Can Music Make or Break a Game? – Megabits of Gaming Feature

Can Music Make or Break a Game – Posted 16/08/2012 on Megabits of Gaming

The importance of music in a video game is often overlooked. We all have our favourite tracks from our favourite games, but how does music really add to our gaming experience? With the exception of games like LIMBO, I believe it has a massive impact on how we experience each game world.

The music of Tetris and Pacman is something that will remain with many gamers. Play these in a room full of people, and it’s guaranteed that most of them will know what these little midi files are from, and they will even be able to hum along to it. The music is part of the nostalgia for some gamers, part of the playing experience and each game may perhaps not have enjoyed as much fame as they did without these iconic sounds.

If you don't know the music to this, you have clearly been under a rock

If you don’t know the music to this, you have clearly been under a rock

Video game music has become a lot more complex since the early days of arcade machines though. With composers like Nobuo Uematsu, famous for the Final Fantasy series, Koji Kondo, the genius behind The Legend of Zelda soundtracks, or Shoji Meguro, a more obscure composer famed with composing some unique music for the Persona franchise, video games are a land filled with magnificent composition. Of course the magic of video game music is not just limited to JRPGs. The Halo franchise boasts a fan base with a passion for the orchestral music contained within, and Metal Gear Solid fans sing praise to each instalments soundtrack.

Even action games like Devil May Cry and Bayonetta have a certain something about their battle tracks that are designed to get you pumped up. I bet you never thought that a version of Fly Me To The Moon could get your adrenaline rushing in order for you to kick some angel butt, but it really works. In typical Devil May Cry style, the main battle music is written and performed by the lead vocalist to heavy rock band, Hyonogaja, and really gets you in a button bashing mood. Without these key songs would you really have had as much desire to pummel those enemies and finish off the game? Perhaps not.

Fallout 3 is a rare example where older songs are used for the soundtrack, and Galaxy News Radio is a pure stroke of genius that left me riveted with every song, no matter how often they were replayed. Fallout New Vegas featured a similar soundtrack, but for some reason it just didn’t hit the same chords for me.

Galaxy News Radio was a unique twist on Video Game Music

Galaxy News Radio was a unique twist on Video Game Music

The true test of video game music though, is when you decide whether you want to listen to it outside of their game worlds. The music of Final Fantasy has its very own concert touring the world at the moment; Distant Worlds. The giant Halo series has even had a concert hosted in its honour, with fans flocking to listen to the live soundtrack and relive some of their favourite moments. If that doesn’t tell you the quality of what we are caressing our eardrums with, then I don’t know what will.

I can personally spend hours playing Persona 3 and not get bored of the battle music. I even listen to the soundtrack in my iTunes library when I start to get a bit of withdrawal. There are however some games that demand you mute them and create your own soundtrack. The music in Blue Dragon was one of these games. Every boss battle had the same annoying heavy rock track on an endless loop. There was no way I could sit through that, so I had to make my own amusement. I also did the same with World of Warcraft whenever I got stuck into a day-long session on the epic MMORPG because chirping birds does get a bit boring after a while.

Halo has a beautiful soundtrack with a plethora of fans

Halo has a beautiful soundtrack with a plethora of fans

MTV has dished out awards for the best video game soundtracks in the past, and of course the BAFTAs have recognized the medium of the game soundtrack in their annual video game awards. Music is just as important in games as it in film and television it would seem.

My point is without the music, gaming may not be what it is today. Without background ditties to hum along to and dramatic battle sounds, games might feel static and lifeless. Sure, some hit the mark where others fall short, but let us take a moment to appreciate what we so often forget is a vital cog in the gaming machine.


Ramblings of a Gaming Girl reaches 10,000 hits!

I’ve been so busy with the man coming to stay, and then relatives coming the day after that I never got chance to update when I reached 10,000 hits! I’m over the moon that I’ve had so many people look at my (sometimes silly) ramblings on the gaming world. Lets raise a glass to the next 10,000 hits 😉

On a more gaming related theme, I’ve been quite busy recently on the Xbox. I’ve managed to procure some intermittent internet connection and have been updating my games and downloading the on disc DLC I was never able to do before. Today I also sorted out my PSN account as it was tied to a dead email address. I was going to sign in and download Legend of Dragoon, but it appears that the May 1st release date has not happened? Someone please correct me if I am wrong. There appear to be some good games on the PSP available to download as well (RPGs, of course) so that’s charging at the moment. The sun is shining and everyone is outside, but I’m inside on my consoles having a great day. Before anyone criticises me for staying inside, I’m pale with red hair, so the sunshine is my worst enemy.

Since procuring this unknown internet connection, I downloaded a little Xbox Arcade game called Trouble Witches NEO. It’s a great little game, and it was only 400MSP. It’s a little repetitive at times, but it is a port of a Japanese arcade bullet shooter. It’s very similar to Deathsmiles, but it’s nowhere near as overly complicated or full of lag. Most of all it’s just a cute little game to pass the time with if you’re a fan of anything Japanese or anime related. It’s got a cute little shop where you can buy power ups from, and loads of different modes so it really is excellent value for money.

On a side as well, I went to the National Media Museum in Bradford one of the days the man came to stay, and we had a great time. They’ve got a Games Lounge with all the retro classics, including some up to date games for people to go and have a little play with. The older games such as Pacman, Frogger and Donkey Kong were 20p to play which I thought was a bargain. The other, bigger arcade machines with games such as Street Fighter and a bigger version of Pacman were 50p a go, still a bargain.

There was a big section all about the internet, and the progression of internet technology since, I think, the 1970s. If you live in Yorkshire, or if you’re planning a holiday to the North and are interested in everything media related, then please visit. It’s free to enter, it’s got a cinema on the side, and you can easily kill an entire day there. There are also sections on Kodak, television, radio and film. It’s all interactive so you’re not just wandering around a museum that you can’t touch anything in.

For the rest of my pictures from the Museum please go to my Flickr to find them, and feel free to leave a comment.