A Play Too Much Original Podcast

The History of Video Game Music | Signal Cannon

by Billy Donahoe

Space invaders podcastOn this new episode of Signal Cannon, we discover that the history of video game music offers a look into the history of computers themselves. In the early days, computing power was very limited and playing graphics and sound together was an expensive engineering and programming challenge. The Apple II in the late 70’s could cost you over 10 grand in today’s dollars. Today we play games with sophisticated audio created by talented musicians and sound designers. How’d we get from dingy arcades to a 100 billion-dollar global entertainment industry?

While I’m not much of a video game player myself, the games I have played always had me thinking about the complicated mixing and composition involved. The tempo rises and falls according to the action onscreen. The soundtrack shifts with day and night. The music often gets more complex as progress is made. Sounds have to be designed and recorded. All that innovation had to come from somewhere. Who did it first?

From beeps and boops to strings and plastic guitars listen to The History of Video Game Music on Signal Cannon!

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  • Signal Cannon is produced by Billy Donahoe and distributed by Play Too Much.
  • Our theme music was written by Eric Donahoe. Show art by Julianne Waber.
  • Super Mario Galaxy was released in 2007 by Nintendo. Theme composed by Mahito Yakoda and Koji Kondo.
  • Fallout 4 was released in 2015 by Bethesda Game Studios. Theme composed by Inon Zur.
  • Space Invaders was released in 1978 by Taito Corporation.
  • Super Mario Bros. was released in 1985 by Nintendo. Theme composed by Koji Kondo.
  • Super Mario Bros. 3 was released by Nintendo in Japan in 1988 and North America in 1990. Koji Kondo composed the theme.
  • Super Mario 64 was released in 1994 by Nintendo. Composer, Koji Kondo.
  • Banjo-Kazooie was released in 1998 by Rare. Theme by Grant Kirkhope.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was released by Nintendo in 1998. Composition by Koji Kondo.
  • “Superman,” was written by Goldfinger, first released on the 1997 album Hang-Ups by Mojo Records, then again as part of the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater Soundtrack in 1999.

If you missed the last week’s episode, The Golden Record, listen now! 

The Golden Record

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