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What Do You Love/Hate About Video Game Soundtracks?

04-22-2012, 06:30 AM
#1
Joined: Apr 2012
Location: Illinois
Posts: 177
What Do You Love/Hate About Video Game Soundtracks?

Ok, I admit that, as a composer, I'm doing a little R&D with this thread However, Im a huge fan of game music first and foremost, that's what got me into creating it! I thought this would be a fun topic either way.

What do you guys love/hate about soundtracks for games?

I love soundtracks that add to the atmosphere of a game. I think one of the all-time best examples of this is the Metroid series (not iOS, but the best example). A lot of newer iOS games are starting to improve in this aspect as well.

I'm not a fan of generic electronic/techno in games of all types. I love this style of music (heck, I create it for some games), but in a lot of games, it just seems kind of thrown in with little thought to the games environment or feeling.

BeatScribe
Original Songs For Less Than $100 Per Song [samples]
04-22-2012, 06:36 AM
#2
Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 1,074
I personally like music that adapts to the gameplay. Music that's just playing all the way through the game on full volume doesn't do anything for me.

I think music can be much more effective if it adapts as you play. For example, when you're fighting against a boss or have completed an objective, music to reflect that is always pretty good.

I know this is a bit clichèd, but I think that the Call of Duty series has always been good at hitting that intense music at the right time to get your heart racing.

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Last edited by madmud101; 04-22-2012 at 07:07 AM.

04-22-2012, 06:39 AM
#3
Joined: Apr 2012
Location: Illinois
Posts: 177
I agree! Dynamic music is a pain for programmers/musicians, but it can be really cool when done right. I've actually been experimenting with that myself... Instruments joining the existing song when you get near enemies and things like that. I think I first saw that in the Zelda games for 64 (although it just added a little minor key to the music). The new FF games do that AMAZINGLY.

BeatScribe
Original Songs For Less Than $100 Per Song [samples]
04-25-2012, 12:18 AM
#4
Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 551
I love music that syncs up well with the situation in the game and emotionally invests you in what is going on
04-25-2012, 02:59 AM
#5
Joined: Apr 2012
Posts: 11
Game music which has a recognizable melody is often the most successful game music. Take Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim's soundtracks. That melodic theme is something I can hum, so it sticks in my head easily (plus the music is epic :P ). Same with Age of Empires, Pirates of the Caribbean (the movie, but the point still stands), StarCraft, Super Mario, et cetera.

Plus what everyone else has said.

Red classic.
04-25-2012, 07:37 AM
#6
Joined: Apr 2012
Location: Illinois
Posts: 177
Quote:
Originally Posted by BirdieNZ View Post
That melodic theme is something I can hum, so it sticks in my head easily (plus the music is epic :P ).

Amen to that! Thats something I feel some games have gotten away from in the last few years. Classic games had melody-packed songs. Now its a little less common. Some games just have brooding orchestra or chugging guitars. It works but you don't remember it.

BeatScribe
Original Songs For Less Than $100 Per Song [samples]
04-25-2012, 07:58 AM
#7
Joined: Mar 2012
Location: Italy
Posts: 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by BirdieNZ View Post
Game music which has a recognizable melody is often the most successful game music. Take Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim's soundtracks. That melodic theme is something I can hum, so it sticks in my head easily (plus the music is epic :P ). Same with Age of Empires, Pirates of the Caribbean (the movie, but the point still stands), StarCraft, Super Mario, et cetera.

Plus what everyone else has said.
Nice thread by the way! For a music addict like me, a perfect soundtrack is always a must, even in games!

What BirdieNZ says is so true! the fact is..if the music sticks in your head and makes you hum..the game becomes even more attractive. It's really a good thing developers are starting to improve this aspect.
And of course the music should follow not only the gameplay and also the various dynamics (bosses, achievements, enemies), but also the "spirit of the game". And why not...the local settings? if it's important to the game...

Some simple and linear games can become very "epic", or "cool" or "funky"..or even "rock" (fast and furious OST always comes to my mind when I think of racing games!!) with the right background effects.
The music should be something that gets you in the mood of that particular game!..and most important...doesn't annoy you!
04-25-2012, 08:09 AM
#8
Joined: Apr 2012
Location: Illinois
Posts: 177
Agreed. Thats why we all remember Super Mario Bros or Original Zelda. Its little bleeps but the melody was SO CATCHY. I think some people think you can't have orchestral music and melody. But there are enough games out there that pull it off. I always try to incorporate a main theme or melody into at least part of a song.

BeatScribe
Original Songs For Less Than $100 Per Song [samples]
04-25-2012, 08:30 AM
#9
Joined: Mar 2012
Location: Italy
Posts: 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by BeatScribe View Post
Agreed. Thats why we all remember Super Mario Bros or Original Zelda. Its little bleeps but the melody was SO CATCHY. I think some people think you can't have orchestral music and melody. But there are enough games out there that pull it off. I always try to incorporate a main theme or melody into at least part of a song.
Main theme is definitely a must! it's like the refrain in a song...Maybe you don't remember the whole song..but you'll certainly can sing its refrain!

And orchestral music is the colour you add to the image. Don't you think some particular theme suits perfectly to some images?
As jazz and swing suits perfectly to black and white bogart movies..or opera and gothic, with a pinch of metal, it's the icing on the cake of some epic fantasy movies, and in this case, RPG or Adventure games.
Or syncopated (can you say "syncopated" in english? ), funky or even disco rhythms goes for arcade, comic or animated funny games!

always IMO
04-27-2012, 08:42 AM
#10
Joined: Jan 2010
Location: Europe
Posts: 518
It's really great if the music itselfs would work as a "stand alone". If you could enjoy the soundtrack alone would be a nice goal. Of course the soundtrack should match the situation.

Offtopic.
For iOS I really appreciate the possibility to use a soundtrack on my own over the Music / iPod app. (Why not THPS2 ??!!?? )