For as long as video games have been around they have almost always been accompanied by music. While the music in gaming has changed over the years the importance of music in games has remained the same. Music in games can be used in a variety of ways, it can be used to provide a cheerful atmosphere like in Super Mario Bros. or it can used to move a player emotionally like in Shadow of the Colossus. No matter the way it is used, the impact music can have on a game is great.
Importance of Music
Music in games are used to set a tone or make the person playing feel an emotion. It is the music in games that can help make a touching scene between two characters go from being just another scene to being one that pulls on the heartstrings of the players. Music has the power to make people feel a range of emotion that very few things can. The combination of the music with a games gameplay can make a typical moment of gameplay become an unforgettable moment. The moment you step out into the world of The Legend of Zelda and you hear the main theme play, makes you feel like you’re about to go on an unforgettable adventure.
One of the best video game soundtracks is the soundtrack from Shadow of the Colossus. The music in the game is some of the most powerful and impactful music in gaming history. Shadow of the Colossus is considered by many to be one of the best games ever created and the soundtrack plays a large part in that. Imagine climbing up a colossus in the game and finally reaching the top of it and hearing the triumphant music playing in the background and making you feel like you accomplished something epic! Now imagine that same scenario but without the music, it loses much of the feeling of accomplishment and epicness that you would feel with the score playing in the background. There are many other scenes and moments in the game that if the music was removed from would not feel as impactful as they are with the music. Shadow of the Colossus, even without its amazing soundtrack would still be a great game but the soundtrack that the game has makes Shadow of the Colossus one of the best games of all-time.
Setting a Tone
Music in games isn’t always trying to make a player feel a emotion or set a tone, sometimes it just wants to make sure it gets stuck in your head and makes you have to hum or whistle it over and over. Mega Man is one series that for the most part doesn’t focus on making a player feel a range of emotions with its music, it just wants to provide a tune that is catchy and something that you won’t get sick of. Whether it be the Crash Man theme or the Wood Man theme the music is meant to be something catchy that will get in your head.
Just because the music is not meant to be emotional or bring emotion to someone doesn’t mean it is any less impactful. If the music in Mega Man was something less catchy it could make players give up quicker after trying to beat a stage because they wouldn’t have that catchy tune that gets stuck in their head and that doesn’t bother them, compared to a song that would make a player want to plug their ears after hearing it over and over. Musics impact on games can be more than bringing tone or emotion to scenes it also can be something that is just nice to listen to.
The Rhythm of Memory
Music has the ability to make you remember games or scenes in a way that just seeing an image typically can’t. If you listen to a song from one of your childhood games you usually think back about not just the game but also what else was going on in your life around the time. Music has a way of associating memories to a certain time in a person’s life. Whenever I hear music from the Crash Bandicoot series I think more than about one of my favorite games, I think about me and my brother sitting in a room together and sharing a controller after each time we would die. The memories of the Crash Bandicoot series’ soundtrack is more than just the game it is memories of my time spent with my brother playing a game we both loved. While many other images, videos or discussions may bring back similar memories of nostalgia, video game music for me at the very least, always brings back memories of more than just the game.
It just goes to show that video games and the music in them have a way of making a person feel emotions of all kinds, ranging from a gloomy song played during a depressing cutscene to a bubbly tune that makes a person nostalgic of a certain time in their life. Whether it be an emotional soundtrack or a catchy tune that makes you hum along, music in games has a way of not only impacting the game it is in but also the person playing it.