Sound Byte: GameSpot's video game music blog!

A home for all things related to video game music.

Welcome to Sound Byte, GameSpot's game music blog!

What is this place? Sound Byte is a home for all things related to video game music. You'll find Q&As, video interviews, soundtrack impressions, the latest news on album releases, musical performances, studio recordings, concerts, and other fun features. Contests as well as giveaways will happen from time to time, so be sure to stay tuned!

We want to keep this blog interactive, so your feedback and participation are important. But please do not request music from us.

Why is this here, and why should I care? Whether you pay attention to them or not, video game music and sound design are important parts of the overall gaming experience. For many games, the soundtrack rests in the background, cuing up only when necessary, or is partnered with the action onscreen for a stronger emotional effect. This blog is here so that we can highlight the composers and artists who are devoted to the nonvisual elements of the game.

Of course, then there are music games, where the soundtrack is the star of the show (like Rock Band and Guitar Hero), but this blog (for now) will be more focused on the former type of game. But that doesn't mean we won't find the time to discuss rhythm music games either.

We'll have more coverage of video game music in the near future, but for now, check out these musical features and tell us what you think!

Composing for Star Wars: The Old Republic

Nobuo Uematsu feature

Green Day Q&A with Mike Dirnt

Sound Byte is GameSpot's game music blog, which covers every aspect of music in games, including interviews with top game music composers and discussions of new and classic game soundtracks. Have a question or suggestion? Leave us a comment below.

Written By

Want the latest news about Star Wars: The Old Republic?

Star Wars: The Old Republic

Star Wars: The Old Republic

Discussion

178 comments
usermikey
usermikey

They should make a current gen game that played like StarWars Jedi Power Battles for PS1/etc. 1`- player Co-op, with updated graphics, and of course maybe less linear.

usermikey
usermikey

I have always loved the music in StarWars games. Thanks you composers for all your hard work. I love the ambiance sometimes.

Di3oxide
Di3oxide

Sound Design RULLLLLZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ:D

Brilliant_R
Brilliant_R

Super Mario Galaxy 1 & 2 have some of the best game music I've ever heard (especially the Gusty Garden Galaxy). The idea of using an orchestral approach for Mario was a good one.

Franzkill
Franzkill

If anyone wants great video game music then look no further than the Sonic games, only thing thats stayed consistently good throughout unfortunately. :)

flastic
flastic

@medouleueis Seeeegaaaaaaaaaaaaa! Probably my personal favourite game sound ever.

TacticalELJ
TacticalELJ

ah... the art of music meets the art of gaming

Sweendrix
Sweendrix

I did an original take on the Halo theme and arranged it based on inspiration from the "Halo Wars" trailer and the live action Halo Trailer. The score was recorded with minimalist equipment but the recording came out better than expected. Enjoy...(I play all instruments)... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJczoCZthPk

Murny7337
Murny7337

I wonder if this segment will talk about the music in sports games?

ricardo-sene
ricardo-sene

Anyway.. Nice initiative.. Will follow and visit this blog everyday..

ricardo-sene
ricardo-sene

Please, give us full music videos in concert! But full music recording in studios is good as well... And I also would like to stay tuned with every game soundtrack launch.. its possible?

SWIFFT
SWIFFT

A blog on Akira Yamaoka would be great. What is he up to these days?

orbit991
orbit991

@ berio2toru Yes Gary Schyman writes some nice music, liked hes Bioshock tracks quite a bit. Speaking of technology its a bit of a double edged sword. Symphobia for instance is something you hear in many compositions today, TV and games. It's basically a sample library that uses entire orchestral sections(horns, strings, winds) instead of individual ones(cellos, clarinets, trombones etc,,). The upside is that it speeds up the work flow, the downside is that it all sounds like Symphobia and poses limitations on your instrumentation, all to often you cant have just one section of strings without the violas kicking in. Overall the technology can either make some lazy or allow them a great deal of flexibility, its up to the individual. But its quite incredible what can be done now opposed to just five years ago. As far as the Japanese go someone here mentioned Shadow of the Colossus, this was a rare treat in game music, I haven't heard many pieces sound this complete. The Takashi Yoshimatsu sound your talking about might be just a result of the content in the Japanese games, the soundtracks are not very different from their movies either, or maybe they fall into the same rut as our composers. I recently asked a couple younger composers what they listened to and they answered, video game and film music. I cant say without actually listening to classical in its many incarnations they will actually come up with something we haven't heard before.

calvinsora
calvinsora

There are a lot of thumbs-down on the most innocent comments. I wonder why...

calvinsora
calvinsora

Great idea, GS, I'm a huge fan of VGM. To me, it's the best music genre ever!

