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Memory

Insufficient

Games history ezine

Volume two

Issue ten

Music and games history April 2015


Music and Issue ten April 2015 games history Volume two

Contents Editorial

Zoya Street

Instruments of war The soul-stirring skirl of the bagpipes Corey Milne Procedural music Making nothing from something Christa Depken other canons Game soundtracks that history almost forgot Liz Ryerson Audio history Whatever happened to the blips and bloops? Rowan Lipkovits


Edited Zoya Street by

Editorial Zoya Street

zoyastreet.com @rupazero A game design historian, editor and freelance journalist, Zoya Street specialises in putting games and digital art into conversation with the world around them.

This is the final issue of volume 2 of Memory Insufficient. From volume 3 onwards, we’re going to be publishing on the web first, on a site specially designed for the way that this ezine is best read: slowly, with a pot of tea and minimal distractions. Special PDF, ebook and print editions will be made available too. This relaunch comes thanks to the support of Silverstring Media, a small new media design studio and consultancy. Part of our intention in working together is to bring critical and historical writing on games closer to the craft of designing them. As it happens, this final issue of volume 2 is one of our closest examinations of the craft of game de-


velopment so far. Essays by Rowan Lipkovits and Liz Ryerson address the history of music made for games, with Rowan taking a technical tour from atonal beeps to full-featured game audio and Liz focusing in on some of the most outstanding examples of music within the technical constraints that Rowan describes. Meanwhile, Corey Milne and Christa Depken’s essays offer us new ways of seeing music, informed by the interests of play. Corey examines the legend of the bagpipes as a weapon of war, as represented in games and as lived in reality. Christa offers a radical challenge to what it means for music to be “ludic” or “procedural” by confronting the history of chance (“alea”) in modern musical composition. The history of music offers innumerable examples of how critical writing on art can impact creative work, for better and for worse. From the codifying of rules for making sense of the nature of music itself, to countercultural writing about political movements with music at their core, music criticism has helped to shape music history. Critical and historical writing on media can help us to locate the edge cases of the systems in which we work and play; it inspires challenging art that reshapes the forms we’re used to encountering into something new and surprising, and it provides a lens on popular media that can breathe new life into forms that had once seemed tired. Every year, even more provocative interventions are being created around the form of games, play and software. This is a great time to be making games, a great time to be writing about them, and an even better time to bring criticism and design into close conversation. To be a part of it, join us for volume 3 at our new site: silverstringmedia.com/memory-insufficient


Instruments of war

The soul-stirring skirl of the bagpipes Corey Milne

coreymilne.wordpress.com @corey_milne

A freelance writer who specialises in examining video games from a cultural standpoint, originally from Ireland, Corey spent 10 years living in Spain and now calls Scotland home.

The bagpipe is the only musical instrument to ever be officially classed as a weapon of war. Or so the popular adage goes. This notion was going to be the crux of my essay. Yet as so often happens when you start to interrogate history beyond the surface level, you realise that what you think you know is probably a mixture of half truths and popular culture. So it turns out that the bagpipe is not in fact a weapon. It was never recognised as such. Although when you hear a less than talented piper play one could argue the case could certainly be made for its offensive capabilities.


Yet the romantic idea of pipers stirring the spirits of their troops and striking terror into their enemies is so enduring, that the myth of weaponised pipes has taken on a life of its own regardless of its dubious origins. The story originated from the Battle of Culloden which was to be the final confrontation of the 1745 Jacobite Rising, Charles Edward Stuart’s (or Bonnie Prince Charlie to his pals) attempt to regain the British Throne. A piper named James Reid was put on trial for his part in the occupation of Carlisle. His defence argued that he did not yield arms as he was a piper. The famous quote states the pipes are part of the musical instruments (“including drums, trumpets, and the like”) that a regiment went to war with and was an “instrument of war,” as opposed to a weapon. Reid did take part in the rebellion and was hung for treason. Interestingly other pipers went to trial and were acquitted with a similar defence, none of them accused of taking up arms. In 1746 the Act Of Proscription was introduced. It was “an act for the more effectual disarming the highlands in Scotland; and for the more effectual securing the peace of the said highlands; and for restraining the use of the highland dress; and for further indemnifying such persons as have acted in the defence of His Majesty’s person and government, during the unnatural rebellion.” This is the act that people will jump to in order to secure their myths. The popular image of it is as an English weapon designed to destroy Highland culture in which it forbade the wearing of tartan, the speaking or teaching of Gaelic and playing of the pipes.


