Editor's Note: Symphony of Destruction

Symphony of Destruction

Photo-realistic graphics may get the glory, but it's music that does the lion's share of the work in making a game feel like a movie.

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I always love how games advance dynamic music more and more. I was playing Bioshock 2 recently, and there was an excellent moment when you're underwater for the first time, and the grand music plays as you see the city. It swells until you catch glimpse of a big sister, to when it suddenly jumps to a sting, and fades off quickly. This all happens in game, and it all meshes really organically. It doesn't just suddenly jump, but transition in as it it were always written that way; a subtle sign of the dangers that go with this picturesque city.

I was incredibly impressed.

As nice as the epic symphonic soundtracks of modern games are, I will always prefer the classic 8 and 16 bit sounds of old. I recently discovered the GB Sounds item in Pokemon SoulSilver and I've been playing it about 10 times as much just for the nostalgia trip.

And, my favorite game, Wario Land 3, has a FANTASTIC soundtrack.

I feel like those trailers were bad examples of your point. The music wasn't the only thing that was switched up; there seemed to be visual and narrative effects added.

im just here to point out that gripping music can really change the way we feel about a game. i mean, those trailers really sell the idea.

also, the title of the article is a reference to a Megadeth song

\m/

Azaraxzealot:
im just here to point out that gripping music can really change the way we feel about a game. i mean, those trailers really sell the idea.

also, the title of the article is a reference to a Megadeth song

\m/

Fuck yeah, that was my first thought too, Megadeth \m/!

By the way, your video won't play, so I will paste it in your place.

And by the way...

Ugh!!!!!!!

In that Shining video they just had to show him making out with that ...disgusting lady didn't they?

Music's definitely important. I think it was Tommy Tallarico who once noted video game composers get more praise and exposure than the artists. Long before Michael Giacchino became a Hollywood hotshot and J.J. Abrams' go-to guy, I knew him as the brilliant composer of the early Medal of Honor games, which were such a great homage to the classic WWII action flicks before the huge tidal wave of WWII FPSes had started.

Also, love those fake trailers! This is another one of my favourites:

Bullitt is a film I tried watching when I was 18 because it was supposed to be such a classic. I didn't really appreciate it then, but I think I should give it another look. It's true the car chase isn't gripping by today's standards, but it was the first really good one committed to film. And those 60s and 70s jazz soundtracks are just killer.

That Sleepless in Seattle trailer reminded me of this:

Excellent article! The first game soundtrack that really got me was that of Turrican (I and II C64 and Amiga 500) by Chris HŁelsbeck

I do have to ask though, why is that an edition about music in videogames only really had half the articles about the theme? And they were the shortest ones as well.

CitySquirrel:
I feel like those trailers were bad examples of your point. The music wasn't the only thing that was switched up; there seemed to be visual and narrative effects added.

you're referring to the addition of montage elements, right?

Azaraxzealot:
you're referring to the addition of montage elements, right?

Sure...

I have not seen any of those trailers in their true forms, so I wouldn't know exactly, but with the Sleepless in Seattle one, there were rapid cuts to black and back to the footage that one only sees in horror movie trailers. Also, for the shining trailer, the voice over seemed to be a different voice over than what would be on the actual movies trailer. It emphasized adult and child coming together to teach each other something. I would have to see the actual trailer that was taken from to compare, but I feel like other alterations were made.

Edit: the Sleepless in Seattle one, at least, was recut. So it isn't just different music that changes it.

Great contrast in those videos. I think because there are so many complex parts to making a game that details like music are looked over sometimes for better.

I disagree about music in retro gaming being less important or less potent, or indeed 'bad'. Most of what we get in modern games is thoughtlessly piled on orchestra, which works to some extent but is entirely forgetable, and easily ignored.

Music in 8 and 16 bit games was often bad, true, but then so were alot of the games. If we can discount these extremes we'll find countless examples of music contributing to the atmosphere of the games, and some music which is especially impressive given the technology that was available.

The purpose of older music was pretty much filler to make the game seem more alive, and several of them have become classic songs in their own right. There are web sites dedicated to older video game music. I love how Persona 3 and 4 both came with their soundtracks in the standard editions of their games. The remake of Persona 1 also came with a soundtrack, which I find pretty impressive.

While we're posting video remakes...

Bonus points for including Bullitt, but I think that scene in particular also has to be taken into context. If you've seen the movie up to that point, you know something is about to happen, so the jazz build up just builds the scene's tension. Taken out of context of the preceeding scenes and encounters with the black Charger, however, it does seem a tad dull.

 

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