Posted in: Tattle, Technology

Vinyl fantasy: how gamers fell in love with records

Gaming albums have been steadily rising in popularity since the early 2010s. Players and creators explain why

Caroline Grace has always enjoyed vintage technology. An IT tech in the Mid-Ohio Valley, they collect retro games, laser discs and cassette tapes, but mostly, vinyl records. Their collection is in the thousands, and hundreds of those are video game soundtracks. “I’ve been a big fan of games all my life,” says Grace. “Some of my earliest memories are playing games like Wonder Boy III: The Dragon’s Trap and Goof Troop with my dad and brother. I get positive feelings from listening to the Wonder Boy III music now. I have a lot of pleasant memories of playing it with my family back in the day.”

The idea of buying video game soundtracks on vinyl may seem counter-intuitive: the most hi-tech digital entertainment medium meeting this fragile relic of the analogue era. But gaming albums have been steadily rising in popularity since the early 2010s. Partly that’s thanks to the wider vinyl revival, but it’s also due to the efforts of specialist record labels such as Data Discs, which produces beautiful albums based on vintage video games. “When we started the label in late-2014 there wasn’t really anyone releasing game soundtracks on vinyl,” says co-founder Jamie Crook. “We had been half-joking about trying to release Streets of Rage for the best part of a decade and we’re still surprised that no one else beat us to it. It just seemed abundantly clear that game soundtracks were going to be one of the next growth areas, alongside Japanese ambient, especially after the huge popularity of film soundtrack labels from 2012 onward.”

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