It is unclear how many were arrested for wearing tartan garb, but contemporary sources at the time indicated it would “take more than act of Parliament to stop the Highlander wearing his traditional clothes.” In fact it may have helped keep the romanticism around tartan alive, while later triumphs for the Highland regiments of the British army also contributed to its survival. Gaelic was never banned and as for bagpipes the Act of Proscription states “it should not be lawful for any person or persons […] to have in his or their custody, use, or bear, broad sword or target, poignard, whinger, or durk, side pistol, gun, or other warlike weapon, otherwise than in the said act was directed, under certain penalties appointed by the said act.” Arguing that an instrument constituted a weapon was simply a unique courtroom ruling. Parliament never made it official. Music has always been weaponised to a certain extent. Whether you’re reciting a poem about having sexual relations with an enemy’s mother, to singing about how your armies are just better than someone else’s armies. Dungeons and Dragons allowed players to embody the role of a bard since its creation in the 70s. This character class uses music and poetry to create magical effects to bestow upon party members, by stirring their souls and increasing their fortitude. The creation of the class rooted in the ancient traditions of poets recounting heroic deeds and triumphs through song. Of course bards aren’t the only ones causing havoc through song. In the 2010 Playstation Portable game Valkyria Chronicles 2 there is a character class that is clearly a stand in for the military piper. Anthem corps troops use their instruments to pow-


er up your squad’s stats and abilities with positive buffs that grant higher defence bonuses or temporary accuracy boosts. Bards by any other name. It recalls accounts such as that of Bill Millin the D-Day piper, “He took them across two bridges, one ringing and banging as shrapnel hit the metal sides, one merely with railings which bullets whistled through. Those two crossings marked their successful rendezvous with the troops who had preceded them. All the way, he learned later, German snipers had had him in their sights but, out of pity for this madman, had not fired. That was their story. Mr Millin himself knew he wasn’t going to die. Piping was too enjoyable, as he had discovered in the Boys’ Brigade band and all through his short army career. And piping protected him.” Valkyria Chronicles 2 also plays host to another character class called the melodist. This character is equipped with a large brass instrument. An imposing piece of kit that recalls the stature of the bagpipes, with its chanters and drones striking out from its bag. Instead of raising the spirits of your team the melodist plays host to a number of offensive abilities. They strike fear into the enemy. Their role is that of the de-buff. This is a direct representation of how Scots troops are often portrayed in the First World War. Dubbed the “ladies from hell” by the Germans and with reputations forged by feats of bravery, it was said that the sight of kilted troops with their pipes cutting through the hellish fanfare of artillery fire was enough to strike a deep fear into the hearts of the German lines.

Even knowing that the bagpipe was never officially classed as a weapon, it fails to diminish the instrument’s allure. It transcends its status as a mere instrument unlike the drums and brass employed by military bands.


There is something in its long military traditions and rather unique sound that convinces the mind that yes, it is a soldier’s weapon. There’s certainly no going back. There are accounts of captured bagpipes being counted alongside rifles and other weapons in captured arsenals, so enduring is its legacy. Games and other media will continue to pay homage to the instrument and celebrate the legendary battle prowess of the Scots and the kilted pipers. If we’re completely honest with ourselves, sometimes myth is simply better than real life, and slowly but surely it might just go and create a new reality.

Resources Act of Proscription 1747 See online Bill Millin, Economist Read online ‘Scots up in arms as warrior spirit attacked’ The Scotsman John G. Gibson Traditional Gaelic Bagpiping, 1745-1945 Image: c. 1850 set of Highland Bagpipes from the collection of the University of Edinburgh Musical Instruments Museum.


Procedural music

Making nothing from something Christa Depken

patreon.com/ohpoorpup @ohpoorpup

An experimental musician and game designer, Christa Depken is working on a number of projects, inclucing a 24-hour long interactive album and writing games music criticism.

