Video Game Music
When I’m working, I like listening to repetitive instrumental music to minimize distraction. Video game music works really well for this since it’s designed to be background music that can be looped over and over. Thankfully there are lots of video game music fans that have uploaded soundtracks to YouTube that you can easily pull up and listen to. Also, Red Bull Music Academy did a great documentary series called Diggin’ in the Carts which can be found on YouTube that I highly recommend.
I figured I’d share how I listen as well as some of my favorite music.
VGMPlay is a nice command line player that
emulates the sound chips used by consoles and arcade hardware. It uses
files which contain samples and instructions to the sound hardware emulated by
VGMPlay. The files are nice and small: my entire library is only about 160MB.
VGMPlay isn’t terribly well documented, but you can find the default
you copy into the same directory as
vgmplay and alter to your taste. To
increase the number of loops per song, change
MaxLoops in the
.ini to a higher
hexadecimal value. It defaults to
0x02 (or two loops), I pump that up to
which causes the desired amount of repetition.
Places to get music files
- VGMRIPS for arcade games. Some console stuff, but mostly NES.
- Project2612 for Genesis/Mega Drive music.
- SMS Power for Sega Master System.
Some personal favorites
I included YouTube links as an easy way to listen. The VGMPlay links typically
.m3u playlist that you can give to
vgmplay to hear the whole
- Battle Garegga - Arcade - YouTube / vgmplay
- Cave Story - PC/Various - YouTube
- Cho Ren Sha 68k - Sharp x68000/PC - YouTube
- Darius - Arcade - YouTube / vgmplay
- Fantasy Zone II - Arcade - YouTube / vgmplay
- Gimmick! - NES/Famicom - YouTube / vgmplay
- Lagrange Point - NES/Famicom - YouTube / vgmplay
- M.U.S.H.A. - Genesis/Mega Drive - YouTube / vgmplay
- Phantasy Star - SMS FM version - YouTube / vgmplay
- Raiden Fighters 2 - Arcade - YouTube / vgmplay
- Recca - NES/Famicom - YouTube / vgmplay
- Revenge of Shinobi - Genesis/Mega Drive - YouTube / vgmplay
- Ridge Racer - Arcade/PSX - YouTube / vgmplay
- Street Fighter II - Arcade - YouTube / vgmplay
- Streets of Rage 2 - Genesis/Mega Drive - YouTube / vgmplay
- Strider - Arcade - YouTube / vgmplay
I keep this script in the Dropbox folder with all my music files, it will
continually pick a random
#!/bin/bash OIFS="$IFS" IFS=$'\n' for i in `find . -name "*.m3u" | gshuf`; do vgmplay $i echo "Press q to exit or any key to continue" # Timeout after 3 seconds to keep the party rolling read -n 1 -t 3 input if [[ $input = "q" ]] || [[ $input = "Q" ]] then exit 1 fi done IFS="$OIFS"