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Much like films, video games require a strong musical component to enhance the experience. Video games are often led by engaging storytelling which leads to a cinematic experience for the player. Without the right musical support, the poignancy of a climactic story is lost. Thus, as much as video game developers have been working on creating stories that captivate their fans, the music producers themselves have been working hard on doing the same.

Electronic entertainment has come a long way since the days of 8-Bit soundtracks from beloved classics such as, Super Mario Bros. Some of the greatest games of all time have been backed up by a legendary musical soundtrack. Moreover, some games themselves have built the gameplay around the soundtrack itself, introducing a vitality to the musicality of video games like never before.

Super Mario 3D World 8-bit

Long gone are the days of 8-Bit soundtracks, such as those for Super Mario Bros

When video games first emerged in the 1970’s, the music was generated via synthesized chips, in a musical style called “chiptune.” As video games evolved into elaborate storytelling experiences, so did the music, as it became a way for information to be communicated to the gamer. And thus, the soundtrack was born. Composers now focus on captivating the emotional side of players, enveloping them in worlds they indirectly belong to and, connecting them with scenic adventures in emotive ways.

Creating Atmosphere: How Music Enhances Games

Appropriate music accompaniment can speak loads about the world of the protagonist, allowing for the gamer to immerse him/herself into the world with an intricate understanding of its ambience. Whether your protagonist experiences the music through radio stations (like in Grand Theft Auto) or symphonically (as in orchestrated games like, Skyrim), the music creates an energy and understanding of their world at large. During particular moments, the music can move us to react psychologically or emotionally which also triggers a consequential action in how we play the game. Let’s have a look at some examples.

In the space age game genre, it’s common to find orchestrated music to support the epic nature of the theme. Enormous, majestic spacecrafts, other-wordly wars, the immensity of the galaxial worlds and the bravery of adventurous characters are all enhanced by a strong orchestra. Examples of these include Skyrim, League of Legends and Eve Online.

The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim

Skyrim’s orchestral musical accompaniment enhances the epic experience

Thrill-seeking, war and first person shooter games, for instance, also have a certain musical accompaniment that reinforces their themes and genres. These games require a louder, rebellious and more aggressive type of music to coincide with the riotous nature of the gaming experience. In fact, many underground and independent musicians have spawned from the video game realm, having been introduced to the mainstream through their association to some of the biggest gaming hits in the

Sites for online bingo like LuckyCowBingo, as another example, rely heavily on bubbly, dynamic music to keep with the spirit of quick slots and an eagerness to hit the jackpots. As the repetitiveness of spinning wheels can become quickly monotonous, a fun musical element will keep the motivation of the player alive. Tons of slot games are themed as well, from pirate themes to ancient relic themes, which provides for interesting musical backing as well for each game.

Rhythm games can attribute their popularity to how they provide players with the ultimate fulfilment; performing as a well-known musician. Examples of these include the favoured Rock Band and Guitar Hero games. Fans of Guitar Hero can mimic the agility and passion of iconic rock artists with their plastic guitars while Rock Band allows for a collective group to come together and form a band. Essentially, these games bring fantasies to life in a way that other games, and musical instruments for that matter, can’t. Given the opportunity to play as a group or autonomously, to some of the greatest songs ever written, while seeing yourself on stage, creates a persona that might have otherwise been lost to those who dream of stardom and fame. Featuring some of most legendary music, from the Rolling Stones to Metallica, Guitar Hero and Rock Band have continue to develop into niche games, offering players the opportunity to also be a member of specific bands as opposed to playing one-off songs.

Guitar Hero logo

Rhythm games, like Guitar Hero, bring legendary rock music back into popularity

For billions of people around the world, music is the ultimate form of expression. Speaking to people on a profound level, emotionally and psychologically, music can often evoke feelings surrounding a theme, environment or scenario better than other mediums. The video game world has a deeply rooted history in music, solidifying the harmony, so to speak, between the two.