An ensemble takes the stage, ready to perform. Percussionists, violinists, flautists, a pianist. The conductor is noticeably absent. Procedurally generated games have always been really alienating to me. That isn’t to say I don’t enjoy them at times; I’d rather not consider how many hours I’ve spent navigating labyrinths in Crypt of the Necrodancer or Spelunky (to say nothing of Mountain) But there’s always been something not-quite-right about them, something I’ve never been able to place. These games are generally built around large spaces, intended to feel wholly unique every time you enter, and the method of generation involves a number of set parameters


being run through an algorithm, producing an environment. This, by all accounts, is something I should embrace, given how much I love expansive worlds. But it strikes me as alien, unnatural; often soulless. The pianist raises her hands to the keyboard. She begins playing a repeated C-C octave. This harsh, piercing tone sets a tempo, and the ensemble begins to play. Beginning with a C-E Major third motion in unison, they drift apart, spreading out the rhythmic and harmonic landscape. The Pulse continues. Terry Riley’s “In C” is one of the most interesting musical works of the 20th Century. Well, that sentence is a bit misleading, if we’re honest. To say “In C” can be attributed to Terry Riley is only partly true, in that Terry Riley only established the conditions in which “In C” happens. “In C” is structured as 53 short musical ideas, played by an ensemble of varying size, over a repeated C-C octave figure on (traditionally) a piano. Each member of the ensemble chooses which motif they play, when they play it, and for how long. This dynamic of chance puts “In C” in a category commonly referred to as Aleatoric music.

Aleatoric (or chance) music is an umbrella term for a compositional method involving situations outside of the composer’s control. John Cage was a pioneer of this music, and his landmark piece 4’33”, a “silence piece,” brought these techniques to the broader musical consciousness. (And I’m Still Not Talking About Mountain, Thank You) An oboe decides to move to Pattern 21, a sustained F#. The vibraphonist hears this tritone over The Pulse and decides to respond with Pattern 25.


The presence of F#, A and C in the performance change the overall tone from C Major to that of an f# minor diminished chord. The performance now sounds fraught, agitated; disturbed. The Pulse continues. What makes the aleatoric element of “In C” so fascinating, in the context of video games, is the way the piece plays out during a performance. As different performers begin branching into different patterns, they begin influencing the decisions of their peers. By utilizing and Playing with these set parameters, a piece of music takes shape and develops, in a totally unique way. This development, again, happens completely free of Riley’s compositional influence.

The score lays out a few requirements regarding structure, but beyond that the piece has become a kind of Living Thing. “One of the joys of IN C is the interaction of the players in polyrhythmic combinations that spontaneously arise between patterns. Some quite fantastic shapes will arise and disintegrate as the group moves through the piece when it is properly played.” ~Terry Riley

The ensemble is collectively approaching Pattern 40, beginning to exhaust their resources. The performance is becoming sparser, harmonies are starting to disappear. It almost sounds as if the ensemble is running out of energy, unable to keep up with itself. The Pulse continues. So, what does this piece from 1964 have to do with procedural games? Both involve a series of set, prescribed options (musical ideas / environmental objects) which are acted upon by a system (an ensemble / a generation algorithm) before they are presented to an audience. In a traditional piece of music, the only real agency a performer has is a matter of interpretation. Fur Elise leaves Beethoven and reaches you in largely the same form. Likewise, Super Mario Bros. leaves Nintendo and reaches you in largely the same exact state. But with “In C” and procedural games, there’s a necessary intermediary voice which


presents you the text after interpreting it internally. “In C” leaves Terry Riley as a series of disconnected staves on a page, and reaches you only after being interacted with and interpreted by an ensemble. Minecraft leaves Mojang as a series of textures, voxels and characters, and reaches you only after being interacted with and interpreted by an algorithm. Performers begin to reach Pattern 53, repeating it endlessly as their peers join them. The Pattern, a Bb-G descending third, fills out a C Major Seventh chord with The Pulse. It implies a calming, a winding down. The chaos is starting to ease. The Pulse continues.

So what’s the difference? Why do I embrace “In C” openly, but shrink from procedural games? I’m still not one-hundred percent sure, but my gut intuition is that it has to do with the interpreters themselves. The human ensemble has a flexible internal creativity that a logical algorithm simply cannot replicate, at least as of 2015. Minecraft’s biomes and caverns feel expansive and intricate, yes, but they all ultimately strike me as mere variations on a theme. Despite having far fewer parameters than Minecraft, “In C” is distinct and often unrecognizable between performances. It feels alive, organic, brimming with this energetic glee, both with itself and the world around it. I’ve never played a procedural game that was able to embody that feeling. I hope someday I will. The ensemble has resigned itself to Pattern 53. Performers are beginning to drop out. That flustered, messy humanity is beginning to acquit itself. The Pulse stops. Cross-posted from ohpoorpup.tumblr.com


other canons

game soundtracks that history almost forgot Liz Ryerson

patreon.com/ellaguro @ellaguro Winner of Critical Distance’s 2013 Blogger of the Year Award, Liz Ryerson is a critic, artist, designer and composer with an affinity for the strange, the ephemeral and the forgotten.

