Has Video Game Music Lost its Way?

Hardcore Gamer: When someone asks you “what’s the best piece of video game music you can think of?”, what do you say? The theme from Super Mario Brothers? Sonic the Hedgehog 2’s Chemical Plant Zone? Gruntilda’s Lair from Banjo-Kazooie? But would you ever think of a game like Mass Effect, Resident Evil or Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell? Probably not. Some of the most legendary gaming chords to be strummed have emerged from those retro games, those pixelated classics that gamers love playing, those beeping symphonies that have since been remixed dozens of times by avid online musicians. But why is that? Why do we think of those aged classics when we think of fantastic music in video games? The answer is pretty simple: gaming music has taken an unfortunate nosedive in quality since then. It’s been drained of creativity and has simply become a faceless score behind an action-packed visual foreground.

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admiralvic1638d ago

In a way, I would say so. I don't think myself remembering any game songs quite like Mario or Green Hill Zone.

3-4-51638d ago

* Everybody wants Orchestrated music, but they forget that all the music will sound the same because there are not distinct sounds or unique sounds that make it stand out from the crowd.

SNES games sound unique, and even among those, Super Mario World has even it's own super unique kind of sound to it.

When you here it, you know it's from SMW and no other game.

You don't get that now....a lot of the music just blends together.

Some games still do it right, but it used to be like 70% of game music was really good now it's like 20%.

ChaosKnight1638d ago

It's more impressive than it's ever been, but it's certainly not as memorable. The best film scores (even today) have memorable themes that you can find yourself humming throughout the day. I've yet to had that happen with an orchestrated game score.

GarrusVakarian1638d ago

Skyrim music comes into my head all the time.

The ambient music while exploring was amazing, probably my favourite videogame score of all time.

opoikl1638d ago

Uncharted 2 main theme song says hello.

kalkano1638d ago

True. But, how many films have MULTIPLE catchy themes. Not many. The same is happening in the gaming world. One theme gets slightly modified 5 times. There just isn't much melody, anymore.

Flipgeneral1638d ago

Id say midi songs are also easier to become familiar with. It was more simple.

In modern game music, youre seeing many layers and instruments involved and more elaborate pieces. As oposed to a 1minute track on repeat for the entire stage (eg. Any old school mega man game)

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-Foxtrot1638d ago (Edited 1638d ago )

Seem to Hollywood-ish for my tastes now

Even recently the music in games don't seem like past games

Halo 1-3 compared to Halo 4...there was only one or two songs in the entire soundtrack which sounded Halo like.

Assassins Creed 1 - 2 - Brotherhood/Revelations compared to Assassins Creed 3/4

Mass Effect 3 without Jack Wall

I could go on

GarrusVakarian1638d ago (Edited 1638d ago )

I forgot about Halo 3, i would leave that game at the menu every time i played it to hear the intro theme, same with Skyrim.

I can't remember a single track from Halo 4.

-Foxtrot1638d ago

I think 117 is the only one in the soundtrack to have that Halo feel to it and it's only near the end.

I thought songs like the main Halo theme, One Final Effort and Finish the Fight had a nice little Irish jig to them which was memorable.

I think they need to drop Neil Davidge for Halo 5

GarrusVakarian1638d ago

"I think they need to drop Neil Davidge for Halo 5"

Yep, and Martin needs to come back. But i don't think that's going to happen as Martin said it was a "relief" to leave.

Convas1638d ago (Edited 1638d ago )

"I think 117 is the only one in the soundtrack to have that Halo feel to it and it's only near the end."

117 feels like it'll be the theme for Master Chief going forward.

But no mention of Mantis? Sacrifice? Lasky's Theme? Never Forget (midnight version)? Majestic?

All of those, including 117, were written by Kazuma Jinnouchi, who has now taken over as Lead Composer for the Halo series since it seems Davidge has stepped down.

Seriously though, give some of those a listen if you haven't already. Sacrifice and Majestic ESPECIALLY.

BattleReach1638d ago

Well, the Banjo-Kazooie songs are still stucked in my head.

Fireseed1638d ago

Heck even the Nuts and Bolts soundtrack was pretty good.

Fireseed1638d ago

I sincerely doubt it. Especially after all the great work Mick Gordon did for KI.

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