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Stone Age Gaming - Video Games on Vinyl

Stone Age Gaming - Video Games on Vinyl

Posted by Kris Randazzo on Sep 20th 2021

Video games and vinyl are both fairly collectible items. So what happens when you get video game music on vinyl? And what exactly is on these old Atari records? Let's find out!

For the episode of the WaveBack Podcast mentioned in the video: https://geekade.com/24750-2/

Background music by RoccoW: https://roccow.bandcamp.com/

Transcript of the video: 

Hi, everyone. Kris from Stone Age Gamer here, and welcome back to Stone Age Gaming. So if you've seen this show before, chances are you're noticing we're in a bit of a different atmosphere, a different backdrop. That's because we're not actually talking about any video games themselves today or even videogame accessories. We're talking about something video game related that I have developed a pretty decent fondness for, and that is video games on vinyl. That's right. I am not an audio file by any stretch of the imagination. I love video game music to death. It's most of what I listen to to be perfectly honest, but my family recently inherited a record player. This guy right here, and well, it always seemed kind of weird to me to think about. Like you'd see online advertisements for video game soundtracks on vinyl. Isn't the point of vinyl that whole studio quality recording thing? Right. There's a very specific sound that comes from vinyl that's different from listening to things digitally. But with old video game soundtracks, they're kind of an inherently digital medium. So what was the point of putting video game music on vinyl? And then I got one as a gift and it kind of just it was a really neat experience listening to it that way. And the packaging was amazing. And then I kind of found out that there's there's more to video game vinyl than just soundtracks. In fact, I got some pretty weird stuff that I'm going to listen to for the first time on this show. So let's take a look.

All right. This seems like a pretty good place to start because, well, this is the only actual video game soundtrack I officially own on vinyl. This is the soundtrack to Snake Rattle and Roll, which has always been one of my favorite. Any s soundtracks? It's by David Wise, one of my all time favorite video game music composers, and he's got a pretty fun story behind it. My my good friend, who also is a co-host on my video game music podcast, called WaveBack. He knew how much I loved the soundtrack and as soon as he found out that this existed on vinyl, he just bought it for me and sent it to me. And this was the first time I had ever listened to video game music on vinyl. 

So the first thing to notice about this is the packaging, which is really quite exceptional, like snake rattle and roll, didn't have a lot of like box art and whatnot on it. And you see the cover out here is totally unique and incredibly cool when you get the back of it here. Looks like this. You've got I think the blue one was roll, right. The this was rattle and this was roll. And again, he just got all these great little bits from the game, like all looking super cool. But now this actually has the the genius soundtrack on side one and then the mega drive soundtrack on side side too, because the game was released on the mega drive in sixteen bits and had a totally new soundtrack for some reason. That's all almost all new compositions. What's super cool is the packaging gets even better. Just check out the inside of this book. Look at this. It's this amazing, like just rendition of all the different stages of the game connected together and and the snakes jumping around doing their things. Your toilet seat. And there's Big Foot. And I think it's so cool looking and seeing such a kind of obscure video game that I love. Getting this kind of treatment is it's just insane. But it gets even better. 

Right. So as awesome as this is, then you get the actual sleep that it comes in. So you've got that's a that's a pivotal the things that you do in Snake River, all you have to do the snakes, you have to eat a little pebbles. And then on the back here, you've got this really cool story from David Wise about writing the the mega drive soundtrack and and a couple other fun little anecdotes. This is a really, really cool thing. And then, of course, you have the record itself. Now, when I was a kid, records were all black for the most part. I'll get back to that. But this one here, I was in no way prepared for the absolute awesomeness that is this record. Look at this thing. It's like a party. So there's your side A and there's your side B, and it's you can see it's clear it's got all these really cool paint splatters on it. It looks really awesome when it's spinning around and it just sounds really, really cool. It's I really don't know how to explain it. There's nothing I could possibly do in this video that can properly display how this sounds coming out of vinyl. But it's a really well mastered record, which is super extra interesting because it turned out and I had obviously had no idea before this was bought for me as a gift that somebody I know, somebody I went to school with, who was one of my closest friends that I lost touch with, actually mastered this record. It was a really fun story, reconnecting with him after all these years. And if you want to hear about the mastering process of video game vinyl and like how you make this work as. How you really engineer sound like this, we did an interview with him on the Way Back podcast, I'll throw a link to that into the description of this video. It was a really fascinating interview. I still don't really understand it, but he did a really good job of breaking it down. So I seemed like I understood it at the time. But I've already forgotten most of the details because it's well, he's a lot smarter than I am. 