As someone who is pretty fond of videogame music, and even participated in a community for rearranging it for many years, I tend to feel now like it usually falls pretty safely into one kind of musical cliche or another. Either it’s the JRPG soundtrack with the typical range of character and battle themes, or the rockin’ action or racing game, or the “epic” orchestral soundtrack, or the ambient background music, or lately, “generic chiptune” —you get the idea. Even older soundtracks, like many well-revered NES, SNES or Genesis soundtracks, all start sounding like the same second-rate yellow magic orchestra or yes-aping stuff to me after awhile. And


even when they’re not like that, there will be only one or two things going on that I find that interesting, but nothing really that makes them stand out as anything other than a work of their time, meant for a very specific purpose. But then there are a few game soundtracks that seemed to have come out of left field, and show that there have been people who were interested in doing something different with the hardware they were given, if only out of boredom. They often languish in obscure games that are either terrible or commercially unsuccessful (often both), or are misunderstood by fans expecting the soundtracks to push the same emotional buttons most game soundtracks do (I’m thinking of the Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance soundtrack here). I’m starting to become less and less fond of the idea of a traditional game soundtrack. I’m more into interactive audio that directly speaks to the way the player interacts with the game, instead of awkwardly-looped tracks sandwiched in. My interest in a lot of old game music now has very little to do with “nostalgia” or any associations I had with the games, and much more to do with the way the different kinds of hardware used created interesting compromises for composers that led them making interesting sounds.

If you can divorce the music from the game, often you will hear things or look at it in a way that you wouldn’t otherwise. Now that there aren’t really hardware limits on what a game composer can do anymore, the period of game music limited by its hardware is kind of an odd, unrepeatable blip in time. I think it’s important to, instead of forgetting about that moment and moving on, go back and unearth some of the interesting things that people were doing at the time, within the limitations they had.


Equinox (SNES) by Tim & Geoff Follin

click to play

Tim Follin is the well-known hyper-prolific wizard of a billion different game soundtracks on all kinds of different hardware. His music is usually pretty free-associative, heavily prog inspired stuff that contains all kinds of sound manipulation. The one big complaint that is often leveled at him and his brother’s music is that it doesn’t fit the games, and that he’s just doing whatever he feels like doing (which he admits himself in this interview). Still, when you’re commissioned to do soundtracks for the amount of total shitty games as he was, I can see why he just chose to entertain himself instead. Equinox is an exception, though, and what I consider the peak of his and his brother’s work. His usual propensity to show off is toned way down, and the technical wizardry is channeled into establishing a consistent mood and feel. It’s really a remarkable piece of work and shows how great of a composer he and his brother could really be, game music or not.

Animorphs (GBC) by Randy Wilson

click to play

I was pointed to this soundtrack recently by my friend j chastain. I really don’t know anything about it, other than Randy Wilson was a likely collaborator with the famous japanese noise group the boredoms, which goes a long way in explaining the sound of the music in this game. There’s really no adequate way to explain the sound, but there’s nothing really like it. You’ll have to take a listen to the track above (which is one of the most subdued


tracks in the game, really) to see for yourself. The really peculiar thing is that when i was looking up gameplay videos on youtube, i found that the music plays at half-speed of the gbs rip i had, throughout the game. This really changes the feel of music and lessens its bludgeoning impact drastically. I thought whoever ripped it from the game on zophar’s domain must have made a mistake, but i found a different rip in a different place and the music was the same speed. My only guess is that it was intended to be that way, but upon implementation the game developer freaked and slowed it down to half speed so it wouldn’t be so grating to the target audience of young kids playing the game.

