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Video game musicVideo game music is the music pieces from computer and video games (the Magnavox Odyssey being the only video game console without sound capability, therefore being a silent console). Until the appearance in 1990–1992 of the Super NES, video game music often sounded characteristically "bleepy", although some home computer sound chips, like the Commodore 64's SID, partly ameliorated this. With its SONY SPC700 chip, the Super NES revolutionized video game music, spawning the modern age of this field of applied acoustics (or digital sound revolution), exemplified by games such as Final Fantasy IV, V, and VI, Chrono Trigger, Castlevania IV, and ActRaiser. Some NES games, which originally had bleepy soundtracks, have later been enhanced-remade for the Super NES, Sony Playstation, or some other modern game console to reflect the modern age of applied acoustics. With advanced technology in modern consoles, video game music has been much more sophisticated than on the Super NES alone. The Sega Genesis has sound capability similar to that of the classic Arcade games.
The Final Fantasy series is considered by many gamers and unofficial video game and music Web sites to have the best music of any modern video game series, especially the pieces that are part of the work of Nobuo Uematsu, and it has been widely recognized for its soundtracks. Japanese game companies routinely make CD soundtracks, called OSTs, for their games as they do with anime, and also make sheet music books for their games. Like anime soundtracks, these soundtracks and sheet music books are usually marketed exclusively in Japan. Therefore, interested non-Japanese gamers have to import the soundtracks and/or sheet music books through on- or offline firms specifically dedicated to video game soundtrack imports. There are plenty of such firms, mostly online. Those non-Japanese gamers import mainly Final Fantasy soundtracks. Some of those firms also offer anime soundtrack imports. Listening to video game music outside gaming, especially Final Fantasy music, along with anime music, is getting more and more popular among non-Japanese gamers. There may come a time when video game soundtracks will begin to be marketed outside Japan, most likely Final Fantasy music. Video game music is even performed by European orchestras, such as the London Symphony Orchestra. Final Fantasy music is enjoyed not only by gamers, but also by music lovers. The video game soundtrack market is growing and may extend to overseas markets.
Video game soundtracks are frequently "ripped" electronically through emulation in formats such as NSF, GBS, SID, HES, VGM, SPC, PSF, and PSF2, and can be played through e.g. Winamp in sample rates above 44.1 kilohertz. This is called upsampling (as opposed to downsampling). Modern video game music is traditionally done in classical orchestra or techno music genres. A number of video game critics are known to prefer digitized recordings of orchestrated music in games as opposed to synthesized music. An example of orchestrated classical music in video games can be heard in Super Smash Bros. Melee, with its score performed by the aptly named Orchestra Melee.
On November 17, 2003, Square Enix launched the Final Fantasy Radio on America Online. The radio station has initially featured complete tracks from Final Fantasy XI and Final Fantasy XI: Rise of Zilart and samplings from Final Fantasy VII thru X. Inclusion of video game music on America Online Radio network or on radio stations may contribute to the increase of realization of video games as a form of media or artwork.
There were also several concerts, playing exclusively video game music. Five "Orchestral Game Concerts" happened in Tokyo, Japan, from 1991 to 1996, and also a Final Fantasy Concert, in 2002.
Recently increased sophistication has been shown in the creation of video game music. Recently games for the PC such as Republic: The Revolution have utilised sophisticated systems known as incidental music to string together short phrases based on the action on screen and the player's most recent choices.
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