A short history of music in gaming

No Comments 28 March 2017

A short history of music in gaming

Nowadays, music and gaming go hand in hand and share mutually beneficial relationship. Using music effectively in video games can help make or break the conclusion of a level - use the right music and you have an emotional climax on your hands that will leave players desperate for more.

Alternatively, using the wrong music or no sound at all may put a dampener on the game leading to players turning their nose up at it.

These days, gaming apps, mobile gaming websites and even online casinos utilise soundtracks to improve user experience. Sites like europalace.com place a heavy focus on in-game sound to enhance the overall feel for the user, particularly for slots. This helps build up a solid returning customer base who enjoy the immersive experience audio brings.

Many of the soundtracks found on online casino sites are upbeat and cheery which helps to create a feel-good factor about playing. The delightful little tunes that are triggered when a player wins are a great touch and add a personal touch to the game.

Many of the industry’s biggest stars such as Britney Spears, Elton John, Dolly Parton and The Rolling Stones have also lent their work to developers making for a more entertaining experience for users.
 
  But where did this love story between
music and gaming all begin? Video games as they are today first appeared in the late 1970s. The most popular of games included arcade games and console versions of those arcade games which proved the most popular.

The soundtrack of games then was created by simple synthetic chips. These generated sounds that became known as a chiptune and this replaced the numbing silence of games or irritating beeps and bleeps.

As the video games themselves began to develop, so did the music to go with the games. Dynamic soundtracks were no longer a one off thing on games here and there but they were now the norm and developers began to use music to directly deliver information to players.

As technology advanced, consoles boasted more advanced sound chips allowing composers to become more creative. Transitioning from the 1980s to the 90s, electro bassline and trance electronic music became popular in video games, particularly shoot-out games.

The 2000s proved to be the real game changer for music as the introduction of software such as Dolby Digital meant consoles could transform the depth and complexity of game soundtracks, and thanks to increased memory rams, rather than having just one competitive track there could be several.

Popular musicians began composing music for games and several games have been hailed for their impressive soundtracks.   Silent Hill 3 is just one of many that has been acclaimed for its soundtrack. Akira Yamaoka’s work is a brilliant mix of rock, industrial, drone and trip hop.

The quiet lullaby-esque strums of End of Small Sanctuary pave the way into a counter melody that sounds like Joy Division’s version of peaceful. Breeze In Moncohrome Night adds an air of contained furious ecstasy with a cresting, looping piano and this helps to add some intensity to the game.
 
Music in gaming has developed into a completely new industry in its own right. Composers are continuously developing new methods of making music to create better experiences for gamers and with soundtracks improving year on year.

We can’t wait to see what the future holds.

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