Video Game Vinyl Records

Video Games on Vinyl: New Tech Meets an Old Format

In the late 1970s, as vinyl record sales were experiencing a decline, a contrasting phenomenon was unfolding in the realm of entertainment – the emergence of the very first video games, including iconic titles like Asteroids and Space Invaders. This period marked the inception of a transformative era where video games would embark on a meteoric rise, evolving into a multi-billion-dollar industry that continues to captivate global audiences. In stark contrast, vinyl records, once a dominant musical format, took an unforeseen turn, being deemed obsolete.

The rise of new formats, particularly cassettes and CDs, presented music enthusiasts with more compact and convenient alternatives. The advent of digital formats further accelerated the shift, offering unparalleled ease in media consumption. Subsequently, streaming platforms emerged, firmly establishing themselves as the contemporary means of accessing music. In the wake of such technological progress, vinyl records, once considered the pinnacle of music listening, found themselves relegated to the status of relics from a bygone era.

For nearly a decade, vinyl record sales witnessed a substantial decline, with the format being overshadowed by the compact and digital advancements in the market. During this period of vinyl decline, the few records that continued to be pressed largely featured classic artists from the past, amplifying the perception of vinyl as a nostalgic medium rather than a contemporary choice. The notion of pressing new game soundtracks onto what was deemed an outdated medium appeared implausible. So how then, did video game soundtracks make it back onto wax?

The 2010's Comeback

The resurgence of vinyl records during the early years of the 2010s marked a significant comeback for the analog format. New artists sought to increase their profits by pressing their latest albums on vinyl, while music enthusiasts rediscovered the joy of engaging with physical mediums in an era dominated by digital consumption. In a world inundated with virtual experiences, the allure of tangible items gained newfound appeal, providing individuals with a more authentic connection to their musical passions.

Crucially, the younger generations played a pivotal role in fueling this vinyl renaissance. As they sought alternatives to the prevailing digital media landscape, these young adults, who had witnessed the evolution of the video game industry throughout their formative years, found themselves at the intersection of two cultural movements. The convergence of the vinyl revival and the expansion of the video game industry created a perfect storm, where the passion of video game aficionados and vinyl enthusiasts seamlessly combined.

In the initial phases of this renaissance, video game soundtracks made their way onto vinyl in limited quantities, often serving as promotional material or exclusive additions to collectors' editions of games. Crowdfunding platforms gained prominence during this period, providing a platform for fan-made remixes, collaborations with composers, and original tracks inspired by the vast and immersive world of video games. This democratization of creative expression allowed for a broader audience to engage with and support the unique fusion of video game culture and vinyl appreciation.

Where We Are Today

The landscape of video game soundtracks has undergone a significant shift from being mere add-ons to becoming a thriving market in its own right. Recognizing the potential within this niche, numerous small companies have flourished, pressing soundtracks for popular games onto vinyl. Esteemed labels like iam8bit, Laced Records, and Data Discs have played pivotal roles, producing a multitude of pressings for fan-favorite games, and this trend shows no signs of deceleration.

Limited edition pressings have also played a substantial role in propelling the popularity of video game vinyl records. This allure is amplified by the vast collector's market seeking the rarest versions of a particular album. Companies often release limited pressings that differ from the standard black variants, offering unique color options, sleeve/artwork alterations, and even signatures from the original artists. These distinctive elements enhance the appeal of each pressing, making them highly sought after by enthusiasts.

Regardless of the motivation behind purchasing video game vinyl, the demand for these nostalgic gems appears insatiable. The constant release of new games ensures a continuous supply of soundtracks waiting to be pressed onto vinyl. Moreover, numerous classic titles are yet to receive the vinyl record treatment, adding to the anticipation among collectors and aficionados. Whether acquired for nostalgia, collectability, or simply the enjoyment of physical media, videogame soundtracks will continue to rise in demand for the foreseeable future.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.