Video games have managed to grasp tightly to emotions that make us who we are today. Taking us on spiritual, often dangerous yet beautiful and magnificent journeys across vast landscapes and deep storylines. So what lies at the core of what makes the dedicated gamer tick, and continue these harrowing, fanatical adventures, one after another?
During the following weeks we’ll take a closer look at what draws us passionate gamers in. What allows us to dive into these grand encounters, and more importantly, keep coming back for more. From graphics and gameplay, to stories, gorgeous environments and heartening musical scores, we’ll dive deep into the finer aspects of what strikes the vibrant chords of enjoyment in the gaming medium. The elements that keeps the fans magnetically motivated and exciting-ly surprised after each release. So, without further adieu, let’s get started with the first entry in the series, covering the backbone for setting the theme in any game, the musical score.
Soundtracks and scores in the gaming genre have proven catchy, corny, beautiful, chilling, as well as a variety of other emotions that come to mind. While mostly instrumental, many games paint an image of the occurring theme, or in some cases can describe the story without lifting a single narrative line, through the score alone. From the 8 bit Nintendo days to the modern era of heavily orchestrated RPGs and shooters, games of all types, from all eras provide rich songs and soundtracks as a part of the foundation for any great story.
The old retro sounds from the early days, for example, have given new meaning to computerized song. Games like Final Fantasy, Street Fighter and even Sonic the Hedgehog gave gamers an adrenaline rush when they needed with quick notes in what could be some of the most addictive musical scales we’ve heard, somber moments with soft piano-like “bit” notes, or even heroic anthems sending chills down the players spine; with long-held notes that resemble the horn section of any great ensemble. The classics of yesterday have laid the groundwork for what sticks in our heads in today’s modern era.
A lot of game developing companies today are well-equipped with talented and creative musicians and orchestras, with the skills to set music to any theme in any given story. Games like The Last of Us, The Witcher, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and of course The Legend of Zelda are just a small number of titles with outstanding scores with an emotional attachment deeply rooted in the molding. Eloquent violins and cellos strengthen their sounds as the tension grows, single piano notes flutter gracefully in passionate fashion across the keys, all while the resonating bass stands boldly above the rest of the orchestra. Even the intimidating chants of the Dragonborn in the above mentioned Skyrim entries bring forth powerful echoes of rhythm in the heat of battle.
Between the bit sounds strung together in song-like fashion from the early years, the low-res audio recordings and orchestras from the era to follow, to where we are now with massive projects and hi-definition musical scores filled with enlightening themes and threatening verses, gaming has given many fans a diverse musical library throughout the years. One out of the many aspects that separates the art(s) of the video game industry from other entertainment mediums, the wonderful sounds and songs that take us along for an always memorable ride.