Games are interactive
films. Having studied composition for film I know about the interaction
between moving images and music. I'm interested in how the interactive
nature of games is related to the music. With more and more book/film/game
projects, such as the Harry Potter® series, Lord of the Rings® and Star
Wars®, the use of film/game music in games/films is increasing.
Game music is interactive; to an extent,
you can choose when to move from scene to scene. You might argue that,
as a gamer, you're being a composer/arranger by choosing when to move
to the next scene and hence deciding when to move to the next music
In games like Shadowbane™,
"the first dynamic MMO to allow the players to affect the world.";
"Much of the land [...] is player-owned
and player-controlled, so as Empires and Kingdoms begin to form, you
can expect the worlds to be constantly changing, making it very exciting
and sometimes even dangerous to explore."
Do you just cut the music to another clip
or try to make the music so it makes sense? The music/game has to make
sense! If you cut or change the music mid-scene' then the player might
lose their flow of thought, become removed from being immersed in the
flow of the story. Generally, changes happen much more frequently in games than in films, and the composer
can't determine exactly when the changes will happen (the player does
that) so they have to think alot about how different music clips (or
"cues") relate, interact, start and finish. If, as a gamer, you can
move from one scene to another at any point...then the music can change
at any point too, and has to make as much sense as the visual change.
Fantasy® (which is a Role Playing Game, or RPG) as an example, a
player (character) will encounters up to 20 fights within one scene,
and everytime a fight starts it will cut out and into a fight scene
piece of music. suddenly stopping the main song and going into different
music, it was almost like a skipping track. The way final fantasy did
it was a main song; perhaps you are strolling in the forest and you
hear slow peaceful music, but if you encounter a fight, it would suddenly
start a fast upbeat cue, drums bashing, bass blazing. Role Playing Games
(Final Fantasy, Zelda™...)
allow players to be a certain character carry out tasks, or "quests".
Other types of game include 'platform' (e.g. Mario Kart™), fighting
(e.g. Street Fighter™). Playing the Final Fantasy series of games
may be akin to watching a long movie since game players follow a story,
whilst some games may involve players doing the same thing(s) over and
over again, for example buying weapons and armour. Some story lines
are free whilst others are relatively restrictve.
"KOTOR II, like its predecessor,
has a truly interactive and open-ended storyline. Does the music reflect
this in any way, or function interactively for the user?
The music system for KOTOR II is relatively simple but it works effectively
for the title. The gameplay in KOTOR II is very open ended. The player
can chose which planets to go to next and the dialog choices will affect
the plot, particularly in terms of whether one chooses the Dark Side
or Light Side, but the major plot events are still connected to specific
locations. Because of this, I was able to take the plot into account
when composing the music for the different planets. Theme music for
the main characters was triggered during some of the in-game cut scenes
as well as some stingers for certain game events that we felt should
be punctuated with musical gestures-- battle loops are triggered when
the player enters a battle sequence."
"Just as the Star Wars movies have themes
based on particular characters, did you choose this thematic form of
composition for the characters in KOTOR II?
Yes, I created themes for many of the main characters in KOTOR II. I
also created a player theme that I used throughout the game. I took
elements from the player theme and incorporated them into the area themes
for different locations in the game. This helped to create a sense of
continuity and immerse the player into the gameplay."
"Nintendo releases Super Mario Bros. for the NES. ...composer Shigeru
Miyamoto....Constantly shifting tone to match the action onscreen...a
new kind of
with the gameplay. ...music and sound cues....video
game sound design
begins to move in a new direction, away from cinematic
and toward something altogether new."
"Final Fantasy Debuts; Nobuo Uematsu breaks entirely new ground
his sweeping and cinematic musical scores..."
"The Mean Streets of Rage; Sega releases Streets of Rage for the Genesis
A classic side-scrolling beat-'em-up, the game's techno soundtrack
takes full advantage
of the Genesis system's advanced sound hardware.
The songs include rumbling
drum samples, sticky melodies, and innovative
use of stereo effects."
"Final Fantasy's Apex; Character-specific leitmotivs recur throughout
and the sheer variety of styles employed is audacious"
"Sony PlayStation Arrives; Sony releases the 32-bit PlayStation in the
at a price of $299. The 24-channel sound chip provides
stereo sound and has built-in support for digital effects
such as reverb and looping"
1996; "Psygnosis unveils WipeOut XL for
the PlayStation. The kicking techno soundtrack includes contributions
from marquee names such as The Chemical Brothers, The Prodigy,
Sound of London. You can even choose the track you want to listen to
you race, which truly makes the music seem more important to gameplay."
www.ocremix.org - "OverClocked ReMix is a website dedicated to reviving the video and
computer game music of yesterday, and reinterpreting that of today,
with new technology & capabilities. This site's mission is to prove
that this music is not disposable or merely just background, but is
as intricate, innovative, and lasting as any other form."
www.vgdj.net - "The Wingless and Pixietricks discuss the world of OverClocked ReMix,
a community dedicated to the appreciation and reinterpretation of video
AudioGang - "The Game Audio Network Guild (G.A.N.G.) is a non-profit organization
established to educate the masses in regards to interactive audio...Video
games, websites, location based entertainment, PDA's, cell phones, toys,
handhelds, edutainment, gambling machines and/or any other forms of
interactive entertainment or media are covered under the G.A.N.G. umbrella"
1) 'popularize video-game music By performing and recording music from
game soundtracks inc Super Mario Brothers, Final Fantasy, Halo 2. 2)
enhance the image of the piano and to make the piano a more mainstream
instrument'.....3) "popularize classical music by performing video game
music; video game music is performed on classical instruments, such
as a piano or a full orchestra. [...]. Additionally, they will realize
that pianos and orchestras perform classical music as well as video
game music, and that will get people interested in classical music!"
'Major U.S. video game music concert tour; think music concert, theatrical
stage show, and interactive video game all wrapped into one. A handful
of lucky audience members will be selected to come up on stage and actually
play a video game while the orchestra plays interactively with them!'
"As Gizmodo is to gadgets, so Kotaku is to computer games. Edited by
Brian D. Crecente, Kotaku provides hourly links and commentary for obsessive
gamers—and explores the cultural ramifications interesting enough
to attract a wider audience."
MMORPGs (massively multi-player
online role playing games);
Anarchy Online (Copyright Funcom 1999 - 2005)
Shadowbane (trademark of Wolfpack Studios, Inc)
world of warcraft (trademark of Blizzard Entertainment inc, 2007)
Harry Potter is a trademark
Star Wars is a registered
trademark of Lucasfilm Ltd.
Lord of the Rings is a trademark
Final Fantasy is a trademark
is a registered trademark of Sega Corporation.
Sony and "PlayStation"
are registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.
Kart, Mario, Zelda are
trademarks of Nintendo 1987-2005 ©