Sunday, August 1, 2010

Survey: VGTropes!

Those of you who know me probably know that I've always been fascinated with music in video games. The idea of video game music, and how it reinforces, adds to, or transcends the actual level elements intrigues me in a way that pop music and movie music simply can't hold a candle to. One element of video game music that has always been of particular interest to me is the idea of musical "mottos," or the possible existence of certain musical elements that predispose themselves toward a certain type of level, such as a "fire" level or an "ice" level. I feel that such knowledge might be an asset to me as an aspiring composer, but more than anything I'm really just curious.

Something (musically) in common here? :P

Essentially, the goal of this survey is to see whether people identify with any musical elements that might lend themselves to a specific type of level. As such, I've collected a wide variety of tracks from a specific video game universe, each of which fits neatly within one of five different level clichés (at least within platformers). The survey requires you to submit your best guess at which type of level the music is taken from, along with a reason for the choice. The choices include "Tropical," "Fire," "Water," "Ice/Snow," and "Space/Tech."

A couple points of order before I link to the survey:

1. This is designed to hopefully be pretty fun. For those of you who like online quizzes and/or sites like Sporcle, this should be right up your alley.

2. A few tracks in there are intentionally misleading, and those are the ones I expect people to miss most. For example, one "ice" level might in fact be an "ice factory" level, but nonetheless I think enough "ice" characteristics are present to include under that cliché.

3. I've taken these tracks from a variety of games, from old 8-bit handhelds to current-gen systems. What I'm trying to say is, try not to let JUST the synth sounds determine your answer.

4. The reason why you identified a specific level cliché is just as important as the answer; please try to be as detailed as possible with your response, no matter if it's something general (e.g. "a majestic feel") or something very specific (e.g. "tinkly synths at the beginning"). The more detailed your answer is, the better I'll be able to identify the trends. Also, though you needn't listen to each piece in its entirety, some of the characteristic qualities may not reveal themselves until a little into the track.


6. If enough people are interested, I'll report the results in a future blog post. If you're really dying to know the answer, comment here or something and I'll send you a private message with the answers. XD

With no further ado, here are the survey links. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to integrate all the media into the survey, so you'll have to toggle between the survey window and this blog post to complete it. It might be a wee bit time-intensive, but if I might beg your patience, I think this could be really interesting. :)

Survey Links/Tracks:
Don't forget there are two parts to the survey! (I've heard the second half is more interesting.)

Questions Part 1 (Tracks 1-10)
Questions Part 2 (Tracks 11-20)

Mystery Track #1:

Mystery Track #2:

Mystery Track #3:

Mystery Track #4:

Mystery Track #5:

Mystery Track #6:

Mystery Track #7:

Mystery Track #8:

Mystery Track #9:

Mystery Track #10:

Mystery Track #11:

Mystery Track #12:

Mystery Track #13:

Mystery Track #14:

Mystery Track #15:

Mystery Track #16:

Mystery Track #17:

Mystery Track #18:

Mystery Track #19:

Mystery Track #20:

Thanks, folks! Hope you enjoyed the survey, if you took it. :)

Anu orta veniya,



  1. Good luck David!

    PS, FWIW, my favorite is #12

  2. bah I did it...don't think I'm stupid D: since I didn't know any of the songs.

  3. lol, Mimi...I certainly wouldn't think you're stupid. The intention was for it to be pieces most people weren't familiar with. And anyway, you did well. :)

    Dan: I really like #12 too. Definitely one of my faves out of these.

  4. Lol I have no idea. It was fun though and I'd like to know the answers. Where do you find game soundtracks?