Dune (Amiga/DOS) by Stéphane Picq

click to play

I discovered Stéphane Picq’s work through seeing gameplay footage of the amiga game extase. I was really blown away by what i saw of that game, but the audio in particular is wonderful. The only reason i didn’t include it here is because it’s apparently fully interactive within the context of the game, in the vein of david kanaga’s recent work. Picq worked on a lot of game soundtracks through the late 80’s and 90’s, and i have to admit i’m still not terribly familiar with most of them. From what i’ve heard, though, he has a great ear for sound design, even when his music is full of cheesy cliches. The limited set of sounds on the dos version of dune mitigates a lot of the datedness and is definitely the best and most interesting use of the adlib soundcard i’ve ever heard (which btw, i’ve found that a lot of game composers who did really interesting things with limited sets of sounds tended to pick pretty boring, awful sounds when they were given the choice to choose whatever


sound they wanted to) but it’s also missing a lot of the range and charm of the original amiga version. There was also an enhanced soundtrack released of the amiga version, but i prefer the sound of the original better. My favorite version i’ve heard by far, though, is the one featured in the track embedded above, that uses the reverb feature on the not-so successful adlib gold soundcard. It really brings the adlib sounds out in the best way possible.

Recca (NES) by Nobuyuki Shioda

click to play

Recca is an (apparently) mega-hard bullet hell game made late in the NES’s lifetime that takes a lot of advantage of the hardware, both in the hyper-fast visuals and the extremely agressive sound. Nobuyuki Shioda is a composer i really know nothing about. he composed a few different, fairly conventional game soundtracks in the early 90’s, but he apparently found his voice emulating the popular club techno music of the time on the NES soundchip. while the music is very much in the club vein, it really doesn’t sound like anything else. the limits of the soundchip really bring it out in a way i couldn’t describe. if you don’t like repetitive music you probably won’t like this, but the really interesting and unique sound more than makes it worthy to include here.

Last Bible 3 (SFC) by Hiroyuki Yanada

click to play

Last Bible 3’s music is very much in the vein of a traditional JRPG soundtrack (for a game released only on the Super Famicom, that has still yet to be


translated to English) and as such covers all of the different cliche JRPG range of moods and settings you’d come to expect from a game soundtrack like this. These days, those kinds of soundtracks are only the mildest curiosity to me, but this one stands out for me. What makes it unique, I suppose, is how personal and warm it feels. the sound of it is I guess what people often call “quirky” - likely inspired by Earthbound (especially because i can hear one or two Beatles references), but it’s still kind of its own thing. It’s not the feat of sound design of the other games I listed, but the use of sounds is generally very good and this is an obscure game soundtrack that really deserves more recognition. Cross-posted with permission and small changes from Liz Ryerson’s blog.

See original, with full soundtracks

Resources We’ve embedded short sample tracks into this PDF. You can download the full soundtracks that Liz discusses by clicking on the links below. Equinox (mp3) Animorphs (gbs) Dune, Adlib gold version (mp3) Recca (nsf) Last Bible 3 (spc) Image by Liz Ryerson


Audio history

Whatever happened to the blips and bloops? Rowan Lipkovits

mistifunk.tumblr.com @unwashedmass Rowan Lipkovits explores the seamy accordion underworld, spends all day thinking about games and experimental narrative, and has recently revived his ‘90s computer art collective Mistigris.

In the beginning there was nothing, and then there was a sound, and that sound was a beep. Computer and video games had no music, only a rhythmless call-and-response as virtual paddles volleyed simulated balls, intoning “bip” or “bop” at every encounter. Musical cues weren’t entirely unknown in arcades, but the credit for the first continuous soundtrack goes to the dynamic melody of Space Invaders (1978), where four notes went down a continuous staircase over and over again, speeding up as doom from beyond the stars approached. Always desperate for a fresh angle, the


arms race in the arcades led to more sophisticated musical accompaniment relatively quickly—by 1983 Journey had their tunes blasting from their arcade cabinet via an on-board audiocassette deck, and in the same year Christopher Stone’s soundtrack for Dragon’s Lair could be heard played, as with the rest of that game, off of a LaserDisc. Technologically, the solutions taken by these arcade machines were dead ends when it came to home consoles and desktops. But they pointed toward a goal of audio fidelity, a goal that would be reached years later, and would depend upon much more complex technical and commercial changes. The whole early ‘80s was a smorgasbord of bleeping and blooping music: the Atari 2600 and its ankle-biters from Mattel and CoLeCo had it; Radio Shack’s TRS-80 and CoCo beeped like a radio edit of a 2 Live Crew song; booting an IBM PC or its clones, its tweet was inescapable — literally, with no volume controls or on/off switch for players who hoped to escape the relentless tootling of a pervasive, unwanted soundtrack. The Apple II ducked the curse of the bleeper only through the addition of the Mockingboard card. The Macintosh supported digital sound recordings, but it was not known as a gaming platform. The users of these machines might have not realised it, but their first generation of bleepy game soundtracks was as important, and yet as momentary, a development in musical history as the audiocassette and LaserDisc. The Commodore 64 in 1982 and its SID chip made inroads into more sophisticated sound technology, and the next steps were taken by the Famicom, leaving behind that generation of barely tolerable chirps.

