Today I’d like to discuss something very important to me as a gamer. It’s something that is overlooked by many of today’s gamers but only because they wouldn’t notice it unless it didn’t exist. Those who do appreciate its part in our hobby know how powerful and experience-changing it can be. I am talking of course about music.
My love and appreciation for the time that some developers put into their game soundtracks first came about when I played my beloved childhood PC game, “Black Hawk Down” (which I still play to this day). As I ran through the war-torn streets of Somalia, trying to keep myself, my squad and my rescued civilians alive, the music that the game provided me with has always left me with an incredible sense of awe. It’s that sense of “being there” that you get when you combine the epic scenery of “Avatar” with the booming music that accompanies it (which contributed largely to the movie’s success).
This is the sort of immersion that makes a game legendary; when the developers are able to make you care so much about what you are doing and have the music set just the right tone for what you need to accomplish. Long story short, I soon bought the game’s soundtrack because of how much it stuck with me, and I cannot express enough how much I love it. It’s easily one of the best musical compositions ever written, in my opinion.
And all for a video game! Not that video games don’t deserve that sort of attention to sound detail, but they rarely acquire it when deserved. This makes the games that do have epic scores, well, that much more epic.
At this moment, I’m listening to a playlist that I created of all the epic musical scores that I’ve encountered throughout my extensive gaming career. This playlist includes incredible, emotional and powerful musical accomplishments from top-tier games like “Black Hawk Down” (duh), “World of Warcraft” (and every expansion), “Diablo III,” “TES V: Skyrim” and many others. I love songs from composers like Two Steps From Hell, Jeremy Soule and Thomas Bergersen (who I recently discovered and promptly bought his entire album).
The connection I make with this music is unmatched by any other form of media, even the graphical power of today’s games. Yes, I actually think music is more important than any other aspect in a game. That’s how I see it because I cannot imagine how boring a game like “Skyrim” would become without its music supporting you through your adventures.
As a whole, my favorite genre of music could be called, for lack of a better term, “fantasy” (some call it world music). Either way, music that’s found in immersive games like “Guild Wars” and “WoW” has always grabbed me and my group of friends as the most mesmerizing genre.
To the “WoW” fans out there: How could you forget the sense of adventure you felt when you heard the booming music of the Lich King fight? Or maybe you remember how you felt when you first went through Illidan’s demon gate into Hellfire Peninsula (one of my favorite “WoW” regions) and heard the amazing music that accompanied your shock of seeing a Fel Reaver or the magnificent sky?
I’m lucky enough to have lots of great music from my time as a gamer. While I wish more people would appreciate the work it takes to add a great score to games, it’s wonderful that most of us do know how important of an aspect it really is.