Instrumental Inspiration

Part 2 – Game Music

Continuing on the topic of musical inspiration… I’ve covered a few (note the words; a few) composers, now I’d like to show you the world of game music. The place where the game is more recognized than the composer.

Games are another great source for finding writing music. They, just like movie music, are written to match scenes and moods. Not to mention they also do not include words. Now, I’ve mentioned YouTube and you can go look up your favorite game to find its OST, but there’s better way to get it. Mind you, this way only works if you own the game!

But, before I get into how to do that, I’d like to mention a few of my favorite games that have enjoyable music. Click on the name of the game and it’ll take you to a track on YouTube from that game. So, on we go then…


Assassin's Creed 2

Assassin’s Creed 2: Has some really great sounding tracks. You could look up AC1 or ACB as well, but I haven’t listened to those yet and so I can’t really recommend them, can I?

Republic Commando: Starwars and Sci-fi fans/writers, this is the game OST for you. The music gives you the feel of sci-fi and sometimes the music is all you need. Great range, but more battle type tracks on this one.

Mass Effect 2: Now, I can’t say anything about this game, but the OST is great. Yet another one you sci-fi writers will enjoy. Has slow and fast. Good for any kind of futuristic writing.

Republic Commando

Rise of Nations: Good game. Great OST. Like ME2, it’s got slow and fast; soft and hard; light and heavy. Good for medieval writing, but can capture any genre and age affectively.

Age of Empires; the Conquerors: This music will always make me think of playing games with my brother, but it’s good and simple. Another good medieval type OST.

Civilization 3: A good variety of sounds, both in location and age. I can’t say anything about earlier and later versions of this game, but they’re mostly likely the same good quality.


Those are all the ones I can recall at the moment, but I’m sure there are others (I’m certain a few of you will be after me about Myst music). The easiest way to determine if the music will fit your genre/age is to think of what genre/age the game is set in.

One thing I like to do, once I have the tracks in Windows Media Player (WMP) or a like program, is to listen to all the tracks and label them:






Or something like that, you can come up with your own titles. Labeling the tracks helps when you know what you want to write and need the music to match. This way, if you’re writing a sad scene, you don’t have epic battle music playing in the background.


Windows Media Player

Now, returning to the topic of finding games music apart from YouTube. If you own the game and have it installed, you can actually pull that music out of the game folder. I own a PC and thus can only tell you how to do this on a PC, but I assume there’s a way to do it on Macs as well. Okay, to start go into “Windows Explorer” and open drive C. Find the folder for your game (this is usually titled with the name of the game of the company that made the game). Then you want to find the folder called “sounds” or “music” (it varies with each game). Within this folder you should find other folders and some .wav or .mp3 files. These files are playable in WMP. Look in all the sub-folders, testing music as you go. If you find music that sounds like background music, you’ve found the folder you want. You can copy these file into WMP to listen to more easily.


There you have it my friends. My two part installment on Instrumental Inspiration.

~ by R.S.Sharkey on February 9, 2011.

4 Responses to “Instrumental Inspiration”

  1. I’m one of the Myst people!!

    I’m really a big fan of game music. I discovered it’s superior to soundtrack music. Because for a movie it has to fit whatever action is going on in the music, it has to not be noticed, and usually people have to talk over it. This means it tends to be repetitive, often times boring, and they can get away with a lot of stuff you couldn’t do in performance music. In games, however, (at least the games I’ve played) you spend a lot of time just walking around, and so the music is more geared towards just listening too, since it doesn’t have to match up with a lot of complex cinematography and dialogue. That makes it a nice mix between soundtracks and performance music.

    My newest favorite soundtrack is Aion. I was delighted to find it on rhapsody.

  2. eek, that download windows media player site kinda looks like malware :(

  3. Haha, good old AOE! I love that game. My siblings and I have played it for years, and still are. I love the music. I should take it off the disc and put it on my ipod… :D

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