OK, next, we have this. This is unlicenced as all heck, this was sent to me by, let's say, parties unknown as just an interesting thing. They had found out that I was getting interested in vinyl. I had recently acquired a vinyl collection and well, they sent me this. This is more or less the Super Mario Brothers soundtrack on vinyl, a square record. And now this as it's only one sided. There's the other side. There's nothing on it. This is where the whole soundtrack is. And then it came with this little guy right here. So you put this on your record player and it spins around and these will theoretically animate if you look at them. Now, I've never been very good at seeing things like Magic Eyes or whatever. So any time I've ever put this on my record, I haven't really been able to see it. But, you know, the sound quality is fine. It is a it is a very interesting piece is one of the more unique records I've ever seen in my life and. Well, yeah, there it is. The Super Mario Brothers soundtrack, unofficially on vinyl. 

OK, next up, I want to talk about this now, this is not actually a video game soundtrack. This is a chiptune record information chased by Bit Shifter. It's one of my favorite albums in any medium. It's like top ten for me, without a doubt. So the fact that this exists on vinyl is just kind of crazy to me because, I mean, it's there. I'm pretty sure it was done on LSDJ for Gameboy. So this is all Gameboy style chip tunes. It is a phenomenal record. It is such a good album and it just recently got put on vinyl and in such spectacular fashion. I mean, I would have bought this anyway. But the packaging for this is so incredibly cool because. All right, so this is this is what the album art looked like. No matter why I've had this thing digitally for ages. You bought a CD back in the day. This this is what it looked like. So when they made it, they made the slipcover in like pieces. So when you take it out, it looks like the sound waves. If you look in here and here and hear the sound waves are coming back and forth through the little dials and stuff there. How cool is that? I absolutely love it. 

So then you get this, which is also really neat to look at because, you know, there's this was the back of the CD, if I remember correctly. I only had this digitally. But then you get this and I've never seen this before. It's like, well, here's the rest of the machine or whatever it is. And here's this super garbled version do, which is really wild looking. And then you have the record itself, which is also incredibly cool. Look at this thing. It's clear blue. It's so cool. Look, and I love it. It's not super clear. It's clear enough to just kind of see through it. It's you got this little Gameboy cart looking thing in the middle there. It's this this this music is so good. I cannot possibly recommend listening to this enough. This is just it's the some of the most wonderful music I've ever heard. It's a pretty short album. I can get through it nice and quick. As you can see, this even has the extra track that was added on a rerelease a few years back, a time machine go. This is chasing it all the way down to information. Chase was pretty much the the original record and then this was added later. It kind of sounds like a nice little bonus track. It is a cool track. Don't get me wrong, I like that song. But really, the the tracks themselves from here to here really do kind of make a cohesive album. Information chase by bit shifter, no matter what medium you get it on, you got to listen to this record. It's incredibly good. 

OK, now we're going to take a quick little side trip into this. So after I inherited these records, my mom was going through her garage and she found all my old records from when I was a kid. So like this right here was one of the records I listened to the most. I was a huge Monkees fan when I was a kid. And, you know, it's the record itself. It's just it's scratched all hack and barely plays anymore, but it does still make noise. But the reason I'm showing this is because I wanted to show off what is still to this day the coolest looking record I've ever seen in my life. And that is this. When we were kids, my sister and I had this record and this was the exact one that we had. So I guess we still have it. It's The Lady and the Tramp soundtrack and that's the record. Like, that's not the artwork. That's the actual record. This is the coolest looking record I have ever seen. And I can't believe that there aren't more. I mean, I guess I don't know for sure because I'm not a big time vinyl collector, but I've I've picked up a handful of records since inheriting this record player and nothing has been like this. Or you've just got actual artwork on the record itself. It is so awesome. It's just you can tell in the ends it's clear plastic and then they just put a picture on the inside of it. And when we were kids, I wasn't even a huge fan of this movie or this soundtrack. It's not like I'm some some Die Hard Lady and the Tramp fan, but this soundtrack, my sister and I would put this on our little Fisher Price record player over and over again just to see it's been just to look at how what a cool physical piece this is because and records are just so darn cool. They're got to be one of my favorite forms of media that that's ever been created. They're just they're just the coolest darn things. 

