That's right, I'm already getting ready for the second round of what has been to date, the most popular feature that I have ever run on this blog. If you've been a long time reader, you may have noticed that one particular series garnered more attention than any other series, as well as more feedback (both good and bad) than any other feature. I am referring to "The Top Ten Best Game Soundtracks of All Time" series that I did several months ago. Recently, suggestions have been made that I revisit the series once more, something which I always planned on doing, but this time, I want to be a bit more prepared. So, I'm going to need your help.
How exactly? Well, I'll need additional help in two specific areas. The first is that I'll need soundtracks to listen to, whether by links or recommendations, that you readers feel fall under the line of Best Video Game Soundtracks. I'm throwing the gates open wide here, primarily because this feature will no longer be the "Top Ten" but rather the "Top Twenty-Five". The winning circle just grew, and I'm expecting to find a lot more contestants this time around.
The second area is rules. Last time, the criteria and judgment for the music was this:
First of all, did I enjoy listening to it both in and out of the game? Could I listen to it without picturing the game, ie, did the music have a life beyond the game itself and the environment therein? Could others listen to the soundtrack and enjoy it equally with no knowledge of the source (I've found this to be an important factor, for some reason people seem to think that despite utilizing symphonies in their creation of music, games music must be no more advanced then three different beep notes)? Effectively, did the music stand alone? Then I had to ask how advanced the music was, in terms of complexity and musical skill. What reaction did it draw from listeners emotionally? Lastly, I checked to see if I had the soundtrack.
The one area that proved to be a massive sore spot for many readers was the enjoyment of non-gamers clause. Many felt that it ruined or cheapened some of their favorite soundtracks that would have otherwise been higher on the list. So obviously that needs to be changed. As a matter of fact, several other things need to be changed, so I'm asking all of you readers to make suggestions of your own. It doesn't mean I will take them, but I am asking for them. I will mention one rule right now, however, unlisted from before, that will hold: Soundtracks will be rated on an individual basis, not as a series. If that allows one composer three of the victory places, so be it. I can recall plenty of series that have gone from Diamonds to Duds where the soundtrack is concerned.
So, this is the new system that I am considering. Music will be rated on a series of 5 point scales.
Enjoyment (Self explanatory)
Attachment Factor (Does the music stand without the game?)
Music Skill (How complex or well built the music feels. Is it too repetitive? Too simple?)
And a single bonus point for Outside Appeal awarded to Soundtracks that better appeal to non-gamers.
Obviously these are not going to be put up anytime soon. I'm simply planning ahead for the coming months. I'll either give the first round of the more complete soundtrack list a go in a few months, or I'll make it a yearly New Years competition. We'll see how many soundtracks I'm forced to listen to.
Anyway, I am now throwing the gates open. Please leave some comments, and from time to time I'll do an update piece to collect all the comments and let people know what's going and what isn't. Now, bring on the suggestions!
Kudos to those who organize their suggestions. Please?