Favorite Video Game Composers

Magma

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We all like video game music right? How about we give some recognition to the people behind some of these tunes. I remember this starting as a profile commment on wariofer's profile and thought it would make for a great thread though I didn't remember it until last night. So, I'll begin and while there isn't any format I want you guys to follow please don't go crazy with posting videos.

Hideki Abe-
The main composer of the Puyo series since Sonic Team took it over. There isn't a whole lot I can say about his music except that it's really diverse and fits the series to the T and is just really pleasant to listen to all around.
Puyo Puyo Fever- It's the Teacher's Lesson
Puyo Puyo Fever 2 - Rising Comet!
Puyo Puyo! 15th Anniversary - Advent of Primp! Santa-Sama

Naofumi Hataya-
A man who's done quite a lot of work for Sega and is arguably most well known for contributing to Sonic CD.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2(8-bit)- Sky High Zone
Sonic the Hedgehog CD - Palmtree Panic Good Future
Sonic Lost World - Sugar Lane

Kozue Ishikawa-
A rather obscure composer. However, she did most of the music for Wario Land 2 and 3 so she definitely deserves recognition. She also did some music for the soon to be released for the first time Star Fox 2.
Wario Land 2- SS Teacup
Wario Land 3 - Out of the Woods(Day)
Star Fox 2 - Title

Hideki Naganuma-
Very well known for his distinct style that became well known through the Jet Set Radio series. He's also dabbled in the Sonic series and what I wouldn't give for him to do another full video game soundtrack.
Jet Set Radio - Let Mom Sleep
Sonic Rush - Back 2 Back
Hover: Revolt of Gamers - HEAVEN★UP

Masafumi Ogata-
Another Sega man who has done a lot of work alongside Naofumi Hataya. They both work well together though I admittedly have a tough time telling their work apart sometimes.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (8-bit) - Green Hills Zone
Sonic the Hedgehog CD - Special Stage
Ristar - Crying World

Motoi Sakuraba-
Camelot's go-to composer it seems. He's done consistently good work though he hasn't really changed his style in a long time and so a lot of his newer work sounds kind of dated. Still enjoy his work overall.
Mario Golf- Intro(NTSC)
Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour - Lakitu Valley
Mario Power Tennis - Wario Factory Ring Shot/Item battle

Masafumi Takada-
An excellent composer with a rather unusual style who has lent himself to various equally unusual games. The Danganronpa series I am particularly fond of and his music is just perfection for it. (Don't read the comments for the Danganronpa videos)
No More Heroes - Pleather for Breakfast
Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc - Box 15
Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair - Beautiful Ruin (Summer Salt)

Ryoji Yoshitomi-
Another big name behind the Wario music. Also did the music for Metroid II which I am especially fond of.
Metroid II: Return of Samus - Surface of SR388
Super Mario Land 3 - Stage Theme I
Wario Land 4 - Crescent Moon Village

ZUN-
The one man band behind the ultra popular Touhou Project series of shmups/bullet hells. He mostly does music for his own games which are almost all soundtracks I enjoy as a whole. His music is pretty diverse but recognizable.
The Highly Responsive to Prayers - Strange Oriental Discourse
Embodiment of Scarlet Devil - Septette for the Dead Princess
Undefined Fantastic Object - UFO Romance in the Sky

What a post. So what about everyone else? Your posts don't have to be as extensive as mine.


Also I challenge @JS Shantae to name someone other than Jake Kaufman S;D(though you can still bring him up)
 

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For me my favorite would absolutely have to be Yoko Shimomura.

Unfortunately I'm not as familiar with her non-Mario RPG works as I'd like to be (aside from some Kingdom Hearts stuff), but that woman really knows how to make a soundrack that goes the entire spectrum of being bouncy and fun, epic or even straight up ominious and yet always keep the certain ''Mario'' feeling to it, for the lack of a better term.

