Soundtrack Central The best of VGM and other great soundtracks

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layzee May 30, 2013 (edited May 30, 2013)

Context: Some time in 2008, I collected and organised a bunch of similarly themed music and created a torrent out of it. I then posted a companion thread on SlightlyDark Forums (SlightlyDark I believe is about highlighting and sharing obscure and lesser known music from old video games) for the purpose of information and/or discussion. That thread (which can't be viewed unless you have a registered account there) has been collecting metaphorical dust until it got its first reply in late 2012.

Today (mid 2013), while going though my old bookmarks and old shit in general on my computer, SlightlyDark popped up. I thought I would just log in to the forums for sake of the lulz, assuming it hadn't 404's yet.

Not only has it not 404'd, but my forgotten thread got its first reply. Then I replied to that reply. That morphed into the monolithic monstrosity that you may muse below.

Seeing my old thread gave me a small nostalgic rush of past memories which gave me writing fodder. I wrote it knowing full well that no-one's going to read it on that forum since it's dead. After I finished writing it, I thought it would be a shame if no one read it. The same fate that happened to my original thread that couldn't be read by anyone.

So I couldn't think of any other place except this forum to post it in. Have a read, comment on any part of my writings, and/or create a post with material from memories of your own past, or do whatever you wish in this thread.

I just needed to copy and paste this somewhere. The copy and paste begins below the line.


niki;48428 wrote:

I know it's super old but seeing no answer to such an awesome thread is sad ...

I only realised after I posted the thread back in 2008 that this subforum could only be viewed by registered users, and hence, could not be found with Google. That probably explains the lack of replies. Not to mention, if I remember correctly, that this forum was pretty dead even back then (2 thousand and f---ing 8! 5+ years ago!). Apologies for the profanity but I find the passage of time amazing.

niki;48428 wrote:

Belated grats on all the hard work Layzee ! tongue

Cheers. Actually, it's only fitting that you be the one that replies to my thread because part of this effort was thanks to you. Meaning, I think you were the one that introduced me to doujin music, or if you didn't, then at the very least I learned the words "doujin music" from you. This was like 2005 or earlier.

Actually the first place I found you was probably GamingForce forums. Or maybe I learned of you from your 5gb or so doujin music torrent, I can't remember which. Anyway, after learning that GamingForce forums had a whole subforum (i.e. "My Stuff") dedicated to pirating video game music, I registered on it, with the sole purpose of pirating game music. I posted some worthless posts to raise my post count in order to gain access to "My Stuff", the said video game music pirating sub-forum. Eventually, I found your FTP and downloaded some stuff. Or found your torrent elsewhere. Again, I can't remember. Whatever the case, I found the forum you were on.

Obviously, being a fan of S.S.H., I checked your S.S.H. folder (via FTP and/or torrent) and found a bunch of S.S.H. music that I never knew existed. I think at the time, I only knew of Lost Child and a few other albums, and the stuff on his website. So I was like, "where did all this other shit come from?". Actually at the time, I was a bit skeptical, I thought maybe you (or someone else) grabbed random music and re-tagged them with S.S.H. into the artist. Silly thought but eh.

Seeking answers, I sent a private message to you on the same forum, asking the source of the unknown (to me at the time) S.S.H. mp3s. You replied back saying you got them from Share (Japanese p2p program). Then I learned about the program and set it up on my computer. I hoped to see what the original tags were like. You did what you could at the time, translating the Japanese tags into English, but I was a purist and was interested in accuracy (still am).

There were two main 150mb S.S.H. archives, I think they were .lzh (some sort of Winzip extension common in Japanese files), or just the standard .zip -- anyway I downloaded them. These were the same ones you got. Actually, I still have the original unmodified archives, in case my Japanese improves (at the time, I made half-hearted attempts at learning Japanese, Kanji was the main thing discouraging me from learning it), then I can re-translate the tags more accurately.

At the time (I'm repeating myself here), I also left the Share program open every time I was online. This paid off. Eventually, I found (or rather, the program found -- it does autosearches, remember?) an archive with a name like "Saitama Saisyu Heiki - Sega Ages Gain Ground" and I was like, "what the heck is this, surely it's some sort of mistake? S.S.H. is a doujin music artist, he can't have done professional work at Sega, can he?".  Well, it turned out that he did compose music for an official Sega game. And goddamn, did I love his compositions there. I still do.

Anyway, there's the little bit of history of me.

Digression 1: How did I learn about S.S.H. in the first place? In 2005 (or earlier), I was idling in the #gamemp3s IRC channel (game music release group, still active surprisingly). A channel regular named simply "ryan" (I still remember) usually talks about random stuff and often by himself. One day, he started raving about something called "S.S.H." and he posted a link to S.S.H.'s website. I didn't usually pay attention to him (I was only there for the FTPs) but I was curious enough to click the link. Fast forward to 2013. I am now the self-proclaimed biggest fan of S.S.H.

