Does a video game’s soundtrack go hand in hand in making a game succesful?
Music can influence emotions in such a drastic way that it’s amazing really.
My first memory of a game with a memorable sound track would have to be the phenomenal Final Fantasy VII.
Even now, I find myself humming a song from the game unknowingly. But the soundtrack to that game, as well as the story telling and the dialog, made that game a success. The music of Final Fantasy VII has been turned into orchestral arrangements and symphonies play them around the world. The same can be said for the Ocarina of Time on the Nintendo 64. The music of that game haunts me on occasion and brings back great memories of my brother and myself playing through it together. The sound track to that game also influenced it’s success too I believe.
But today, I think we are beginning to see a lack of the emphasis on the importance of the video game sound track. Games now are not really about the music while they are more about the intense realism of the graphics and game play. How many times can we hear a generic war theme in every Call of Duty installment?
This saddens me, because game music is just not what it used to be. There are still a handful of companies that still keep their music on a high standard, such as Blizzard, Bioware, Bungii, and Rockstar when we talk about original scores. But Nintendo tends to just re-use the same scores over and over again and just remix them. I don’t think I have heard an original Mario song since back in the day with Super Mario World. How many times can you just re-use the typical ba-du-ba-da-ba-ba– ba?
Right now as I write this, I’m listening to the Minecraft sound track by C418. Absolutely phenomenal stuff. It’s all synth based mixed with piano, but it suits the game so incredibly well. It makes me want to go build.The sound track is so simple, but like Final Fantasy VII and Ocarina of Time, it encompasses the essence of the game that makes it so addicting and wonderful.
Music has a surprisingly large impact on video games, and I hope that video game companies now recognize this when creating their games. The music potential now is so much greater than it used to be just fifteen years ago. We don’t use anymore 8-bit, 16-bit, or 32-bit music anymore. Now, the music is symphonic based. Epic. Large. Impactful.
But is this better than what can be found on the Super Nintendo or Playstation? Are we losing the tight and simple theme music that we once had because of this?
It’s an interesting thing to think about.