Here's one favorite of mine, from all the Mario RPGs she composed for:
Super Mario RPG: Goodbye Geno
Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga: Fawful, Cackletta
Mario & Luigi Partners in Time: Toad Town Ruins
Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story: Short Break in Toad Town
Mario & Luigi: Dream Team: Adventure's End
Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam: Mount Brr
 

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being a fucking hipster, I'll post western artists that are'nt david wise or grant kirkhope


Nathan McCree

Composer for Core Design. Best-known for making the soundtrack to Tomb Raider 1 to 3. Has just successfully crowdfunded an orchestra recording for the Tomb Raider soundtrack.

Blam! Machine Head - Geophorea
Blam! Machine Head - Ultra VCF
Soul Star
Tomb Raider

Tim Wright

aka cOld stOrage. Composer for Psygnosis. Best known for composing the original tracks for the PS1 release of Wipeout.

Wipeout - Messij
Colony Wars
Wipeout Pure - Onyx
Krazy Ivan - Grunge Prayer



Martin Iveson

Composer for Core Design. Left videogames after Core Design's demise and now post music under the name "Atjazz"

Thunderstrike - Mission Selection
Fighting Foce - Fianl Boss
Fighting Force - Car Park
Thunderstrike 2 - Arms Running



Tom Salta

AKA: Atlas Pug. For a while was the main composer of Ubisoft's "Tom Clancy" games. Now does music for Halo spinoffs.

Ghost Recon Future Solider - Nemesis
HAWX - Ready Aurora
GRAW
 
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Two of the biggest composers for my childhood would have to have been both David Wise and Grant Kirkhope on their works not only for the DKC series but other rare titles as well as for their latest game Yooka-Laylee being made by playtonic has a bunch of rareware devs as well as employees.

Grant Kirkhope
Banjo-Tooie - Witchyworld - Haunted Zone
Donkey Kong 64 - Gloomy Galleon
Killer Instinct 2/Gold - Fulgore

David Wise
Marble Madness - Level 2 theme
Battletoads - Title theme
Donkey Kong Country 2 - Hot Head Bop

Next up is a composer I definitely admire for whom he mostly filled my head with a ton of metal and heavy metal inspired music in the Guilty Gear franchise. He even designed and made storyboards of these characters as well.

Daisuke Ishiwatari
Guilty Gear Isuka - A.B.A's theme
Dr.Baldhead's theme/Suspicious Cook - Guilty Gear
Still in the dark - Guilty Gear X2

Really enjoyed Shoji Meguro's work on the P3 soundtrack as well as other games he has worked on in the SMT series as a whole.

Shoji Meguro
Persona 3 - Afternoon Break
Persona 4 - your affection
SMT Nocturne - Beezlebub theme
 

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We all like video game music right? How about we give some recognition to the people behind some of these tunes. I remember this starting as a profile commment on wariofer's profile and thought it would make for a great thread though I didn't remember it until last night. So, I'll begin and while there isn't any format I want you guys to follow please don't go crazy with posting videos.

Hideki Abe-
The main composer of the Puyo series since Sonic Team took it over. There isn't a whole lot I can say about his music except that it's really diverse and fits the series to the T and is just really pleasant to listen to all around.
Puyo Puyo Fever- It's the Teacher's Lesson
Puyo Puyo Fever 2 - Rising Comet!
Puyo Puyo! 15th Anniversary - Advent of Primp! Santa-Sama

Naofumi Hataya-
A man who's done quite a lot of work for Sega and is arguably most well known for contributing to Sonic CD.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2(8-bit)- Sky High Zone
Sonic the Hedgehog CD - Palmtree Panic Good Future
Sonic Lost World - Sugar Lane

Kozue Ishikawa-
A rather obscure composer. However, she did most of the music for Wario Land 2 and 3 so she definitely deserves recognition. She also did some music for the soon to be released for the first time Star Fox 2.
Wario Land 2- SS Teacup
Wario Land 3 - Out of the Woods(Day)
Star Fox 2 - Title

Hideki Naganuma-
Very well known for his distinct style that became well known through the Jet Set Radio series. He's also dabbled in the Sonic series and what I wouldn't give for him to do another full video game soundtrack.
Jet Set Radio - Let Mom Sleep
Sonic Rush - Back 2 Back
Hover: Revolt of Gamers - HEAVEN★UP

