zophar53's Blog

Posted on Aug 5th 2019 at 08:00:00 AM by (zophar53)
Posted under Video game music, VGM, music, podcasts


Two of my favorite things are video games and music. It's a wonderful thing, then, that there's been some pretty incredible video game music over the decades. Not all of it is quality, but even in the medium's earliest days composers were able to create some shockingly good tunes. Once I started following the game music community on a regular basis, I learned to appreciate the fact that even the simplest-sounding tracks on the most basic sound hardware are chock full of intricate details. In fact, I might argue that composing a quality game score in those early days took even more skill that it does now, since the limitations of the hardware forced musicians to have a deep understanding of music theory and get quite creative to make certain soundscapes work. Game music has become one of the aspects of the industry I appreciate most.




In the years I've been an active member on this site, I've talked to a number of people who don't normally give much thought to game music, let alone would think to listen to it outside of the gameplay itself. With that in mind, I'd like to share some of my favorite podcasts dedicated to promoting the vast world of game music. A few I've listened to in the past have ended production, but some of the hosts of those old shows have gone on to produce some interesting new off-shoots that retain the same feel while taking a different approach.

The Legacy Music Hour


The Legacy Music Hour is one of the older game music podcasts out there, having been created all the way back in 2010. It's been around so long that it inspired a number of other game podcasts that came after. Most of the episodes are about half an hour long, so it's an easy time commitment, and are basically playlists of music from primarily the 8- and 16-bit console generations. I like this one because in the playlist episodes they don't say the names of the songs or games they come from. That may not be to everyone's liking, but I find it to be a fun guessing game to see how many I can identify on my own. Every few episodes or so they do a longer one where the two hosts, sometimes joined by a guest, talk about the tracks and what they like about them. I'm less a fan of those longer episodes, primarily because they're not great speakers. It's not their voices necessarily (I'm not shallow enough to complain about something like that), it's more that they're not very ineteresting to listen to. They talk kind of slow and don't have much witty banter, in my opinion. But the musical content is vast and varied if you're in the mood for some retro songs and are familiar enough with that era to identify them.

OverClocked PodCast


I'm sure most of you are familiar with OCRemix and their fantastic community of musicians. Their accompanying podcast isn't as long or in-depth as it used to be due to the hosts having less time to devote to it (like our own site, it's run by passionate voluteers), but they've managed to maintain a semi-weekly cast where they highlight some of the best game music remixes to come out their community, as well as playlists of original game tracks requested by listeners. If you're interested in keeping up with OCRemix's ever-growing collection of work, this is a great source.

The VGMbassy


As I mentioned above, VGMbassy was spawned from the ashes of a couple other casts I used to frequent. While it was sad seeing those go, I've come to really enjoy this new show. VGMbassy typically includes its primary host and a guest; sometimes it's someone in the game music community, sometimes it's a former host of one of the aforementioned shuttered music podcasts, sometimes it's simply his 10-year old son. There's generally a theme involved, and they do fun things like mystery selections, where one host will pick a random track and the other has to try and guess what it is. With the regularly changing hosts (which the cast lovingly calls "VGMbassadors"), and themes, VGMbassy always manages to entertain without getting old.

VGMpire


VGMpire has a little more irregular schedule than the others on this list, but what it lacks in frequency it makes up for in content. About every month or so, it focuses on the music from a particular series. It has a bit of a Retronauts feel to it, as the hosts talk about the major games in the franchise and play a few music selections of each in between the conversations. It's a fun mix of retro discussion and music celebration, and it's pretty cool to see how the music of a franchise can change from game to game or from composer to composer.

Nitro Game Injection


NGI is another cast that focuses on game music remixes. Rather than just pulling songs from OCRemix though, the host pulls from a bunch of other sources. It's clear he's been following the game music community for a long time, as his knowledge of artists and their work is quite extensive. NGI episodes are the longest ones of any other cast on this list by a long shot; they typically clock in at between two and two and a half hours. It's a pretty big commitment to keep up on every episode, especially for someone who subscribes to a lot of podcasts, but I've never regretted putting in the time, and being lucky enough to be able to listen to podcasts at work makes it easier for me to get through it all. One of my favorite things about NGI is the sheer variety. Its selections run the gamut of musical genres; classical, EDM, metal, jazz, hip hop, and everything in between. I'm constantly surprised at the unique things I hear while listening.

**Disclosure: I'm a contributor to NGI's Patreon**

Rhythm and Pixels


I've been hearing about Rhythm and Pixels for a couple years now and would like to listen to it, but I've never been able to get it on my podcast app of choice. It's available on iTunes (or whatever they're calling it now), Spotify, and Stitcher, but that's all. I've heard good things, and even attended a game music panel they participated in at Retro World Expo, but I'm very happy with PocketCasts and don't want to switch to a new one for one cast. That said, I've recently discovered Ryhthm and Pixels has a YouTube channel that broadcasts old game music 24/7, so I'm looking forward to tuning into that whenever I want some random game music in the background while I'm doing housework, or you know, writing an article.

Are there any places you like to frequent when you're in the mood for a game music fix? Have you tried any of the casts above and want to share your thoughts? Let me know in the comments. And if you've never sought out game music when not playing an actual game before, I hope you'll give it a shot.


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Comments
 
Great idea for an article, Travis! I used to listen to Retrocore CGM years ago, but sadly, that podcast has been gone for around 6 years. I've tried a couple others in the years since, but they were short-lived, and I just haven't looked hard for anything new. I've enjoyed a few episodes of the Cain and Rinse sister podcast, Sound Of Play, but most of their episodes focus too heavily on newer games, or soundtracks I have no familiarity with. Legacy Music Hour sounds up my alley, because of the shorter episodes (my podcast list is long enough, that I don't always get through it each week), and because of the minimal chatter. I'll have to give it a try!
 
I haven't listened to a lot of vg music podcasts, but I do from time listen to vg music on youtube. While you can usually find OST's, some of the best arrangers I listen to are Stone McKnuckle and GaMetal (Jonny Atma).
 
@MetalFRO: I def hear you. If I wasn't allowed to have my earbuds at work there's absolutely no way I'd be able to keep up with all the podcasts I subscribe to. I hope you're able to enjoy LMH!

@EZ Racer: I know GaMetal! NGI plays his stuff, along with a lot of stuff from Dwelling of Duels.

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