And that brings us last but not least to probably the most fascinating bits, these I was in a retro video game store a long time ago. Goodness, this must have been like 10, 15 years ago. I didn't own a record player or anything like that, but I saw these sitting on a shelf and I was utterly fascinated by what in the world this could possibly be. It's not the soundtrack. There's no soundtrack to these Atari 2600 games. But any any excuse to have this artwork this large, like I mean, these are just some of my favorite video game artwork just from my favorite artwork, period. I love this this era of gaming. And these things are so cool looking. So just having them this large, it was was worth the price of admission as is. But then I just trying to figure out what exactly were on these things like. So on the back of both of them, you've got missile command, which is kind of funny because I mean, why not asteroids and Ja's revenge, whatever missile command. Sure, why not? So it's his songs included Atari theme asteroids and. Now I have I have never listen to these. Even after getting my record player, I've never actually gotten around to listening to these things. 

So after I'm done talking about these, we're going to go listen to them for the very first time. But from what I've come to understand, these actually have like a reading of the story of these games on there. So, you know, here we are deep in outer space. In the Razack solar system lives a race of super beings, half man, half fly, known as Ja's when one of their planets is destroyed. The Ja's vow to seek revenge against their mortal enemy, the evil cortile, fly alongside the R Warriors as they attack their enemy in thrilling space battle. Take off for excitement with Atari's Ya's revenge. So like I already knew, Ja's revenge had a cool story because that was kind of like the thing came with a little comic book and stuff like that. But then you had the asteroids. What's what's the story for asteroids? While on a routine mission, the cosmic space patrol ship Intrepid is trapped in a time warp and has rocketed 600 years into the past. Oh, no. It's up to Captain Jim Stanton and his computer sidekick Chip moreIn to find their way back to safety blastoff for adventure with Atari's asteroids. So this was kid stuff records. I remember. I have I still have upstairs. My mom found those to the like the record book, things like scuffing the tugboat, little golden book, things that were read out loud. And you would read along with the records like that was also kid stuff. I think I have a Transformers one up there to send some sort of Optimus Prime thing. So and these are copyright 1982. These are utterly fascinating to me and I think it's time to finally find out what the heck is on these things. So let's go give them a listen. All right. So first up, let's give a listen to Ja's revenge. So this is the the actual record itself we just looked at. So the first track is Atari theme by John Bradin. It says, And then we've got Ja's revenge. And I think it's just going to tell us the story. So let's give it a whirl here. Let's throw it on and see what it sounds like. Here we go. Wow. 

Well, I got to say, this is fascinating so far, so I should definitely give this a full listen just to see what it sounds like. But I'm curious to see what what is asteroids actually like? Let's give that one a whirl. OK, so I've got the asteroids record out here and it looks like we've got the Atari theme again. Let's see if it's the same one. I mean, I kind of feel like it's got to be right. Let's let's see. Oh, yeah, yeah, no, no, getting around that, that's the same one. So what does the story sound like on this one? 

You know, I noticed this in the last one to where the music in the background all seems to be coming out of a Casio keyboard. And I totally had the Casio keyboard that makes that rhythm. And the rhythm that was in the revenge was movies. That's amazing. I like with you 

OK, last but not least, let's give this thing a spin. Now, like we said before, I've never been very good at seeing these kinds of optical illusions and well, this is a weird looking record since it's square. But if we do this right, we should be able to look somewhere and see these things animate. So let's let's see what happens when we give it a spin. I'll leave it open. I guess I can kind of see that you fix your eye on one specific spot, you can kind of see the illusion like I'm getting it out of the mario, huh? 

So now, obviously, like I said before, I was I have a small collection of video game stuff on vinyl, even a few more things on the way I ordered. But by the time we record this, I had ordered the ninja Gaiden ones on vinyl, and I'm really excited to get those in and hear what those sound like. But there's a ton of video game vinyl out there and a lot of it's been put together with a lot of love and reverence for the source material. And, you know, there's a lot of weird stuff out there. I mean, were these the only two that were like this? I don't know. But I'd love to see if there's any more of that kind of stuff out there and more stories on records and things like that, because, well, vinyl is the music medium that I grew up with. And it's really fun to kind of get back into it now. So that about wraps it up. 

Thank you very much for watching, everyone. If you liked what you saw, please comment like and subscribe. Please sound off in the comments or send us messages. Anything you know about video game vinyl. Are there any video game soundtracks that you own on vinyl vinyl that have like a really cool packaging or anything like that or any other old records related to to video game music? I mean, do you have Pacman fever on vinyl? I should probably track that one down. That sounds pretty fun. Thanks again for watching, everybody. On behalf of all of us here at Stone Age Gamer keep playing games.