Thursday, August 23, 2012

Music Making in Video Games: Earthbound: The Runaway Five

This is the first entry in my blog series "Music Making in Video Games."  In this series, I'm going to highlight scenes in video games where there's diegetic music.  In other words, the performance of music is somehow represented onscreen.

In my earlier blog entry about Zach Wahlen's article, I mentioned the distinction between diegetic music and non-diegetic music.  This is a distinction between music/sounds that are heard by characters in the game as opposed to sounds that only the player hears, like the typical game soundtrack.  Of course, almost any sound your character hears is one you (as the player) would hear as well.  Many sounds though are just for the player to hear.  Do we really expect that Link is marching along to the LoZ Overworld theme?  But the line blurs also in some games... imagine Super Mario Bros Wii where the enemies move in time with the music-- are they hearing it?  A heady discussion for another day.

Wahlen's article got me thinking about some of my favorite moments of music performance in video games-- any of which are clear examples of diegetic music-- and one of the first examples to come to my mind is The Runaway Five from Earthbound.  Earthbound's music is by Keiichi Suzuki and Hirokazu Tanaka.



Ironically, as I see in the video still, there are six performers onstage during the concert!  Does the keyboard player show up other than the concerts?