View Full Version : Extra Credits: Videogame Music
09-24-2010, 03:48 PM
I'd really like to hear the opinions and thoughts of everyone on these forums concerning this video (http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/extra-credits/2019-Videogame-Music) that was posted at The Escapist (especially Tommy if he ever drops in).
09-24-2010, 05:03 PM
I honestly think the guy makes quite a lot of valid points. 8-bit era music is definitely a lot more memorable for the fact that composers (and programmers in the place of 'genuine' composers) had to focus on writing catchy melodies to compensate for the lack of musical depth possible on such consoles. I agree that the majority of good music does feature catchy melody lines and the fact that music for video games has improved doesn't mean that a good catchy melody isn't still important, and the same holds true for film scores.
I also agree with my old music teacher, when he said "A good film score is one where you don't notice the music. If you pay more attention to the music than the movie, then the composer has failed," and I think that sentiment is starting to hold true for games currently as well. Yes a good, memorable melodic theme is good, and if you reuse a motif from the theme throughout the rest of the score (see the soundtrack to the recent Sherlock Holmes movie) then that isn't a bad thing either, but more importantly now I think music needs to enhance the mood of a scene rather than stick out from the rest of the game, although if it can be enjoyed outside of the game that is an added bonus. Case in point, for all the John Williams themes that he played, are there any other pieces of music from said movies that are equally as memorable. I'd guess probably not, and I think that is just as important, have a theme tune that is memorable, but make sure the rest of the score doesn't outshine the movie/game itself.
In summary, I'm glad that he used an image of the VGL logo, and from what I remember of what he said, he made good points.
Well, I don't find the 8-bit era more memorable then the following years until now. If you thing of any other music area or artistic area, etc, older things tend to seem more memorable. Why? Because when good things are made, they are re-seen, repeated or reused and we tend to gain that sense of familiarirty with it.
The 8-bit need for melody may help, but like it's stated on the video, melodies are still the base of any great memorable music.
"A good film score is one where you don't notice the music. If you pay more attention to the music than the movie, then the composer has failed,"
I strongly disagree with this statement. I find it subjective and it really depends with what is intented with the scene that the music is covering.
The most important thing in a soundtrack is to fit in the scene, unotticed or not.
I remember and interview with Uematsu where he talked about Final Fantasy VII and he sayed that although most of the ocasions, he created music to fit the scene, scenes where also crated to fit his music on a few occasions. His music was far from unnoticed and I really don't think he failed at all.
Speaking of Zimmer... Prince of Perisa 2008 still would be awesome to ear at VGL :p
09-24-2010, 09:18 PM
I didn't mean it as a sweeping statement that all music in films and video games should not be noticed, I agree that a lot of the music composed by Nobuo Uematsu is very noticable and I agree this is by no means a bad thing, but certainly a lot of film music is designed to be atmospheric and should not draw attention away from what is happening on screen, which can sometimes happen if the music is inappropriate for what is happening or if it detracts from what is being said (which is also a technical mixing issue regarding sound balance) then it isn't doing the job it was meant for.
I think with games such as Heavy Rain and Silent Hill, for example, where they err towards interactive movies and are based heavily on atmosphere as well as gameplay, then you want the music to enhance the emotions of the actions and develop the atmosphere rather than draw attention away from it by implanting memorable melodies which could detract from the atmosphere. This obviously isn't true for all games and I wouldn't be so close minded to suggest that it was, but I think as games become more realistic I think we will definitely see a move away from the in-your-face catchy music which features heavily in the earlier Final Fantasy games and the majority of 8-bit era games and a move towards something more akin to the mood music we get in movies and television, at least in that genre of gaming.
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