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We Owe Much of EDM’s Progression to Video Games

You may not know it, some some of the oldest video games had bangers. Seriously, look back on some of your old SEGA games. Besides the fact Michael Jackson helped compose the music for Sonic 3, video games are notably one of the first experiments in electronic music.

The founding age of video games also brought with it new music. Without music, the games may have seemed dull and boring. Some groundbreaking technology was pioneered at that time, offering developers new ways to compose sounds. The advances in videos games happened alongside the progression in dance music, back in the 80s and 90s.

Back then DJs were really changing the way we made music. At the same time, some of the first video games were coming into their own. Video games began to develop their own standards and serve as a starting point for the complex games we see today. Looking back, it’s easy to see how the two were connected.

Early computers were a new beginning for music

One of the original home computers called the Commodore 64 featured an innovative sound interface device (SID) chip inside it. This piece of technology helped reinvent the music being produced. Shortly after, a 32 bit computer called the Amiga helped producers with new tools to create sounds.

This was back when the equipment to make and mix music was expensive. Comparatively, the Amiga was a single unit that housed basic components producers could use. It was a cost effective solution to music production, with the ability to play video games.

The primitive computer also featured a software called OctaMED. It allowed for eight or more virtual channels in software mixing, and brought the common video game computer into thousands of night clubs. This brought an explosion of new genres by unleashing the power to produce. Some Justice is just one example of music mized on the Amiga.


Technology allowed for new genres to explode

As technology evolved, it gave way to new territory for computer generated music. Old PlayStation games like Wip3out featured an undeniably trance-like soundtrack, no doubt to improve intensity. The old school aircraft racer may have been it’s player’s first EDM experience, pairing so well with primordial techno music.


The Nintendo 64 had it’s own games featuring trance music. For example, a lesser known but beloved racing game titled Extreme-G offered background music reminiscent of early raves. 64-bit gaming and music capabilities led to a more innovative sound production than before, meaning music could evolve.


Much of these games made intrepid exploration into the world of music production. Expeditions that would pave the way for electronic music producing for decades to come. The two industries of music and video games are deeply involved in ways that stretch far back, and if you look close enough, you might see the roots of EDM in retro games everywhere.

What was your favorite old video game soundtrack? Do you remember old school consoles like the SEGA Genesis or the Super Nintendo? Let us know on Twitter, @DanceMusicNW!

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