The Famicom and C64 still sang only in bleeps and tweets, but never before had those bleeps such nuance and complexity!


The improvement was minor, but the effect was exponential, and the music that came out of it was a cultural landmark. The Famicom supported the inception of many of Nintendo’s longest-lived franchises, which have ever since been nostalgically telegraphed through the invocation of musical themes that date back to this musically fertile period. Now that there were some real tools to work with, the field was more appealing to composers with an interest in digital sound. Music production began flowing out of the hands of programmers who knew only how to compel machines to chirp, but not necessarily when or why. Games were still diskette-, cassette- and cartridge-based for the most part, and even hard drive space for home computers cost a pretty penny. Bleepy musical abstractions helped to economise on storage space. By the late 1980s, it was theoretically possible to use digital audio recordings to bring higher-fidelity soundtracks to games. However, with high fidelity came huge file sizes. It took two sides of the problem to be resolved before digital audio became usable in games: firstly, digital audio files had to get their massive footprint shrunk down, which wouldn’t happen until mp3 compression came into play in 1995; secondly, digital storage needed to come down in price, at a scale much larger than that enabed by cartridges or floppies. The invention of the compact diskette wasn’t on its own enough to solve this problem. In fact, the Red Book CD audio standard was released as early as 1980.

Sometimes the problem isn’t the invention of new standards, but the widespread adoption of them. Early adopters always pay a penalty: in 1992 NEC’s PC Engine hosted Tengai Makyo II: Manjimaru on


CD, featuring not only voice acting but also numerous musical cues performed by a symphony orchestra and recorded as digital audio. Despite its remarkable technical achievements, it failed to make much impact on the home console scene. While bad music or low-quality sound will always garner criticism, virtually nobody buys a game on the sole basis of its amazing music. Despite the emergence of compact disc-based gaming consoles such as the Sega CD, 3DO, and the CD-i, it was the technologically-laggard Sega Genesis and Super Famicom platforms which were cleaning up. These used two different approaches to deal with the same old limited-storage issues. Sega cultivated virtuosity on their further-extended bleepy technology—Yuzo Koshiro’s work on Streets of Rage in 1991 is an oft-cited example of this. Nintendo took its lead from the Amiga multimedia powerhouse (and the .MOD tracking that had emerged there in 1987), reusing very brief samples of instruments rather than sampling entire songs—this technology was an exceptionally good fit for the techno-styled tunes that were popular in youth culture even outside of gaming. The approach presumably stuck with Nintendo through the N64 era, still plagued with the storage problems of cartridge media. Tracker-style music became a stylistic choice in games culture even where it was not a technical necessity: PC developers continued using it in such relatively late franchises as Unreal, Deus Ex and Hitman long after their platforms’ media storage woes could be considered safely solved. A handful of PC developers devised a trick to compel the PC speaker to play digital audio, which would have theoretically been possible on the C64 as well, if the storage issues been overcome. In the meantime, everyone else settled for their particular hardware’s interpretation of MIDI scores. Those soundtracks were neither bleeps nor bloops, but a middle ground until the rise of cheap storage media offered simpler solutions.


The hammer dropped, for most of us, in 1995 with the worldwide release of the PlayStation 1, sounding a death knell for bleeps and bloops as well as 2D sprite-based games, leaving them both to be rediscovered by future generations of indie developers reclaiming the cultural styles of their youth. Video games still had music, but the ineffable “sow’s ear to silk purse” aspirations of video game music were gone forever—except to users of Nintendo’s Game Boy, whose unique considerations of “battery life trumps all” made it a living museum piece of the early days of video game music. It has fostered a curious musical ecosystem of its own ever since.


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Music and games history  

Memory Insufficient volume two issue ten

Music and games history  

Memory Insufficient volume two issue ten

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