In truth, music and video games will always go hand in hand. Besides, music has the power to move us on an emotional level. On that somewhat symphonic note; no matter which art form music accompanies, its effectiveness at altering mood and instilling dramatic effect is full proof. That could derive from somber tones which reflect sadness. Or even, thunderous orchestral scores that complement epic action sequences.
Whatever preference, the importance of music, irrespective of the artform, is enormous, and often underestimated. Nowadays, music, though still pivotal in single player stories, has become more or less redundant, what with the industrial enthesis on battle-royale affirming its grip. Or so, that would appear to be the case on reflection.
Though that may be true, there are still many great composers that lend their services to music in video games — however, the evolution of graphics. And, the instant appeal of visual stimulation, plus, a focus on in-game systems, has inadvertently nudged aside music as a top priority.
When I first picked up a pad, music was a critical element to most, if not all, games that I played. If indeed, my memory serves me right. By the way, my love affair with gaming began on the PlayStation and Nintendo 64, back in the mid/late nineties. During which time, games, because of their linear nature, tended to support the action on screen, with a rousing OST. Or rather, a deeply affecting one. Much like movies do, in many respects.
Some of my favourite music in video games from this time would be the sci-fi-infused, electro beats of Perfect Dark, which aptly anchored the tone and feel of the game. Also, Stuart Copeland’s bold and energetic composition to the original Spyro the Dragon encapsulated the other-worldly, mystical allure. But also, the fun-loving charm of Spyro.
Another prime example for me would be Zelda: Ocarina of Time, which cultivated an immense atmosphere. Mainly, via attaching melodic themes to its rich array of temples and dungeons. Similar, in many ways, to David Lynch’s, Twin Peaks, and the music employed to state the presence of each character. Not only that but the ocarina itself; used as an instrument to inject poignancy.
On reflection, it wasn’t until later, that I learned to appreciate the ambient video game music belonging to the original Tomb Raider. Though not nearly as noticeable, the suggestive themes throughout do a fantastic job of capturing a foreboding sense of isolation. And, who can forget the enchanting theme song? If nothing else, a melody that smacks of exploration!
Aside from that, the mystical works of Nobuo Uematsu, have always enchanted me. His dexterous ability to infuse a scene with emotion, no matter which end of the spectrum, amazes me.
Emotion, in many ways, is manufactured via varying forms. Perhaps that sense of full-scale immersion derives from the mood anchoring music of Jeremy Soule? Or the futuristic, yet conspiratorial themes of Deus Ex? All in all, music will always make my heart flutter, on equal par with visual fidelity. Of course, there are too many examples to mention. But hopefully, the few I have offered up here will bring back some pleasant memories from a past era.
With that in mind, the above, are just a handful which had a profound impact on me growing up. Music will always affect people in varying ways. That said, its relevance in video game terms should always be appreciated. At least in my eyes. All in all, I hope that music plays a vital role in video games going forward. Like it has done, for all these years.
We want to know. What is your most cherished OST of all time? In truth, there are some songs, that no matter how old, stay with us for a lifetime. Maybe, you have a classic tune in mind, that gives you a case of the goosebumps? As always, we value your views. So please get in touch.
For more interest pieces, be sure to visit our home hub, updated daily.
Is there a subject you would like us to cover? Get in touch today.