Tagging & Naming

With files trimmed correctly, it's time to tag them. Tagging files means filling up the VGM metadata information (called GD3), such as game name, original composer, release date, track title etc. It is also vital to get this as right and accurate as possible.

A common way to start tagging the songs is simply playing the game. Chances are you don't know who composed the soundtrack, so beating the game will not only make you aware of which song plays where, but will ultimately give you the game credits. So go ahead, load the game and have fun!

On the other hand, if you logged the songs during gameplay and followed the excellent hint I gave earlier, you're pretty much ready by now.

Step 1 - clear tags

Unfortunetly, Kega 3.4 has the terrible habit to fill some of the GD3 info when logging VGMs. It's a pain, I know... It doesn't even fill the system name as it should (it writes "Sega Genesis" or "Sega Mega Drive" according to emulation settings, instead of the standard "Sega Mega Drive / Genesis"), and it adds an utterly useless emulator signature on the notes field, which you'll be sure to get rid of.

VGM Tool is what you'll use to tag your files, and when you drop a file without GD3 tags on it, it will keep whatever information the last file you dropped had in there. This is very handy because most tags in a soundtrack are constant (game name, composer, release date, system, author, etc). But since Kega wrote some GD3 in all those files, you won't be able to make any use of this until you've removed all GD3 tags from your files.

So, open VGM Tool and go to the GD3 tab.

VGM Tool 2 R5 - The tagging tab with Kega 3.4 useless data.

Now methodically open each of the trimmed files you're going to tag and hit the Remove GD3 button on each of them. Remember: it's the "Remove GD3" button, not the "Clear GD3" - we want no GD3 at all. Since removing tags is a repetitive and mechanical process, you might get a hype and load files before VGM Tool is done with the last one. Watch out! Make sure to just load new files once VGM Tool is ready, or you'll corrupt both files. You'll know when it's ok to continue when the status bar says "File loaded".

Once you got rid of all those stinkin' tags, it's time to fill in the good ones.

Step 2 - really tagging

VGM Tool 2 R5 - Filling with correct information

Now load the first file and fill in all the basic information. Always try to fill in as much information as possible, so if you know the game had a Japanese release, don't be lazy and try Googling up to find the Japanese name!

To tag with Japanese characters, copy and paste the Japanese text to the "Paste Unicode as HTML NCRs" editbox and hit this button. It will convert the Unicode data to numeric character reference codes (&#x____;), which you can use on the edit fields without big problems.

Anyway, here's the standard formatting for each field:

Game title

This should be the complete game title with correct spelling, capitalization and everything else. Be sure you get this correctly. Examples:
 "Ghouls 'n Ghosts", not "Ghouls & Ghosts" or "Ghouls 'n' Ghosts"
"Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball", not only "Sonic Spinball"
"Quack Shot", not "Quackshot"
"Aero the Acro-Bat", not "Aero the Acrobat" or "Aero The Acro-Bat"
"Ren & Stimpy: Stimpy's Invention"

So, don't be shy and be bold. Always use the correct characters and make justice to title and capitalization rules from the English language.

About Japanese titles, you can try looking at the Game Music Composer List and even Wikipedia. Google is also an obvious option, as mentioned before.


This should be found at the game credits. You might discover that more than one person is mentioned - usually composer and sequencer - and if so you should include them too. Also, there are certain games with official soundtrack releases, and you might even get a per-track credit on these. If that's the case, make sure to credit properly in each individual track.

But to make it simple: just be sure to give credit where its due. Some games don't have credits at all, but a little bit of research can reveal who composed the score. There are no credits on either Populous or Ghouls 'n Ghosts, but the information on those titles was easily available on the Internet. So again, don't be lazy, look it up.

Once again, Game Music Composer List is a good source of Japanese authors. Note that some Japanese folks have romanized nicknames, sometimes with some special characters like μ or ². Be sure to include these properly as well.

System name

This should be "Sega Mega Drive / Genesis". Don't type that out, just select it from the drop down menu and VGM Tool will do you the favour of tagging the Japanese name for it as well. You're done with this one.


This is the year the game came out. Usually this information can be retrieved from the game itself, just look around for copyright tags. Precise release dates are welcome and preferred. In any case, only year is good enough if that's all you got.

There's a little discrepancy here in date format, with the US Team (Dimitri and Dark_Pulse) using the US standard MM/DD/YYYY format, and with non-US people using DD/MM/YYYY or even YYYY-MM-DD. A Method to standardize these sets will be underway as soon as VGMTool can recognize the VGM 1.50 Format.

