The music market, especially as it pertains to video games, is quite a niche one. This means that getting a hold of video game music, in official capacity, has long been a difficult endeavor. Game music albums have been the products of specialty shops and direct publisher storefronts, or gamers have had to rely on getting albums imported from overseas. Platforms like iTunes have made acquiring game music much more trivial, and Spotify, while an option, has a limited selection of on-demand music streaming.
Consequently, one space that has seen a lot of growth in recent years has been limited edition vinyl prints. Since game music is a niche, people willing to spend money on it are willing to empty their wallets for said music in special, exclusive formats. Here are just a few examples of great vinyl releases, some of them unfortunately out of print, but totally worth tracking down secondhand.
Cuphead Deluxe Edition
Iam8bit is one of the biggest names in video game vinyl selling, and the Cuphead Deluxe Edition soundtrack is a good example of why. The craftmanship on this set is amazing, from the 1930s-styled sleeves, to the gold embossing, to the interior notes and designs that all fit together aesthetically. A new, less expensive edition with a similar theme is on the way, but this initial album set is of a much more lavish quality, and perhaps still worth the inflated price on the secondhand market.
This one is a bit more straightforward. It’s the Banjo-Kazooie soundtrack on vinyl, one of the early Nintendo 64 soundtracks that really put Grant Kirkhope on the map. I’m mostly including it here because of that amazing cover art by Toronto artist Jacub Gagnon. It’s a great example of why video game vinyl is so popular – not only do you get the music you want, but you typically get something that goes all out in terms of display potential. There’s usually unique art and other bonuses that make going the extra mile worth it.
We already know that the Castlevania soundtrack series is some of the best video game music of all time. But Mondo, an art collective that is so good it regularly partners with official, prestige movie releases and even the high-end Alamo Drafthouse movie theater chain, has a whole line of vinyls. The art on these things is incredible, and you can even choose different designs for the records. Why buy a poster when you can get something that looks awesome and serves a second, just as cool function as well?
Namco Museum – Greatest Hits
Think Geek is in on this business as well. One of the most impressive offerings from Think Geek in the music space is this collection of classic Namco Museum sounds and music. Even though some of these games, like Dig Dug, barely have music, the sounds are nonetheless iconic and are represented here in an appropriately museum-like fashion. For example, the set includes a collection of inner sleeves that look like the arcade screens for each game represented in the set.
Of course, Undertale has a vinyl soundtrack available. One of the biggest phenomenons in indie games also happens to have some of the best music in contemporary video gaming, with very little competition able to stand up to it. Toby Fox’s master work comprises over 100 tracks, so the soundtrack is actually split into two vinyl records, one representing the “pacifist” run and the other, the “genocide” run. Naturally, the set also includes some unique art featuring beloved Undertale characters, and even an adorable word search.
These are but a few examples that should show just how much care and effort goes into releasing video game soundtracks in vinyl form. Chances are if there’s a modern game you love or a retro classic you’ll never forget the tunes from, you can get a hold of it in vinyl form. Even if you don’t have a record player, there’s no denying how these albums are the ultimate expression of fandom in gaming. You can shelf them, mount them on your walls, and of course play them if you have the equipment.
Have a favorite we didn’t mention in our brief list? Let us know which one and why!