Tuesday, August 21, 2012

SurveyIng Literature: The Evolution of Video Game Music (NPR, All Things Considered)

Today I'm listening to an NPR story from 2008, The Evolution of Video Game Music. If you've not heard it, I totally recommend it.  Not overly technical, but for a video game/ music lover, it's a good intro. One of the best parts is hearing the video game music in the background!

Some highlights for me are:

The mention as far back as Space Invaders of game designers testing to see the effect of the sound effects to have an effect on the player's emotional state. This has me thinking about the interplay between marketing and video game music-- wondering what sort of marketing video game music principles exist. 

The program compares video game music in comparison with film music-- but, says that unlike film music which has, according to Tommy Tallarico, "background" music, video game music has "foreground" music.

A question seems to be resounding as a theme in several of these sources: Is video game music serious music?  I wonder, why does it matter?

The audio story goes on to mention Video Games Live and how successful these concerts are selling versus a classical concert.  Video Games Live concerts are a multimedia experience where the audience is encouraged to be loud and energized compared with the "stiffness" of a classical concert.



Very interesting to learn that Berkley and USC are teaching video game music composition.  As a college teacher, I'd be interested to teach a video game music history course.

Just hearing the music excerpts in the background of the NPR story as the music becomes more contemporary in time is awesome!  Or follow links on the left side of the NPR page for live performances of a Final Fantasy piano medley and some of your favorite classic themes from Tetris, Super Mario Bros, and Myst.