Track title

Always use the track title if supplied in the game or official soundtrack. If not, use the level name if supplied. If the game doesn't give you that either, you might get lucky looking for information from the official game manual. But if you really don't find anything at all, just don't make anything up! "Level 1" is good enough as a last resort.

It is not recommended to use long titles either, so keep it simple. Adding both level number and level name on the track title might be a good idea if the title isn't in the game (ie. Ghouls 'n Ghosts), but it just looks silly if it does (ie. the Sonic games).

To make it easier to remember, here's the preference order described above:

official track titles > official level names > generic "Level #" name

Japanese track names are even harder to find, but it is possible, especially in the case of an official soundtrack release.


Write any notes about the particular track here. This space is not for your personal review of the track or anything of the sort, leave that to the readme file later. The notes field is for information like "A remixed version of the original theme" or "An adaptation of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata".

You'll probably leave this blank.

File creator

This is where you give yourself credit for the file. Keep it simple and clear, please. Don't abuse size or act "1337". We'd hate to see stuff like that. Your name and/or nickname is enough (ie. Dark Pulse, DJSW, DukeNukem).

Once you've written all down, click on Update GD3. VGM Tool will write the info down the file and let you know when it's done. After this, just drop the next file and, like mentioned before, all fields will be maintained because the file has no GD3 tag. Change only the fields necessary and update the file. Proceed with this until everything's tagged.

Easy, huh? But you're not entirely done yet!

Writing the readme file

All our packages include a .txt file with some basic information on the soundtrack. Click here for the template.

Here's how you should edit this file:

1.01 - Fixed hanging note in "Track name"
1.10 - Added Japanese game name to GD3

And at last, there's the track list. All tracks should be included in this list, and they must be ordered properly, that is, aproximately the game order. To retrieve this information, load files under VGM Tool and click on the "copy" button on the "Header" tab. VGM Tool will then copy the standard text to the clipboard. Just paste this text on the text file. For Ghouls 'n Ghosts, it would look something like this:

Files, in approximate game order:

Name Length:
Total Loop
Main Theme 0:12 -
Menu 0:01 -
Options 1:46 -
Level Start 0:03 -
Level 1, The Hill of Torture 1:35 1:20
Level 1 Boss (Shielder) 0:32 0:27
Level 2, The Village of Decay and D 0:57 0:56
Level 2 Boss (Cerberus) 0:47 0:20
Level 3, Baron Rankle's Tower 1:16 1:16
Level 3 Boss (Gassuto) 0:44 0:44

Note that VGM Tool will crop long titles, like in Level 2's case. This should be fixed manually by expanding the line and completing the title, like this:

Files, in approximate game order:

Name Length:
Total Loop
Main Theme 0:12 -
Menu 0:01 -
Options 1:46 -
Level Start 0:03 -
Level 1, The Hill of Torture 1:35 1:20
Level 1 Boss (Shielder) 0:32 0:27
Level 2, The Village of Decay 0:57 0:56
and Destruction
Level 2 Boss (Cerberus) 0:47 0:20
Level 3, Baron Rankle's Tower 1:16 1:16
Level 3 Boss (Gassuto) 0:44 0:44

Notice that TAB characters are NOT used. Padding is done with spaces only.

Once the text file is done you won't be needing VGM Tool again.


Files are pretty much ready now, so it's about time you give them proper names. Our naming convention is:
Short Game Name - Track Title.vgz

By "short game name", we mean the complete game name is discouraged. For example:

 Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles      -> Sonic 3 & Knuckles
Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball -> Sonic Spinball
Ren and Stimpy: Stimpy's Invention -> Stimpy's Invention
Lethal Enforcers II: Gun Fighters -> Lethal Enforcers II
Ristar - The Shooting Star -> Ristar
Tiny Toon Adventures: Acme All Stars -> Acme All Stars

It's pretty much intuitive. Just keep it simple and straightforward and you'll be fine.

Once the VGM files are properly renamed, load them in Winamp's playlist and sort them in the same order as you did in the text file. Save the playlist (on Winamp's playlist window, click on List Opts > Save List) as a .m3u file named as the short game name you just used (ie, "Sonic Spinball.m3u"). Rename the text file accordingly (ie, "Sonic Spinball.txt").

And at last, you just have to clean up tag cache on the Winamp playlist file. Open the .m3u file under Notepad and remove all lines starting with #. This way the playlist will contain only the file names and nothing else.

And you're done! All you have to do now is optimise the files, zip them up and send it to us.

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