iTunes the other day, but only listened to it today.

I was blown away. Absolutely fantastic. An obvious influence from Williams, but I could pick apart moments that for me were nothing but Giacchino, or at least what he still uses in his other scores, such as string suspensions and punctuating blasts from the lower brass (tuba/trombone). I can't wait to get the rest of them, and to play the games for that matter.

I'm glad you like it so much! I'm equally enthusiastic about the score. It really is consistently terrific, with nearly each track having its own characteristic theme or motif, woven in and out of the score's several primary themes. Lots of fun! The game is great too, I highly recommend it.

Ray Barnsbury

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