Masafumi Ogata-
Another Sega man who has done a lot of work alongside Naofumi Hataya. They both work well together though I admittedly have a tough time telling their work apart sometimes.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (8-bit) - Green Hills Zone
Sonic the Hedgehog CD - Special Stage
Ristar - Crying World

Motoi Sakuraba-
Camelot's go-to composer it seems. He's done consistently good work though he hasn't really changed his style in a long time and so a lot of his newer work sounds kind of dated. Still enjoy his work overall.
Mario Golf- Intro(NTSC)
Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour - Lakitu Valley
Mario Power Tennis - Wario Factory Ring Shot/Item battle

Masafumi Takada-
An excellent composer with a rather unusual style who has lent himself to various equally unusual games. The Danganronpa series I am particularly fond of and his music is just perfection for it. (Don't read the comments for the Danganronpa videos)
No More Heroes - Pleather for Breakfast
Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc - Box 15
Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair - Beautiful Ruin (Summer Salt)

Ryoji Yoshitomi-
Another big name behind the Wario music. Also did the music for Metroid II which I am especially fond of.
Metroid II: Return of Samus - Surface of SR388
Super Mario Land 3 - Stage Theme I
Wario Land 4 - Crescent Moon Village

ZUN-
The one man band behind the ultra popular Touhou Project series of shmups/bullet hells. He mostly does music for his own games which are almost all soundtracks I enjoy as a whole. His music is pretty diverse but recognizable.
The Highly Responsive to Prayers - Strange Oriental Discourse
Embodiment of Scarlet Devil - Septette for the Dead Princess
Undefined Fantastic Object - UFO Romance in the Sky

What a post. So what about everyone else? Your posts don't have to be as extensive as mine.


Also I challenge @JS Shantae to name someone other than Jake Kaufman S;D(though you can still bring him up)
Hahaha you know me too well

Well, obviously, Kaufman's a genius, but there are a few others that come up when I think of excellent video game composers..
of course, the Rare people (Wise, Kirkhope, Fischer) are all so talented and have made some memorable tunes for the ages.

....but really though, the people I think of immediately are the amazing composers employed by Square(Enix), especially during the company's golden era-- people like Yasunori Mitsuda (Chrono Trigger) Yoko Shimomura (Super Mario RPG) and of course the legendary Nobuo Uematsu (Final Fantasy). Those games were masterpieces in so many ways, and one of those was the music. I regularly listen to pieces by Uematsu and Mitsuda....the pieces are beautiful, and perfect and timeless...they were(are) so damn good that they regularly have symphonic concerts playing them with full orchestra, and it's breathtaking (Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy).
These are people that I rank among my favorite composers of all time, not just video game stuff. Just to put this in perspective a little, I have a degree in music composition (which I don't really talk about here), and thus have studied my fair share of composers...I'd like to believe I know my shit, lol!
 
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Tiger21820

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Definitely Koji Kondo!

He composed the Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda (plus more) music!

I would say that Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island is one of his best moments, especially the athletic (The levels where there is no ground and you have to keep jumping for some reason) and credits music!
 

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Of course I'll second Kozue Ishikawa, Yoko Shimomura, David Wise and Koji Kondo. Those have all been mentioned.

There are some legendary chiptune artists that have not been mentioned yet, though!
How about... Tim Follin & Geoff Follin. Plok's on their names, for example.
Patrick Phelan. He did the Lotus soundtracks, among other works. I know Lotus III best, and the Amiga and Atari ST versions are probably both the best they could possibly be.
And of course Chris Hülsbeck. He's done a lot as well, but most popular is probably the soundtrack to The Great Giana Sisters.
 

Angler of Lake Asparagus

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I couldn't possibly remember all of them, but here are some of my all-time favourites off the top of my head (in no particular rank/order)...

