A blast from the past: The Retro Game Music Bundle

Poll 50 gamers and you’ll probably get the same answer when you ask what the first thing that comes to mind is when we think about the games of old: the soundtracks.

Music from NES and SNES, traditional arcades, 486 PCs: what Buddy Holly and Elvis were to the Baby Boom and saturday morning cartoons were to generation X, so those systems’ soundtracks are to a sizable number of people today. Perhaps then it was inevitable that the fine folk behind the Indie Game Music Bundle charity campaigns would get around to stoking the flames of nostalgia. So it is that the guys behind the Indie Game Music Bundle series have put together the Retro Game Music Bundle.

The bundle’s proceeds go to the bundle’s creators and the contributing composers (support your local artist, especially in this economy), and features the likes of Jazz Jackrabbit and Tyrian. Fans of the music in Deus Ex¬†and Unreal may recognize some familiar riffs, as they’re produced by the same composer: Alexander Brandon. With only a few hours left on the clock before the bundle stops being available, we spoke to Humble Indie Bundle originator Chris Crawford about the the collection, about their passion for music, and the difficulty of putting something like this together.

Crawford and his crew have had four previous Indie Game Music Bundles so far, with soundtracks from current hot indie games like Minecraft, Super Meat Boy, Plants vs. Zombies, and others. The team also runs a music store with built-in bundling – Loudr.fm. “We’re passionate about bundles as a concept – we try to look at everything and ask ourselves “how can bundling make this better?” – and until we run out of answers to that question, we’ll keep on doing it.”

Continuing to do “it” includes talks Crawford had with Brandon to get his Tyrian soundtrack on a future Indie Game Music Bundle. Brandon subsequently mentioned that George “The Fat Man” Sanger – the composer behind Wing Commander, among many other scores – might want to get in on it, too, and with that, the Retro Game Music Bundle was born.

According to Crawford, the bundle’s creators sought after content specifically drawn from the great soundtracks of our childhood memories. Crawford himself was really passionate about getting something from the Myst series on there, and that passion paid off with the inclusion of the 20th Anniversary Remaster as part of this bundle. Other team members suggested works such as the soundtracks from 7th Guest, Jazz Jackrabbit, and Duke Nukem.

“A lot of this music represents the soundtracks of our childhoods – it’s the stuff that guided us to become gamers and to pursue music and composition in college.” That’s all well and good, but how has the public’s reception to the Retro bundle been thus far? According to Crawford, the public have been really supportive.

“Every time someone tweets their feels at listening to the music, it makes us feel like all the time we spent contacting composers and publishers, working on the site, designing custom album art for many of the soundtracks, and in some cases literally building the soundtracks themselves was all well-worth it.”

Crawford adds that in the case of some of the old soundtracks, particularly the Jazz Jackrabbit ones, the team is looking into the possibility of doing a few upgrades to the offering, which will be given to buyers at a later date.

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