In the Gods podcast Aaron mentioned he’d read claims that ‘Into the Wonderful’ by Nation 12 – the game’s opening soundtrack – was the first to have received a commercial studio release. I’ve heard the same thing and even repeated it in my review, but can’t for the life of me locate the source now.
Aaron was right to be sceptical for a number of reasons. Despite being used for the introductory segment of The Bitmap Brother’s puzzle platformer in 1991, ‘Electrofear’, the CD album the track appeared on, wasn’t actually released until 2005. Two singles from it – ‘Remember’ and ‘Electrofear’ were released in the early nineties, though ‘Into the Wonderful’ wasn’t until much more recently when it was made available as a digital download. Prior to this it was also included in Nation 12’s ‘Cinemascope’ compilation released in 2008.
Even if the track had been finished shortly after John Foxx and Tim Simenon joined forces to become Nation 12 in 1989 (it wasn’t written specifically for Gods), Koji Kondo would have beaten them to the punch by a whole three years when his Super Mario Bros. soundtrack was released as a 7-inch single.
The credit for the first video game to contain a continuous background soundtrack is thought to belong to Space Invaders, released in 1979. Even back then a number of bands sampled the four primitive diatonic bass notes that comprised the ‘music’ for use in their own homage compositions, though the original score wasn’t reproduced as an official, standalone record. Who on earth would have listened to it?