LIVE: VGMTogether – Preserving Game Audio – PA162

We had a great time at VGMTogether presenting our talk on game audio logging and the dedicated communities around the world that have spent years archiving music as accurately as possible. It’s a commonly overlooked topic that nevertheless supports a lot of activities in the game music scene.

You may have heard it referred to as “VGM ripping”; logging is the process of accessing, capturing, organizing and ultimately archiving game music in more accessible ways. There are a few ways that game music is stored in data, and a few ways that game music is captured for easier access. It’s a time-consuming but rewarding process that requires some computer skills and a decent amount of patience.

In addition to the tracklist we’ve included a number of other resources: links to some of our past shows with a focus on logging and preservation, links to some of the more prominent game and computer music archives, and some other relevant talks. To all of those involved in VGM logging including our good friends ValleyBell and ctr, as well as the many folks we didn’t mention, we thank you for all of your hard work and for everything you’ve done for the VGM community over the years.

We did our best to make our show as enjoyable for regular listeners, but we have also included our presentation slides which help enhance the experience. Click through the presentation below to see the visual aids and video examples we used during our talk.

Here’s the link to our video presentation on YouTube

Track List:

  • 0:06:50 Stage 2 – Yuurei-kun (MSX2)
    • By Manabu Saito
  • 0:20:23 Ending 2 – Earthbound Beginnings (NES)
    • By Keiichi Suzuki & Hirokazu “Hip” Tanaka
    • Exclusive to the US version of the game
    • Logged by MrNorbert1994
  • 0:26:12 The Mountains – The Smurfs (GB)
    • By Alberto Jose González (Twitter)
  • 0:32:02 Isotoxin – Unreal (PC)
    • By Andrew “Necros” Sega, edited by Alexander Brandon
  • 0:39:08 Security – System Shock (PC)
    • By Greg Lopiccolo, Tim Ries
    • Originally logged and fixed by Joey “Chicajo” D in 1998
  • 0:47:11 Vigilante Shuffle – Interstate ’76 (PC)
    • By Bullmark
      • Leader [Music Direction By] – Arion Salazar, Jason Slater, Kelly W. Rogers
      • Written-By, Bass, Keyboards – Arion Salazar
      • Guitar – David Shul
      • Drums – Bryan Mantia
      • Horns – Les Harris
      • Engineer, Mixed By – Eric Valentine
      • Executive-Producer – Kelly W. Rogers
  • 0:51:24 Song of the Ancients [excerpt] – Nier (360/PS3)
    • Composed by Keiichi Okabe
    • Interactive audio demo example
  • 1:01:26 Launching (Title) – Star Trader (X68000)
    • Originally composed by Mieko Ishikawa
    • Additional composers for X68k port: Hiroya Hatsushiba, Keishi Yonao
  • 1:04:34 Elevator – System Shock (PC)
    • By Greg Lopiccolo, Tim Ries
    • Originally logged and fixed by Joey “Chicajo” D in 1998

Some past episodes

  • Logging community and audio format discussion
    • Namco C352 with ctr – Community member ctr discusses his custom playback software for 90s Namco arcade games “QuattroPlay” as well as some favorite picks
    • Hole Chaser with Masahiro Kajihara – Composer Kajihara-san talks about his music and developing the PMD sound driver, also used by his contemporaries to write FM music for 80s/90s Japanese computers
    • 5 Years of VGMRips – A retrospective on some favorite music direct from the archivists in the VGMRips community
    • Roadkill – Jesse Bishop aka “Street Cleaner” talks about his work logging the audio from the game Roadkill. Check out our interview with Jesse about his game too!
    • Interview with Chase Bethea – Composer Chase Bethea talks about his music, including a live demo on dynamic audio
    • Hover Racing – Friend of the show electricboogaloo logged the music for the PS1 indie game on the “Net Yaroze” platform
    • KGB / Conspiracy – A great soundtrack and a discussion of the custom HERAD sound driver that makes the Sound Blaster music really shine
    • Heart Heat Girls – We cover music from a game that was logged for the show
    • Yuurei-kun (Mr. Ghost) – We cover the music composed by Manabu Saito, and Bryan and Gene’s first full show together
  • Shows on VGM history
  • Other shows mentioned

A non-exhaustive list of game audio repositories

  • Various systems
    • VGMRips – dozens of systems including many rare arcade soundtracks
    • World of Game Music (Mirsoft) – Search is the easiest way to navigate
    • Zophar Music – A very large and long-running archive
  • Console specific
    • SNESMusic – Self explanatory
    • Project 2612 – Sega Genesis / Mega Drive
    • SMSPower – Sega Master System / Game Gear
    • NSF Archive – Nintendo NES, maintained by MrNorbert1994 and hosted unofficially on the NESDev forums
    • PMH – Game Boy / GBA / PSP
  • Home computers
  • Other music repositories
    • The Mod Archive – PC module files, not specifically game music. Many of these musicians went on to work on games
    • Modland – Another Mod archive, organized by player file type
    • VGMusic – The largest archive of VGM MIDI files, started in 1996 and one of the most influential early internet sites dedicated to game music
  • A small selection of game music players
    • VGMPlay – Written by logger ValleyBell
    • ZXTune – A multi-format music player
    • Quattroplay – A player for Namco arcade music

Additional talks and organizations regarding audio formats and preservation

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