Soundtracks and Theme Music Differentiate Great Games from Iconic Games


Serge Sinyutin

    When you think of music in video games, you think of the iconic soundtracks of Super Mario Bros, Tetris and Halo just to name a few. These games have soundtracks that are often regarded as the greatest in video games’ short but impressive history. However with the rapid advancements in technology accompanying video games, soundtracks and theme songs have changed dramatically and have become a crucial part of the storytelling process.

Why Music and Soundtracks are so important

Music is a tool that can influence emotion and can establish the tone of a story being told. Within film, many fans look at the soundtrack as a foundation to set the scene. This is not much different in the video game industry. The nature of video games allows a more immersive experience than movies or animated series. Your decisions as a gamer determine the visual interaction. That means the sound is the key sense you can use to enhance how you perform in a game. When there is an upbeat or unique soundtrack playing, the player is more engaged in the game, therefore creating a memorable experience. Record labels and artists can fill this gap and produce music that is enriching and more engaging to gamers – music that matches the kind of gaming experience most players may be looking for. 

In recent years games developers, especially within the Horror genre, have become masters of creating soundtracks that have a terrifying feeling and an atmosphere that keeps you on the edge of your seat. Games such as Dead Space already have a scary concept and gameplay. When you add in the soundtrack, the tension and the atmosphere becomes a lot more intense. Another great example is Doom. Doom was a success amongst players. This was due to the award winning soundtrack that was created by Mick Gordon. It’s easy to see why with tracks such as “Rip and Tear”. Imagine hearing this song whilst running around with hellish demons hunting you down. The way it pulls you in and creates an adrenaline rush is unmatched by many other standard gaming soundtracks. On the other hand, music can be peaceful and elegant as in Minecraft’s case. The high chimes and calm ambient sounds help players stay calm and engaged for hours in the endless Minecraft universe. 

The Right Sound for the Right Scene

 For gamers to perform at the peak, they must be more creative and excited to play. Creativity comes with a calm mind, which good music can easily provide. Just like in the traditional film industry, music can make a scene more enjoyable to viewers. Upbeat music can easily transform a slow  scene and make you more inspired and excited about the game. Without the right music in the game, some scenes become boring, and you feel like something is dragging. The right music enhances focus and performance in a video game. It inspires gamers to play for longer, remain creative, active, and more delighted to win. As big-budget games deliver cinematic experiences, storylines, and excellent acting talent, they also invest in compelling and engaging soundtracks. Some of the most successful gaming franchises have seen their tracks and theme songs become popularized over decades. Having iconic soundtracks attached and associated with a game can prolong the longevity of it well past its prime playing years. 

Live Radio Music and Concerts in Games

While music can complement gaming, musicians are increasingly reaching audiences inside game worlds. Top online games now draw millions of players daily. Some have in-game radio stations that feature exclusive new music releases from top artists, even offering those artists roles in the game’s story.  Others are producing music events that bring musicians into larger-than-life immersive experiences, selling digital and physical merchandise along the way. One of the biggest reasons GTA V is such a successful franchise is because of the in-game radio. The radio consists of many relative genres and plays some of the most iconic songs. There is  nothing better than blasting Los Santos Radio while speeding through the GTA universe in Lamborghini. More and more gaming companies are looking into this live radio approach, as FacePunch, the company behind the survival game Rust, introduced their own version of live radios available to most players. But Fortnite took it one step further, where it organized multiple live concert events in game, which featured some of the biggest names in the music industry today. Such events and collaborations will keep taking place in many future games. 

As video games have become more and more mainstream, the soundtracks have gotten bigger and a lot more impressive. This trend can only continue in the coming years, which is a good sign for both the video game industry and the music industry. 



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