Infogrames/New Frontier/Bit Managers
Alberto Jose Gonzalez
Manfred Linzner

Software Creations
Tim Follin
Geoff Follin
Peter Clarke

Interplay Productions
Brian Luzietti
Charles Deenan
The Fatman (George Sanger)
Richard Band
Rick Jackson
Matt Furniss

Nintendo R&D1
Ryoji Yoshitomi
Kazumi Totaka
Kozue Ishikawa
Minako Hamano
Kenji Yamamoto
Hip Tanaka
Toru Osada

SEGA Enterprises
Tamayo Kawamoto
Shinichi Sakamoto
Kazuhiko Nagai
Sachio Ogawa
Chikako Kamatan
Howard Drossin
Spencer Nilsen
Fumito Tamayama
Masanori Hikichi
Masayuki Nagao
Hiroshi Kubota

And of course...

"Michael Jackson!!"



Treasure Corp.
Norio Hanzawa
Katsuhiko Suzuki
Aki Hata

Accolade
Matt Berardo
Rudy Helm
Chip Harris

OCEAN Software
Jonathan Dunn
Keith Tinman
Matthew Cannon
Dean Evans
Barry Leitch

RARE Ltd.
Graeme Norgate
Eveline Fischer
Dave Wise
Grant Kirkhope
 
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Just a Wario Fan

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I don't know many video game music composers, but of those I know these are my favourites:
  • Jake Kaufman (Just ask JS Shantae)
  • Koji Kondo: He provided us with some of the most well-known video game music that is still famous today.
  • David Wise, and
  • Eveline Fisher for their involvement in the Donkey Kong Country games.
 

Magma

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Speaking of Tim Follin I find it rather sad and somewhat laughable that most of his music was used in meh to pretty bad games for the most part.
 

Angler of Lake Asparagus

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Speaking of Tim Follin I find it rather sad and somewhat laughable that most of his music was used in meh to pretty bad games for the most part.


This is a very common misconception today with Follin's work. It's true that he and Geoff did soundtracks for many so-so/below-average titles, but they also composed for many titles that were praised for their time and even won awards in some cases. Three of the biggest/most groundbreaking examples I can think of are The Sentinel for ZX Spectrum (which was a truly unbelievable feat at the time), along with the amazing home computer conversions of Bubble Bobble and Bionic Commando.


This was all the work of Software Creations (the Follin brothers' stable company) and they were in the exact same boat as Rare and Ocean. All three were highly talented British software houses of the 80's, but sadly, they had no choice but to make the brunt of their living juggling countless licensed (work-for-hire) titles at one time, and they didn't have the manpower to maintain a consistent quality.
As the systems got more and more advanced with the NES and SNES, it became more difficult to keep up. This is why you'll see a great title from them here, a rubbishy title there... Rare was the lucky one. They got a very lucky break by partnering with Nintendo, so they could finally stop developing stinkers like Beetlejuice for the NES. During the NES days, Rare's main goal was to literally develop as many titles as possible so they could afford the types of technologies they eventually used in DK Country.

All these companies had their stinkers which contrasted with their better/original titles. You look back on some of the amazing technical feats those clever wizards at Ocean, Rare/Ultimate, and Software Creations made under ridiculous limitations. That's why they've always inspired me. The sad fact is, that was the only way to earn a crust back then - doing one licensed title after another. It definitely hurt their reputations, especially today with the advent of Youtube and the loss of this knowledge.

EDIT: Solstice for NES genuinely impressed the folks at Nintendo of Japan, and was the title that introduced me to Software Creations and the Follin brothers work as a lad. This little documentary is a piece for the archives of a bygone era...

 
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Glowsquid

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EDIT: Solstice for NES genuinely impressed the folks at Nintendo of Japan, and was the title that introduced me to Software Creations and the Follin brothers work as a lad. This little documentary is a piece for the archives of a bygone era...
Wasn't there an anecdote about how Miyamoto heard the music of Plok and couldn't believe it was coming out of the SNES? Or was that apocryphal.
 

