Wednesday, April 12, 2017

30+ Years of Video Game Music

This is part of my #1YearOfViz series! Check out the archive here:
One of the first things I wanted to mention was that I had (what I felt) was a really excellent interview the other day with Delta Private Jets. It felt much more in my wheelhouse than when I did the interview a couple of weeks ago with VetData. In all honesty I think they were looking for more of a programmer and not an analyst (and I heard they hired an ex programmer for the position actually). Anyway... I kinda felt like I might not fit in with the Delta 'corporate people' having worked in Academia my entire career but the people were pretty rad and the job sounds exactly like the type of cross departmental data-exploration that I love diving head-first into! Plus... I mean... things like flight benefits would be pretty rad...
How I felt going to interview with Delta Private Jets
Due to that (interview business) and my girlfriend's kids being on Spring Break I'm publishing last week's viz today and I'll publish another one later this week also!

It's time to get down!
Now into the real subject of today's post! Video Game Music! I started this little endeavor after listening for a couple of years now to the Legacy Music Hour Podcast. I can't recommend it highly enough if you're into that sort of thing... and if you're not, what are you reading this post for!?

I poked around at several music databases to find the site with some of the most comprehensive datasets. I ended up landing on, their site format and abundance of already available stats allowed me to really cross-check what I was getting from them!

The dataset seemed easy enough to get scraped. I'd liked to have gotten the track data and lengths as well but the formatting below the initial listing got a little too funky to reliably pull with Octoparse. Still initial costs and years of release are pretty awesome so let's work with those... Except there was a minor (read: HUGE) problem with the cost data... It was in about two dozen different currencies (some of which were no longer in existence)!

I ended up parsing the type away from the number and did the conversion manually according to today's dollar values based on this site's conversion. I thought about it after I'd already written the following formula and realized that I could have done a quick scrape and join instead for the conversion values. Again due to the complexity of the whole conversion process I didn't do past value converted to current values with adjustments for inflation etc... I just felt it was a bit too much hacking for a few cents to a dollar difference on some things.

Let's get into the data! This first dash is a generic look at the full release of game soundtracks (on the top) followed by a look that is customizable by Console Type at the bottom to look at how ratings for the soundtracks of games for that particular system changed over time.

This last one is one where you can explore some of the extremes of the data. The bottom half of this dash reshapes the top ("dots") half of the viz. You can choose what types of measure you'd like to use by year and click on the specific year-point on the line to reshape the "dots" at the top. You can then click on the dots to be taken to that specific page about that album! I think it's a fun kind-of tiered way to get at both analysis and deep dives into the data through some segmentation!

As always if you have any questions hit me up on twitter @wjking0! This whole viz had made me feel SUPER nostalgic... time to go play some old games!

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