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Diggin’ in the Carts: A Collection of Pioneering Japanese Video Game Music (2017/1985–1995)


“Diggin’ in the Carts: A Collection of Pioneering Japanese Video Game Music” is a compilation album of the innovative and rare compositions of Japanese video game music from the late 1980s to the mid-1990s.


The digging began with the Red Bull Music Academy’s documentary footage series “Diggin’ in the Carts”, which explored the history of Japanese game music and its influence on the music scene in the later years.

The director of the documentary series, Nick Dwyer from New Zealand and the founder of the British electronic music label Hyperdub, Kode9 (Steve Goodman) selected 34 tracks, and compiled them into an album. The album was released by Hyperdub in 2017. 

The album contains cheap but haunting chiptunes (8 bit/16 bit music) in the early days, which were created by digital synthesis within the limits of data capacity and channels. 

The tracks were selected from the video games for consoles (NES, SNES, TurboGrafx-16, Sega Genesis and others), PCs (PC-8801, MSX and others), and arcade.

The album is precious and worth listening to for electronic music lovers because it was compiled from a purely musical perspective.

It includes the tracks from the video games, such as “Gradius” (a shooter by Konami, 1985), “Solomon’s Key” (an action puzzle by Tecmo, 1986), “ActRaiser” (a side-scrolling action by Enix, SNES, 1990), and others.

The recording artists are Konami Kukeiha Club, Hiroto Saitō, Goblin Sound and others.

“Mister Diviner” (from “The Mahjong Touhaiden”, SNES, 1993) composed by Soshi Hosoi is a track in the minimal music style like Steve Reich.

The artwork of the album was designed by anime director Kōji Morimoto.

The Mahjong Touhaiden – Mister Diviner