Pokemon18986
Pokemon18986

The Star Wars sound was really nice, but i was hoping an interview along the lines of Martin O'Donnell

fbimunky
fbimunky

Great! Now get us an interview with Shoji Meguro.

slimco
slimco

think the first track I really liked was the black mage village (ffix), I remember playing it over and over and hardly playing the actual game at all ^_^

AntonSaidWhat
AntonSaidWhat

Final Fantasy IX has one of the best and if not The Best Music. Shadow of the Colossus has one of the most Epic soundtracks ever, same with the God of War series, Elder Scroll Oblivion's music was Beautiful, Okami's soundtrack was pure art...

g1rldraco7
g1rldraco7

This should be a podcast than a blog.

kwanzudood
kwanzudood

This is a cool idea since I love game music (faves are God of War, Jade Empire, and Bioshock), but shouldn't it be a music podcast instead of a blog?

berio2toru
berio2toru

@ orbit991 That's the problem with Game music at the moment. Same old same old. But seriously Gary Schyman is up there with the greats... But i do wonder whether the technological advances is hindering the development of music in our chosen medium. No doubt most 'composers' clone music because that's what they are asked to do. At the end of the day they are selling a commodity. Their trade. Which is why I'm in the opinion that bigger budget games can afford to get famous composer such as Nobuo Uematsu to compose music for them. Obviously there must be a difference in ideology of music in games between West and East but at the end of the day its all down to money. Oh btw orbit991 since you sound like you know your stuff about music do you think most japanese composers sound like Takashi Yoshimatsu??? The only reason I ask is because most current Japanese videogame music sound so Romantic and tonal. Basically way to 'sweet' for my liking...

Amnesiac23
Amnesiac23 moderator

I'm glad GameSpot decided to do this. I always pay a great deal of attention to video game music and I have a ton of soundtracks I listen to.

Bigbudd0045
Bigbudd0045

@kingswede I love 8-bit music, The Moon from Ducktales is clutch, I prefer the boss music from base 1 and 2 or the snowfields in Contra, but that whole game has such kickass music. Id also submit, Ninja Gaiden 2 level 2-2 and the Double Dragon Theme.

emperorzhang66
emperorzhang66

Lubu's theme :D and the siege of Madrigal Great section :D

benur1
benur1

Remember the music in Shadow of the Colossus? Epic and emotional - changing from a minor to a major key when you could finally climb the giants back after figuring out that you had to stab its ankle first to have it stumble and fall. As you got closer to the final blow, a new layer of music would pop up - making the battle even more thrilling. The music was crucial for the game, a dynamic and active force complementing an amazing story. You knew you were on the right track if you heard an intense crescendo in the soundtrack. Moral of the story = this blog rocks, Koh Otani is the man, go play Shadow of the Colossus again.

kingswede
kingswede

2 of the greatest vg songs ever, Duck tales - the moon, and the theme from the first level (the jungle) in contra/probotector :)

CyberCurse
CyberCurse

I as a gamer who hopes to become a composer in the future find this feature pretty neat.

Aesahaettr
Aesahaettr

Great to see a dedicated section to VG music. Hopefully there will be links to information about how to get involved in video game composition as i've found very little on the web.

orbit991
orbit991

@ berio2toru I agree about Zimmer the orchestrations are hack jobs, directly transposed from a piano, but I have to give him credit for catchy melodies, then again he worked in advertising so your getting some catchy jingles from him. Film scoring tends to be a bit more creative in smaller budget films, Hollywood pretty much stuck to the Batman, Harry Potter theme clones or directly rips of Stravinsky note by note, John Williams made hes career on the right of spring. Will have to disagree abut what we consider quality composing in games though, the word quality is mostly an oxymoron to me in this instance. I actually did work on a couple projects with a guy from Easter Europe, he's very good at cloning music from other pieces but not so hot if he was just to sit down and write something original. I don't think it matters that he's from Europe or Africa though, the standards are just low and much like many formulaic games that rehash what was done before to follow what is safe, same is done with the music. I know many of you think your game theme is the greatest, but listen to some actual classical music sometime and you will find a much richer and complete versions of what you are listening to.

ColJendon
ColJendon

Very nice! I look forward to future installments with eager anticipation!

berio2toru
berio2toru

@ orbit991 to some extent you are right which is kinda sad to say. But your sweeping generalisation is totally wrong. Its just like in film scoring, you are going to get some crap developer telling the composer he/she wants to sound like Hans Zimmer because he's "in" right now. Damn how i hate Zimmer's copy and paste compositions... Sorry my hatred is high up there with Andrew Lloyd Webber lol I think mainly triple A titles are able to produce fantastic scores because of the budgets that they are allowed. Also have you noticed that most recordings are done in Eastern Europe... No offensive if any of you guys are from there but its all down to monies and budgets. Hiring out Abbey Roads, paying for the musicians, musician unions, studio engineers, recording engineers, conductor. arranger... we're talking serious bucks here

berio2toru
berio2toru

finally... Garry Schyman is a really nice guy, so is Richard Jacques and Christopher Tin. All fantastic videogame composers. I am still adamant that Jesper work has gone down hill since Hitman Blood Money. I actually rate Garry's work highly. But don't get him started about Dante;s inferno... poor chap I feel for you dude I really do!

dadoesch
dadoesch

Nice addition! I've been a big fan of video game music for a while now (especially since FFIII (aka VI). Looking forward to this! You should definitely interview Ari Pulkkinen, who composed Trine's soundtrack.

XxShadowzX
XxShadowzX

Nobuo Uematsu and Jesper Kyd FTW!!!11!1!!

kiko6666
kiko6666

Jesper Kyd and Michael Giacchino. they created my best games , Assassins creed and medal of honor

koolkat14
koolkat14

Grr... So many soundtracks... It's really hard for me to decide which one's the best.

uas-2001
uas-2001

Oblivion's soundtrack is awesome :D

gamz95
gamz95

Tales of vesperia-nice soundtrack!!!!

JangoF-76
JangoF-76

Soul Reaver - some of the most memorable and atmospheric original game music I've ever heard.

nemesis4x
nemesis4x

Metal Gear Solid music is the best Harry Gregson Williams FTW!!!!!