Impressive VGM By Year: 1983
If you'd prefer a YT playlist featuring the top 40 OSTs, click here.
Interstellar Laser Fantasy (ARC, Laserdisc)
The longest and most varied OST up to this point and the Laserdisc format allowed a giant leap forward in terms of production and instrument quality. Stylistically it's also quite forward thinking for its time, featuring a number of ambient tracks (sometimes pure ambient noise), sweeping atmospheric synth parts and some semi-orchestral fanfares, while also having a distinctly game-like feel by incorporating "laser" sfx and playful staccato notes into some tracks. Good stuff.
Dragon's Lair (ARC, Laserdisc)(in-game), Intro
Galaxy Ranger (ARC, Laserdisc)(in-game)
Cliff Hanger (ARC, Laserdisc)(in-game, mostly jingles; based on Lupin III)
Astron Belt (ARC, Laserdisc)(in-game)
Cube Quest (ARC, Laserdisc)(in-game)
Esh's Aurunmilla (ARC, Laserdisc)(in-game) - 1984?
M.A.C.H. 3 (ARC, Laserdisc & AY8910 at 2 Mhz)(in-game)
Gyruss (ARC, 5x AY-8910 at 1.789 Mhz w/ DAC & 6x RC)(Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor), Medley ver.
Probably the first chiptune soundtrack with sampled percussion and stereo mixing. While it is a remix of a classical piece split into three parts it is rather detailed and seems to make pretty good use of all the 5 AY chips used, featuring echo and chorus effects as well as noise accompaniment to the sampled drums.
Spy Hunter (ARC, 2x AY-8910 & AD7533 DAC (Cheap Squeak Deluxe board))(Peter Gunn theme)
Mr. Robot and His Robot Factory (Atari 8-bit, Pokey)
Ultima III (AII, Mockingboard AY-3-8910, 1985?), C64 ver. (1984), AMI ver. (1986)(Lord British=Rule, Britannia!)
Probably the first game soundtrack where the player can manually trigger most of its songs by moving back and forth between areas in-game, and its length and variety was unmatched at the time in terms of original chiptune-based VGM. The style is mostly appropriate to a medieval fantasy setting, featuring old european folk song pastiches (possibly covers since the Lord British track is one and it was pretty common at this point in game history). Technically, it's pretty barebones and there's no percussion but we do get some effective use of echo in the mysterious Dungeons track.
The Tail of Beta Lyrae (Atari 800 XL, Pokey)(Gary Gilbertson - Passionately), Intro
Archon (C64) - 1984?, Apple II ver., Atari 8-bit ver.
Mappy (ARC, Namco 8-channel WSG)
Albegas/Cybernaut (ARC, Laserdisc)(unreleased, in-game)
Libble Rabble (ARC, Namco 8-channel WSG)
Journey (ARC, 2x AY8910 at 2 Mhz)(Journey - Don't Stop Believin'), Tape part (Separate Ways (Worlds Apart) recording)
MULE (C64), Atari 8-bit ver.
Aztec Challenge (C64)(added reverb & stereo)
Notable for being partially interactive (the music changes depending on which instrument you are carrying)
Forbidden Forest (C64)
Frogger (C64)(Medley of covers?)
Turtles (Odyssey 2, Voice)
Frantic Freddie (C64)(All covers)(in-game)
Donkey Kong (NES)
Tapper (ARC, 2x AY8910?)(in-game, features stereo)
Spy Hunter (C64)
Mad Planets (ARC, DAC)(in-game)
Rise Out from Dungeons (MSX PSG)
Mr. Do's Castle (ARC, SN76496)
Dragon's Den (C64)(Edvard Grieg etc.)
User generated music?
Super Pipeline (C64), In-game
Elevator Action (ARC, 4x AY8910)(in-game)
Mario Bros. (NES)
Up 'n Down (ARC, 2x SN76496 at different clocks speeds)
Water Ski (ARC, 4x AY-3-8910?)(in-game)
Protector 2 (C64)(Classical)
Killerwatt (C64)(Bach), Digger (PC, PC Speaker PWM)(Popcorn cover, Overture to Wilhelm Tell cover), Pac & Pal (ARC, Namco 8-channel WSG), Trooper Truck (C64)(YMO or Terminator cover?)(in-game), Donkey Kong Jr. & Donkey Kong Jr. Math (NES), 10-Yard Fight (ARC, AY-3-8910), Baseball (NES), Markham (ARC, 2x SN76496?), The Tin Star (ARC, 4x Ay-3-8910?), Roc'n Rope (ARC, 2x AY8910?)(in-game), Chack'n Pop (ARC, 2x AY8910?), Donkey Kong 3 (ARC, N2A03)(while using super spray)
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