Digression 2: I wonder what my IRC nickname was at the time? I'm not sure if it's "layzee", I think I chose that in 2006. If they kept their chat logs, I could find out. Just do a search for S.S.H.'s website URL or maybe a search for "Momentary Life". I was particularly impressed with S.S.H.'s arrange and made a comment or two in the chat.

Digression 3: At the time, torrents didn't exist or wasn't that popular yet so the only way to download #gamemp3s stuff was to type "!list". Similar to GamingForce Forums, that's the only reason why I was in the chatroom in the first place. Thinking back... holy shit were FTPs f---ing annoying to download from. Each FTP only had like 2 spots available (understandable because there is only one upload source but still annoying) and if you lost your spot, you'd spend the next hour or more trying to get back in (one attempt every 60 seconds, otherwise you'd be banned for "hammering" the FTP). And there were only 1 to 3 available FTPs. And I had dialup at the time. I downloaded many many gigs of #gamemp3s music... with dialup. I think I moved to DSL in the same year or the following year (2006). 2005, 2004, etc though, I had dialup and that's what I used to download most of my #gamemp3s stuff.

Digression 4: My Japanese language skills have improved... big time. I was a newbie baby compared to now. I still have a long way to go of course, but the "end" is visible and is nearing each and every day.

Digression 5: I haven't messed with Share in ages. I wonder if it's active or defunct now? As for Perfect Dark, I could never get it to work back then.

Digression 6: I'm getting old.

Digression 7: I'm surprised a forum with inactivity such as this is still up. I've seen many forums go 404 in my lifetime. Here's more nostalgia fodder: "plasticman forums". Does that ring a bell?

Digression 8: I still got Carl's PMs from 2006. I still got his burnt game music concert DVDs. At the time, since game concert DVDs were too expensive, and because I didn't want encodes (due to lossy quality), I figured I'd ask him to burn me some. Hey, it's not like I'm going to buy them anyway! Fast forward 5 years later: I did buy them, or most.

Digression 9: At the time (2006 and earlier), I was a mere rom kiddie internet pirating scum. Then one day (in 2006), I decided that rom/mp3/etc lists were boring. What's so impressive about saying "cower before my e-penis... I have 5 million ROMs!"? So I started collecting physical goods. Although I did use eBay to buy random stuff even before 2006, I got bored of only buying locally (Australia). How can I buy overseas stuff? I have to buy from overseas, because there were very few local sellers of the stuff I want (Japanese stuff). Then I found out about PayPal. For all the flack PayPal gets (and most they deserve), make no mistake, it was a science-send to me (atheist joke there). I can now easily buy stuff from anywhere from overseas and have it delivered to my home! Buying the burnt DVDs from Carl was one of my very early purchases.

Digression 10: In 2006 or 2007, PayPal froze my account with several hundred dollars in it... for exactly 6 months. Then it was released. It was a lot of money at the time. Funnily enough, that was the main reason I renewed my hunt for a job. A job to pay back the "loss" (as said, PayPal unfroze my account). My PayPal account has been in good standing since then (knock on wood).

Digression 11: I've been lucky. I have bought (too) much stuff since 2006 and the number of lost packages (stuff I bought that fails to arrive) I can count with 5 fingers (or less). Having said that, out of my very few losses, one of them was not a lost package, but a mere scammer (lost about $300 AUD there). I thank science (another atheist joke there) that I live in a politically stable and relatively corrupt-free country like Australia with a national post network that does a good job of delivering packages. If I was born in Greece, Brazil, Italy, or Mexico, it would potentially be a very different story. Don't just take my word for it. Just ask the sellers from Japan. There's a reason why they forbid sending packages to those countries or at the very least, only allow EMS (trackable shipping) as a shipping method to citizens from there.

Digression 12: Looks like I hit a thought wall/writer's block.

Digression 13: I typed most of this in notepad so I won't accidentally lose it by pressing "forward"/"back" etc.

Digression 14: Swapping between and being consistent with past tense and present tense is surprisingly challenging. Had to go back up and fix them for the sake of correct grammar. I'm a reasonable grammar nazi so I have to hold myself to my own standards.

layzee Aug 20, 2016

SlightlyDark Forums: where replies to posts happen on a year-by-year basis. Where OP is still alive to read the replies. Well, I am, at least.

Well, my above 2013 post received a reply no earlier than today, 2016 as shown below:

niki;48446 wrote:

Oh man, that got to be the longest spanned conversation ever, but I just stumbled upon this right now.

I remember all of this, and you and our interactions very well. It always gives me a happy nostalgic feeling when I see your posts and hard work on VGMdb. smile

I don't remember how I first heard of S.S.H. I think I may have actually stumbled on his website by myself around 2003/2004.

I grew up playing a lot of video games, but my fascination always went to Japanese RPGs, which I actually played in Japanese despite not reading a word of it. Very few soundtracks and arrange albums were available to a French teenager in the 90s, and I was amazed to get my first glimpse of the VGM world with the advent of mainstream internet around 1999. Finding orchestral pieces of Final Fantasy, Zelda and others on the messy P2P scene that existed at the time blew my mind.

