Monday, January 21, 2013

Game Music Online: Audio mentioned in G4's Top 100 Video Games Part 1

While watching G4's recent five part series of the Top 100 Video Games of All Time, I kept track of all the games whose audio is highlighted in commentary.  This documentary series has amazing audio editing, often introducing a game by playing its theme, or having a cut away to an iconic phrase in the game audio, either spoken and musical.  As I watched, I was surprised by the number of people interviewed who sang the theme song or audio effect when describing a game.  Seeing this made me realize that game music has a way of connecting with its listeners, and becoming a powerful association with players.  It's a part of our culture.

This list is cool to me because I've been trying to decide what game music might be considered "important."  What music might be in a standard canon of game music?  In other words-- there are so many great games with great music, but what are the best of the best that a person who wants to be a master of this subject should know?  How can one decide that?  By popularity?  Or games notorious for good music?  Is there a way to bridge the two?  Which games should a player go about exploring not just for the sake of great gameplay, but also to hear great music?  Thus, in a way, this is a "best of the best" list.  The best games of all time, whose audio was worthy of mention as to why this game was one of the best on G4's Top 100 Video Games of All Time.

# 98 Pitfall:  The yodeling "scream" sound effect as you swing on the vine.  The death sound effect is also classic-- Roszo/Schumann Killers/Dragnet.  Pitfall harkens from the early 80s where continuous music was not yet standard.  However, memorable sound effects depicting various gameplay events are already becoming iconic.

# 96 Guitar Hero 2: This is the first "music" video game to make the list.  Jenna Marbles says:  "The wide appeal of Guitar Hero 2 is that not everybody can play guitar, it's hard... but four or five buttons?  I can handle this.  I'm rocking out."  It gains music celebrities appreciation as well, my favorite of which point its historical passing down of music and ability to make players hear music more specifically.   David Ellefson (Megadeth): "It's introduced our music to another younger generation that probably forgot there were guitar solos." Dee Snider (Twisted Sister): "It breaks the music down and forces people to appreciate why it's so cool."  

I like the relation of music and image, where this game assumes a sort of "driving" through music view, as rhythmic button combinations approach the player as if on a conveyer belt of time.  

# 88 Double Dribble: One of the early games to use actual speech, "Double Dribble!" on the title screen.  Theo Von: the sound effects seems to be from a war game.  Every three point shot has an explosion (~1:14).

#81 Resident Evil: Haven't played this game, but interesting to learn that at one point you have to play the Moonlight Sonata to open a secret room.  Apparently, one of the characters is skilled at the piano, one can't play at all, and one has to practice to be able to unlock the room.  Clever!

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