From 8Bit To EDM: Gaming's Electronic Music History

The early bleeps and squelches that got us to where we are today
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The early bleeps and squelches that got us to where we are today

You've been into electronic music a LOT longer than you think; that is if you were playing 8bit video games like Atari and Nintendo back in the day. Yeah, PacMan was kind of like really early techno if you think about it.

Aside from early analog synths, video game tracks were some of the first mass marketed and consumed forms of electronic music. The songs were stored in chips in those game cartridges that we popped in and out of consoles like little gaming psycho chimps hopped up on Mountain Dew. This experience is where many of us heard our first squelches, bleeps, and rudimentary ambient music for the first time and we couldn't have cared less, just as long as we didn't lose a "guy." 

Video games were the nexus for many of us, deeply planted in our little brains and later in life causing us to jump like Pavlov's dogs at the sound of a repetitive beep. 

After all wasn't Pac-Man a dude in a dark glowing room eating little yellow pills being chased around by ghosts that were trying to destroy him. It all makes sense now!

Raving and gaming, brothers from another mother, kind of anyway.

There is no doubt that EDM evolved from the world of 8bit games like Super Mario Brothers to more complex ambient soundtracks in more complex games like Myst and the first Silent Hill. 

As technology evolved so did the gaming culture eventually becoming the multi-billion dollar industry that is today. Thousands of games being released that needed scores and electronic composers were the only real affordable option for most gaming publishers. 

As gaming culture crossed into the mainstream so did the soundtracks, many of which started getting released like movie scores. Then the advertising industry perked up at the affordability of electronic music along with its faster production times. The rest is history. 

Fast forward to 2016 and almost everywhere you go you can hear electronic music, from PC games to online gaming sites like Casino.com. They even have electronic Jazz and Samba slots games to bring more excitement to the experience. 

Coca-Cola has hired Avicii to pen its new theme for its latest campaign and 7-Up is leading the charge in EDM festival sponsorships. 

Did video games help bring electronic music to the masses kind of like the Trojan Horse helped the Greeks win the Trojan war? Maybe, just maybe. 

So next time you are listening to one of your favorite DJ mixes give a little shout out to Pac-Man and his ghosts buddies, they deserve it.