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Fans of video game music have convened on the net and in person in various capacities. Many inspired communities have flourished as a result, despite not being directly involved with video games or game production. Fans have recorded human performances of game music, both in concert and in the studio. Some have also taken a more technical approach, such as the chiptune (WP) and mod communities that emulate (WP) the sound adapters from older computers and consoles. Other more technically focused cultures develop or use emulators to play back sound files from the original game data or archive (WP) them for others to use.
Though the term is very broad, "remixing" (WP) is commonly used to identify the resequencing, live performance, or general adaptation of an original piece from a video game to produce a new work. Presentations vary from straightforward orchestration of old computer-sequenced tunes to heavy-handed departures into rock, jazz, metal, or any other of a number of styles.
A fan culture developed in the 1990s around the practice of transcribing video game music in Wikipedia:MIDI files. This allowed fans lacking immediate ability in musical performance, but possessing some computer skill, to take early synthesizer-based game music and re-imagine it with the variety of sampled instruments afforded by the General MIDI standard. More than a few archives of such works can still be found today and have even extended into other MIDI standards.
Fan performances have also gained wide visibility, ranging from concerts to recorded remixes. A rock group called Minibosses was one of the earliest to gain traction on the Internet, hosting mp3s of performances as well as selling CDs.
Many fans are also members of remix communities, where recreational musicians, DJs, and other music talent produce re-arranged or remixed versions of tunes and then share them for download. The scale of the productions varies from artist to artist, ranging from solo pieces to massive multi-controller device soundbanks. Some of these artists have even gone on to received license from the game publisher to publish their own work. Others may simply provide a CD of their work to those who ask.
- Main article: Wikipedia:Chiptune
Segments even more specialized to the culture are the fan communities that base themselves around writing remixed or even new music using the very same sound hardware of the classic game systems themselves. Though this also can be considered remixing, it uses such a specific medium that it bears separate distinction. Sometimes an emulator is used to generate the chip's sounds when the actual chip is not present. This is widely known as Wikipedia:Chip Tune and is a very comparable to the use of an Wikipedia:analog synthesizer in a music studio. Many times the composer choosing this format either has a specific familiarity with the technology being used, preference for the sound qualities of a particular chip, or is looking for a challenge in making an enjoyable music experience from a comparably simple musical tool.
Sound file and emulationEdit
Sound chip emulators, usually inspired by game system emulators, developed both as standalone media players and as plugins for popular media players like Wikipedia:Winamp. Web site communities have sprung up, and archives containing the sound data of games allow fans to hear game music on their personal computers much as it sounds in its original format. Each game system that is emulated begot a specialised format such as NSF, GBS, SID, HES, VGM, SPC, PSF, PSF2, and others.
Emulator format musicEdit
- Wikipedia:8 Bit Weapon
- Wikipedia:The Advantage
- Wikipedia:Machinae Supremacy
- Wikipedia:Man Factory
- The Megas
- Wikipedia:The NESkimos
- Wikipedia:The OneUps
- Wikipedia:The Protomen
- Wikipedia:Descendants of Erdrick
- Random Encounter
Popular sound formats by systemEdit
- Wikipedia:Apple Macintosh, Wikipedia:Macintosh II, Wikipedia:Macintosh Quadra, Wikipedia:PowerPC : Studio Session, MOD (The Sound Tracker, The Player Pro, etc.)
- 8-bit Atari : SAP
- Wikipedia:Atari ST: Wikipedia:SNDH, Wikipedia:SC68, YM, MOD
- Wikipedia:Commodore 64: SID
- Wikipedia:Commodore Amiga: MOD, Wikipedia:OctaMED (MED), Wikipedia:Oktalyzer (OKT)
- Wikipedia:Game Boy: GBS
- Wikipedia:Game Boy Advance : GSF
- Wikipedia:IBM PC Clone (with Wikipedia:Sound Blaster or other Wikipedia:sound card) : MOD, Composer 669 (669), MultiModuleEdit (MTM), Grave Composer (WOW), UltraTracker (ULT), Wikipedia:Scream Tracker (Wikipedia:S3M), Wikipedia:Fast Tracker (XM), Wikipedia:Impulse Tracker (IT)
- NES: NSF
- Wikipedia:Nintendo 64: USF
- PC Engine : HES
- Wikipedia:PlayStation, Wikipedia:PlayStation 2: PSF and PSF2, XA Audio
- Wikipedia:Sega Genesis: VGM, Wikipedia:GYM, GSR
- Wikipedia:Sega Master System: VGM
- Wikipedia:Sega Master System & Wikipedia:Sega Game Gear: VGM
- Wikipedia:Sega Saturn: SSF, XA audio
- SNES: SPC (named for the SPC700 sound chip used in the SNES)
- Multiple Platform : Wikipedia:MIDI, Wikipedia:SCUMM, MOD
Articles and essays about video game musicEdit
- "Changing Our Tune" - an essay on the unique role and function of music in games.
- Whalen, Zach. "Play Along - An Approach to Videogame Music". GameStudies, the international journal of computer game research. Vol. 4, issue 1. November 2004
- "Video game music: not just kid stuff" – Matthew Belinkie, 15 December 1999 - an essay about game music.
- GamesSound.com - site with studies and resources for educators all dealing with game audio.
- "Levels of Sound" - Eric Pidkameny, Vassar College 15 May 2002
- "Quality Video Game Music Scores, Considering the Standards Set, and Personal Reflections" – Daniel DeCastro, New York University 14 May 2007