References in videogame music

My post about the Agent X II theme reminded me of something else that’s interested me for a while. The music in computer games back in the 80s and 90s clearly contained some major pop culture influences, but I wonder how often it was completely subconscious, and how often the composer set out to copy the feel (or even the notes!) of an existing piece of music? We had a much more relaxed attitude to copyright back then!

Anyhow, the influences ranged from the utterly blatant:


Or the stunning (for 1990) game over music from Shadow of the Beast II on the Amiga, and a piece of incidental music from Miami Vice:

But sometimes it was a little more subtle.
Take for example, Rob Hubbard’s C64 music for One Man and His Droid: Listen to the section 3:05 into this:

and compare with the passage 2 minutes 40 seconds into this:

Of course, sometimes it works in the opposite direction!

So how many more examples are there?

4 thoughts on “References in videogame music

  1. i read a few articles about rob hubbard and jeroen tel/others excelent c64 musicians which stated that often they produced their work based off stuff they listed to at the time, i mean who wouldnt.

    other times tho they would be specifically asked to make their next piece deliberatly like another.

    its no different nowadays tho, im even now still a big fan of the chemical brothers/the prodigy/crystal method and loads of other oldie techno/noisy beat type bands/musicians and who can say that a load of music you get today is vastly different?

    be it the computer world or “regular” music world, they all take inspiration from one another 😀

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