Monday, October 15, 2012

Introduction to a Theory about Video Game Music Composers

"This is the first entry in what I hope to be a series of posts about composers/programmers of music in video games.  And not just any composers, but composers that we either don't know much about or have miss-attributed soundtracks to.  What do I mean by "miss-attribute?"  Okay, when you think of the music from the Legend of Zelda series, who comes to mind?  Right, Koji Kondo.  Except that he didn't write the music for Zelda II: The Adventure of Link.  That soundtrack was composed by Akito Nakatsuka.  Who is that you ask?  In short, he also wrote some of the music for Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!"

The above was my going into what was originally planned as a series of about nine to ten posts, focusing on individual composers and why some soundtracks are miss-attributed to them.  As an avid collector of soundtracks, I had thought that knowledge of video game composers would be about as prevalent as knowledge of film music composers.  Granted I only know of a couple by name, and those're some of the big guns: Nobuo Uematsu, Koji Kondo, Koichi Sugiyama, Hitoshi Sakimoto, Yasunori Mitsuda, Robin Beanland and David Wise.  

As it turned out, this happened to be one of those instances where when you grow up with a particular thing, like a dad who collects and chops/cuts and stacks firewood, that you think that all dads do that.  Turns out a lot of dads do not drive out on county roads looking for felled trees or asking people who have had trees cut  down if they would mind if their wood was taken out of their gutter.  Who knew that wasn't normal?  Turns out knowledge of who the composers of video game music are and what games they've composed for is not common knowledge.

I found this out when I put up a survey seeing if 1)  If people knew who wrote the music to a particular video game and 2)  If they knew, then they were to put down their answer by name.  My theory was for example, that if someone would think that because Koji Kondo wrote the music to Super Mario Bros. that they might think he wrote the music to Dr. Mario.  Or, as in the first mentioned example of Zelda II: The Adventure of Link and Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!

In the following post I will give the results and my initial analysis of the data that I collected from the survey (which when I last checked was only 20 people).  So with this in mind, I will now leave you with a couple youtube-ified tracks from various video games soundtracks that I absolutely love:

Tooth & Claw by Robin Beanland : Killer Instinct

Overworld by Koichi Sugiyama : Dragon Warrior

Sacrifices by Yuzo Koshiro : ActRaiser

I Can Just Hear It Now

P.S.  If you would like to take the aforementioned survey, here is the link:  And please do not look up any information before taking the survey as I am/was trying to find out people's existing knowledge.  Thank you.

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