Guest Writer: Playing Different Tunes

Once again one of our lovely readers has sent in some of their own content, showing us just how talented you lot really are. This week’s submission comes from rht992, with his thoughts on soundtracks. And remember, if you’ve got your own article you can always send to me at [email protected]haxis.com.

The world of computer games is constantly changing. Graphics are becoming more realistic, plots and characters are being developed to provoke deeper and more emotional connections, online multiplayer is joining people all over the planet and along with the newer innovations of 3D, motion controller gamers are rapidly becoming part of the action. But I’m not here to talk about any of these. I’m here to talk about music.

Computer game soundtracks are becoming more complex, beautiful and engaging. They also provide extreme variation; from the Ennio inspired twang of Red Dead Redemption’s guitars, to the intertwined wonders of Assassin Creed’s futuristic sounding renaissance. The soundtracks, like any component of a game, are there to draw you in. They add to the atmosphere and help to create a believable setting. The radio stations of Grand Theft Auto capture the feel of the city. Enslaved’s melancholy string sections convey a world of destroyed beauty. Action sequences often use music to pack that extra punch. Would ‘Dead Space’ be the same thrill ride without the terrifying screams from the orchestra? Would killing the titans in ‘Castlevania’ have been so epic without the thunderous roars of the original score?

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And of course some computer games rely solely upon the music. I mean ‘Rock Band’ wouldn’t be any good without music would it? It would just be pressing buttons. Who wants to play a computer game where all you’re doing is pressing buttons? That’s just silly.

In my opinion, the soundtracks are just as important as any other aspect of the game. Each part of the game relies on another, games with great game play can be looked down upon because of a rubbish story line and a great script can be ruined by bad sound design and voice acting. Once in a while a game comes along that can combine all these factors to create something wonderful.

However, I’ve recently discovered something even more wonderful. When completely unrelated pieces of music sync up with the game I’m playing. Although I love computer game soundtracks and respect the work put into them, sometimes I just want to turn the sound down on my TV and turn the sound up on my stereo. I’m sure most of you will have tried this. After all, there’s only so much a person can take when it comes to machine gun fire and car engines revving.

On occasions I’ll find I’m getting tired of hearing the same old sounds, the same old songs my games use. So what do I do? Simple really, I stick on some of my own music. Most of the time it’s just any old thing that I’ll play in the background. Something to make getting that kill streak on COD a little less stressful. I’ll be sitting there happily playing away when I’ll hear something. Something which completely changes the way I’ll play the game. That random piece of music I put on can fit into the game I’m playing perfectly. It’s only happened a few times but I’ll share the greatest examples with you.

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21 Comments

  1. i just think some good drum and bass goes well with any fast racing game :)

    • I agree with that. DC Breaks Halo in Wipeout HD fits perfectly.
      Saying that, a bit of Bob Marley works wonders on a Zone run! xD

  2. Nice read there, thanks. A game which really captivated me was Braid, owing to both amazingly well thought out level design and a fantastic soundtrack. I’m sure anyone who has played it will agree the music fits perefectly with the game! Brilliant.

  3. Firstly, sorry it took so long to reply, i pinned the article and only read it now.
    Engaging article and an enjoyable read. I’ve used the custom music feature a few times but it’s hard to keep track of which games support it and i’m unaccustomed to custom soundtracks.. <_<
    I like your game/soundtrack mashup ideas, something i haven't done much of, Fallout 3 with The Wall sounds perfectly matched and i might try that next time i'm playing it.

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