Music is a wonderful medium, isn’t it? Do you know that tingling sensation accompanied by goosebumps that then travels through your spine all over your body, perhaps better known to many internet users of modern times as the term: ‘eargasm’? We’ve all had it, this wonderful phenomenon.
What makes it even more special for us gamers is that the visual and interactive aspect that comes with gaming, the feeling that you experience in, for example, an emotional or a so-called ‘epic moment’ is reinforced by the supporting audio. Ultimately, it’s about what triggers the music for emotions in you as a gamer and it’s the job of the composer of the soundtrack and the rest of the audio team to implement the music in such a way that it comes into its own.
Of course, the first thing that is looked at is what kind of music suits a certain type of game. This requires that the composer initially knows what the purpose of the game is. He/she can then respond to this when he/she composes the soundtrack. Just like Call of Dragons (visit https://cod.guide/ to learn more), almost every game is a good example in itself, but to take a nice recent example of this is the yet-to-be-released sci-fi game Remember me.
In Remember me, a female so-called ‘memory hunter’ named Nilin plays the leading role. The story takes place in the fictional Neo-Paris in 2084. Science is already so advanced that it offers the possibility to completely manipulate everyone’s memory. Memory has even become a commodity and can be bought, exchanged, and sold. Nilin’s former employer Memorize has erased her memory to defuse her and it’s now left to her to find out why this happened and how to reverse it. Sounds like a heavy emotional plot, you might think, and you’re right. You can imagine what it would do to a person if something like this happened to you. You get completely lost, or to say the least extremely disoriented.
The composer of the game, Olivier Deriviere, ingeniously responds to all the confusion that goes on in Nilin’s mind by incorporating a lot of distortion and dissonance into the music. This results (in some simple words) in a kind of faltering and ‘torn’ music that accentuates Nilin’s chaotic situation very well at certain points. How he managed to do that, he tells in the video below. The stuttering beat is especially good to hear from 4:00.
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One of the most beautiful soundtracks I’ve ever heard in the gaming scene so far is from a game I haven’t even played to this day: Nier. Although in Dutch it shares the same name with an important aspect of our intestines, it has nothing to do with it. No, it’s the name of the protagonist in this JRPG, whose daughter has been stricken with a disease known as “the Black Scrawl.” You follow him in his distressed (not to mention, monsters) quest to find a cure that may cure the disease.
The game goes through life as reputable by some and despised by others, although I believe that those who despised it were little familiar with the more or less niche genre in the West that is the JRPG. Those who were singing nothing but hymns about the overall experience Nier had to offer, and the soundtrack in particular turned out to be an unexpectedly big plus for many. See for yourself why below.
If you are still not convinced of the power that music has, then I would like to challenge you to play an iconic game for you with your TV or monitor on mute. I myself was brawling to a friend in Super Smash Bros. Because he was called, we were forced to turn off the volume knob completely. After only a minute or so he was ready, but we still played without sound. What a boring lot it had become! Only then do you notice how much you miss the Pokémon Stadium tune and all the explosive sound effects that come with it when you knock someone out of the picture by 140%?
So a memorable soundtrack really has the power to take a game to the next level. Do you have games of which you almost adore the soundtrack and/or the sound effects? Then mention them in the comments below, with the title, if you know it. Music is there to share and enjoy, isn’t it?