I gained personal access to the internet around 2001 and soon found Gamingforce and it's soon to be defunct GFA page. I then found out about My Stuff and it's FTPs and became a part of the regular community as well. I am FB friends today with many people I met at this time. Not many of the actual VGM people unfortunately.

Having filled my thirst for orchestral arranges, being a metalhead, I was longing for that type of arranges. I started dedicating a lot of time researching and scouring the web for obscure not yet known information. I became quite the expert about Falcom at that time, and even started a wiki encyclopedia about it. That's how I eventually discovered the Japanese Doujin Music scene. And probably stumbled on S.S.H.'s website. It's a little hazy but around 2003 I'd say. 2004 at most.

I started by simply exploring what was available on circle's websites. Then found out of the Japanese P2P program Winny. This is where I actually started to find the first full doujin albums, and those S.S.H. archives you remember as well. It was really exiting as I had the feeling to be the first one to discover those. There was literally no mention of any of that stuff on the Western web. That's when I decided to start my website saladedemais to bring awareness to it (mid 2004 I think). It all felt like some kind of real life RPG. Using crappy internet translator ( <3), my crappy DSL connection and wasting so much time of my precious youth on a screen aha. But I have fond memories of it. It felt like an adventure searching for obscure treasures and relics.

2004 snapshot of saladedemais with Doujin music list tongue

Around that time I also started being a regular on the DC++ VGM Central hub and I found out a few people were on the same path, mainly Teioh but also Grass-eatin'me if I recall correctly. We started sharing duties to grab everything we could. VGMCentral was also the first place I started sharing the Doujin Music at. I'm pretty sure you were there too, right ?

The rest is history. I don't know if we're responsible for bringing Doujin Music to the West as a whole, as I'm sure other people followed a similar path around the same time. I know we were among the first for sure. With time "Doujin Music" became just another type of release among various VGM related groups. The Wikipedia entry was created by me in 2006 it appears: … on=history

Seeing VGMdb today, it's amazing to see so many of it's most active people used to be part of all those different communities. VGMdb is a huge achievement and I think one of the best things to ever come out of fan communities. I feel proud to be a small part of it.

Thanks for your great post. It felt good to rethink about those times. And kudos to Naka for keeping SD online. It's probably the oldest forum I'm a member of in it's original form. smile

And my reply. A few minutes later, surprisingly enough (he PM'd me on vgmdb).

layzee;48449 wrote:

If you didn't PM me at vgmdb, I probably would have replied back in 2020 or something!

I had to re-read my previous post because I barely remember writing it. Heck, I barely remember when I made it (2013).

Hmm, well not much has changed since 2013. The main difference is I now have an S.S.H. information website which I'm reasonably enthusiastic and passionate about. I'm sure you had a visit already or at least heard of it. It will be a legit site though so I won't be sharing any of his music like I did here.

I'm also 3 years older. *sigh*

niki;48446 wrote:

messy P2P scene

I still remember that quite well. I'm sure you remember names like "Kazaa" and "Napster". Early day P2P, before bittorrents existed.

niki;48446 wrote:

DC++ VGM Central hub

Yep, I was there occasionally, to check other people's lists for any interesting rare stuff. Teioh was and still is all about obscure Hentai game soundtracks. I also remember the name Grass-eatin'me but don't remember his/her specialty. Probably something to do with rare Japanese stuff.

See ya in 2020.

longhairmike Aug 20, 2016

pffftt,, 2008 is like yesterday for me.

i remember checking the unofficial squaresoft home page every day.
they had all the best 16-bit midi vgm you could download (and with dialup on a 1994 pentium with a 50MB hard drive,, that was all you COULD download). midis were small files to begin with, and then they would compress to like 1/40th their size when you zipped them, so you could put your whole collection on a floppy.

the only faqs back then were notepad files with fancy graphic headers made up of ascii characters.
but how else were you going to complete all the ff3 side quests?

there is a clone of the site now but i remember originally it was hosted on (i dont think browsers had bookmarks back then, or at least i didnt know how to use them)

GoldfishX Aug 20, 2016

I miss the days of the more active DC++. sad

It really died off. It was HOPPING back in the mid 2000's.

raynebc Aug 21, 2016

I watched some old Disaster Labs videos the other day.  Like going back in a time machine.

layzee Jan 16, 2017 (edited Jan 16, 2017)

Just noticed the entire SlightlyDark forums have been wiped (or at least hidden from the public) so I guess that's a bit of VGM Internet history gone. Probably happened late 2016 or early 2017. This just goes to show, the conventional wisdom that "anything uploaded onto the Internet will stay on the Internet forever" is not necessarily always true, especially for niche things. Not just Internet forums but file upload hosts (they come and then go, permanently) and Wikipedia article web link sources and citations (practically half of them are 404) for non-popular/recent topics.

Moral of the story: If you see anything interesting on the Internet you'd like to see more than once, save it to your hard drive, entire web sites if necessary.

Speaking of dead forums, I'm curious what early cringeworthy posts I made in Chudah's Corner. *goes check* Nope, Web Archive .org can't go that deep. It's probably for the best.

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