As millennials begin to age and assimilate into the workforce, they gain buying power. To the surprise of pretty much everyone, one of the hobbies that the current generation has latched on to is listening to vinyl records. Despite the prevalence of iTunes, Youtube, and the $5 compact disc, people are paying a premium for an audio format that was left for dead years ago. While the sound quality merits versus CDs or today high-resolution downloads is certainly up for debate, the intimate experience of pulling out and playing a record cannot be matched by the advances in technology. The big labels, independents, and retail stores have taken notice. You can now buy records at place like Urban Outfitters, Hot Topic, and even Wal-Mart. Video game soundtracks are more popular than ever, so it makes sense that premium vinyl releases of you favorite game tunes are now readily available.
Even if you or you loved ones don’t own a turntable or have plan to listen to records, the new wave of video game vinyl releases still offers value for the most dedicated fans. Many of the releases feature extravagant artwork on the outer sleeves and some deluxe editions come with exclusive art prints. Some folks simply like collecting any cool merchandise that ties into their favorite games. A few dedicated operations work year-round to offer video game music on vinyl and some independent publishers offer direct sales of the records straight to the consumer.
2017 has produced loads of incredible vinyl releases. Be sure to check out this overview of the cream of the crop below.
Jeremy Soule and Mark Lampert
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Atmospheres
This beautiful translucent seafoam green and cloud splatter record was released November 24 as a Black Friday Record Store Day Exclusive. A limited number of copies were pressed and intended to be sold exclusively through independent record stores as part of the BF RSD 2017 festivities. The package features 40 minutes of music from the 2011 RPG and comes in a fancy embossed cover. While most of the copies were already sold-through on Record Store Day, some shops still have extra copies and you can find extra on Discogs and eBay.
Portal - The Original Soundtrack
Special Edition by Mondo
Made in partnership with Valve Software, Austin, Texas-based Mondo presents the soundtrack to one of the greatest games of all time. This special edition is pressed on a white and grey split with a label that looks like the eye of Glados. A limited blue and orange split version was made available exclusively to MondoCon attendees this year. Even cooler, the jacket that houses this record is a one of a kind magnetic contraption to has to be seen to be appreciated.
The Witcher 3: Game of the Year
Deluxe Edition Soundtrack on 4 LPs
Created by label Spacelab9 in partnership with CD Projekt Red, this amazing collection follows up two previous vinyl releases of The Witcher 3 soundtrack by including the music from the Blood & Wine expansion. Altogether, the set contains over two and a half hours of music from the base game and expansions, including Hearts of Stone. The release arrives in a stunning red jacket and is pressed onto red/black split-colored records. The tri-fold jacket contains exclusive artwork and is housed in a slipcover featuring a towering Leshen. Available exclusively through ThinkGeek.
Hyper Light Drifter
Deluxe Soundtrack on 4 LPs
Originally released in 2016, Hyper Light Drifter was an instant smash with classic adventure RPG fans. Many folks would recommend that you buy the game for the soundtrack alone. Composed by Disasterpeace (who also did the Fez soundtrack), this 28-track monster is a chiptune fan’s wet dream. Arranged and produced by the folks of at iam8bit, the soundtrack is split across 4 neon colored records and comes in a cool tri-fold jacket that opens up into the shape of an arrow. It was released in May this year and while not explicitly labeled as a limited edition, iam8bit says it won’t be around forever. Includes the full digital soundtrack as a bonus download.
The Official Soundtrack
Developer Supergiant Games originally released Bastion with Warner Brothers Interactive back in 2011. Since then the beloved RPG has appeared on just about every platform you could imagine. In 2017, its soundtrack finally made an appearance on wax in a deluxe edition made in house by Supergiant. Available as a 2xLP set on either black or Limited Edition Cael Red vinyl, the jacket features brand new artwork by Marie Bergeron and a pair of bonus tracks not included in the game by original composer Darren Korb.
Concerned Ape: Stardew Valley
Original Soundtrack on 2xLP
Tending to your crops has never been more fun or life consuming than what you experience in the breakout hit of 2016, Stardew Valley. Featuring music composed entirely by Concerned Ape, this 2 record set has it all. The front cover and inner jack sports all new artwork by Kari Fry. The sides of the record are divided into seasons and are split colored. The original pressing sold out almost instantly due to overwhelming demand. Gamer’s Edition, the outfit that put this package together, released a 2nd pressing in August that also sold out. Copies can be obtained on Discogs or eBay, but it is possible that Gamer’s Edition will offer a third pressing to help fill demand for this wonderful set.
Original Soundtrack and Gestalt/Replicant Soundtrack
2017’s dark horse game of the year candidate Nier: Automata has won the hearts and minds of just about everyone who was willing to sit down with it (multiple playthroughs, even). The action and top-down shooter combo has been a hit with gamers and the soundtrack is no different. Square Enix Japan will be offering a pair of vinyl releases that go on sale December 20. You can order directly from their Japanese site, but things may not work out so well. Fans of Square Enix’s Life is Strange Soundtrack experienced lots of trouble getting a copy anywhere outside of Japan. To be sure you snag your copy, pre-ordering from Amazon Japan seems to be the safest play. You likely won’t receive the package by Christmas, but getting a copy at all seems like a tough order. Amazon is offering a bundle for both LPs right now for around $70.
For anyone interested in picking up a turntable to play the video game vinyl you already own or if you are planning on starting a collection, be sure to check out our upcoming guide to choosing the best entry-level turntables for your budget.