Angler of Lake Asparagus

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Wasn't there an anecdote about how Miyamoto heard the music of Plok and couldn't believe it was coming out of the SNES? Or was that apocryphal.
Yeah, there's quite a few anecdotes involving Plok and Miyamoto. Nintendo visited Software Creations in Manchester and saw some of their work. Some time afterwards the CEO went on a business trip to Japan, and while visiting, Miyamoto saw the concept designs for Plok, and expressed a strong interest in helping make the game.
Apparently he scribbled down the two best platforming franchises in the world on a piece of paper... "#1 Mario" and "#2 Sonic". He then told Software Creations that with his help, he could make Plok number two on the list (better than Sonic, but not better than Mario).
While he didn't end up working on Plok, there are striking contrasts between Plok and the later game, Yoshi's Island, mainly in the character transformations/vehicle races, as well as the whole fabric/material aesthetic of the game world (which Nintendo are still using today in games like Wooly World).

After Plok was finished, Miyamoto apparently couldn't believe the SNES was capable of the sound the game was producing, and jokingly said the company must have hacked, sabotaged or meddled with their hardware somehow.
Apparently Plok is/was one of Miyamoto's favourite games.

This reaction to the sound may have been why Nintendo added Software Creations to their N64 "Dream Team". Apparently they were given a role in the console's audio department.

Edit: Some of this comes from interviews with former employees, such as a big spread in Retro Gamer magazine.
 

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This reaction to the sound may have been why Nintendo added Software Creations to their N64 "Dream Team". Apparently they were given a role in the console's audio department.

Source: some of this comes from interviews with former employees, such as a big spread in Retro Gamer magazine.
They were also apparently involved in doing the original version of Mario Artist Paint Studios but internal conflicts made EAD take it over. The final game still has a lot of western names in the credits.

Your post above about the company was quite enlightening. I'm more familiar with their NES and SNES productions and had no idea they did Sentinel.
 

Metal

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Speaking of more good tracks from the NES era, I believe the later songs from Megaman 6 were really well done.
The composer herself has done a wide range of things, that being said she's Yuko Takehara.

Aside from Megaman 6 she's even done music for the Jojo playstation game even worked on things from Street Fighter Alpha. Both of these series have had exceptionally great music.

HOTF - Alessi theme
Megaman 6 - Mr. X stage theme
Aladdin SNES
 

Magma

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@Angler of Lake Asparagus perhaps it was a bit too rash of me to say so since I will admit I'm not at all familiar with his pre-NES work. Aside from Plok a lot of his work consisted of LJN published games and other licensed games. I mean I know Plok and Solstice are pretty highly regarded but it never seemed like he was able to do another game where the game was befitting of his music.
 

Angler of Lake Asparagus

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@Angler of Lake Asparagus perhaps it was a bit too rash of me to say so since I will admit I'm not at all familiar with his pre-NES work. Aside from Plok a lot of his work consisted of LJN published games and other licensed games. I mean I know Plok and Solstice are pretty highly regarded but it never seemed like he was able to do another game where the game was befitting of his music.
Yeah, sadly the opportunities became more and more scarce to work on original titles.

A few years back I did a university project on the history of the company, and during my research, I was lucky enough to speak with many former employees including Follin, and even the company founder/CEO, Richard Kay, which was an amazing learning experience. They all had great memories of Tim, as he was a really pleasant and wacky guy to work with. He'd sometimes write music in bed at home, or visit real-world locations for a game (he visited a train station to record some of the audio for Thomas the Tank Engine on SNES). And of course, Interplay hired some help from the company for Rock N Roll Racing, and got Tim to belt out some classic rock tunes for the SNES version.
 
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Magma

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Time to breathe some new life into this thread since it's been a long time and maybe we have some new things we'd like to say.

Tee Lopes-
This guy is a bit more of an up and comer to me as I believe he's only really done music for one game but he's definitely someone I'd say to look out for. He mostly did remixes of Sonic themes as a hobby but has proven he can make great original music when he took on the role of the main composer for Sonic Mania.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2(8-bit)- Sky High Zone (remix)
Sonic Mania- Lava Reef, Act 2
Sonic Mania- Mirage Saloon Zone, Act 1(Knuckles)

Alberto Jose Gonzalez-
A somewhat lesser known composer who has done music for a lot of really different games. I am not sure of the quality of the games themselves but his music is always top notch.
The Smurfs- Act 2 and 8
Turok 2(Game Boy)- Jungle Stage
Lucky Luke (Game Boy)- Train
SANS
 

Glowsquid

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