The Evolution of Video Game Audio.

Once upon a time, video games boasted the simplest of soundtracks, though even then they were effective. Many who had Tetris or Mario Fever will still be able to recognize that collection of beeps anywhere and video game audio has continued to advance from there.

Back then, soundtracks were used to enhance the game but now they’re used more than ever to evoke the emotion of the game. This has been used to great effect in games such as Mass Effect, which featured charged cut scenes like no other. In a similar way to horror movies, the soundtrack of a game can influence just how much we feel about the main character and their story.

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Now everything within the world of games from triple titles to online luck games that can be found on new bingo sites have some form of music. Game designers understand now more than ever that this is the way to convey the theme of the game to players.

Video game music has even stepped outside of its own world and now contributes to chart music. Porter Robinson notably used this style of music in his album Worlds, and this granted him great sway among video game fans of the Beatles, hummed the tune to Super Mario Bros to Koji Kondo, and this shows just how much these tunes are engrained in our memories.

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To understand how this evolved we have to go all the way back to the first video games which featured sound. Pong is one that many readers will remember playing and the dull blip that signified the ball hitting the bat is where it all began. From there the sound chips within these consoles became more sophisticated with the Stella chip. This was no grand orchestra but it allowed users to use three factors to create a sound: type, frequency and volume.

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Among game fans the composers of these tunes have a legacy of their own, and as they systems, became more complex, so too could their craft. Composers such as Koji Kondo (The Legend of Zelda) and Nobuo Uematsu (Final Fantasy) now transcend the video games and real music divide. They tour with massive orchestras and sold out shows that prove that the music of a video game has a worth of its own.

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Where the next technological advances in terms of graphics or virtual reality will lead is not yet known, but one thing is certain – music will still be a large part of how we play games. More senses are getting involved in video games, thanks to touch pads that mimic textures, but sound is one of the basic ones that will always be necessary to evoke emotion.

Kelly Murphy
Owner, writer, and editor of Indie Minded; Social Media Marketing & Relationship Consulting via Indie Minded Media; Be sure to give me a follow on Twitter @IndieMurphy or @IndieMindedMedia