Over the last two decades, music has begun to play a more prominent role in video games. Many video game aficionados believe that music is one of the most significant parts of the video game experience. Over time, video game music has risen to a level comparable to that of movie soundtracks in terms of its importance to the overall entertainment experience.
Music appreciation and video game scores are not mutually exclusive, and many renowned orchestras have even gone so far as to recreate scores of popular video games in a live format. This was seen in the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s production of Rhapsody in Blue, which featured music from the classic Tetris video game. The Tokyo City Philharmonic Orchestra even performed orchestral video game music concerts that ran for five years and were led by one of the world's most renowned conductors, Koichi Sugiyama.
Video Game Music and the Arts
According to statistics, classical music in the United States has declined in popularity by nearly 30 percent since the year 2010. In fact, since many United States orchestras have faded in obscurity and suffered financial ruin as a result, interest in recreating the music of top video games has helped to foster a resurgence in public interest. By incorporating pop culture connected to video games, orchestras can stay afloat by appealing to younger audiences, and the impact of video games on the renewed popularity of classical music cannot be overstated.
In addition to driving digital sales and highlighting the importance of musical scores, the music used in video games also provides opportunities to collaborate with renowned composers and other musicians in order to create some of the most amazing video game music ever produced. For example, the London Symphony Orchestra collaborated in the production of The Legend of Zelda Symphony of the Goddesses video game score, in addition to the forthcoming Pokémon: Symphonic Evolutions.
A well-thought-out video game music score can engage gamers, and some have remarked that a compelling video game score will keep them interested in the game long after the novelty has worn off. A great musical score on a video game can take an average game and turn it into a superior game that undoubtedly earns new fans.
Music in the Final Fantasy Franchise
One of the most widely discussed video games in terms of musical scores is the Final Fantasy series. The Final Fantasy video games involve role playing and the best-selling video game series of all time. Alongside stunning visuals and interesting storylines, developers focused their attention on musical scores that are virtually unparalleled in the gaming industry. In many versions of Final Fantasy, music plays a central role in creating the overall gaming experience, and this has not gone unnoticed by music professionals. The music in in the Final Fantasy game series is intended to accompany the varied plots and mirrors the characters’ emotions.
One of the most profound music scores in the Final Fantasy series was seen in Final Fantasy VII’s One Winged Angel, which earned critical acclaim not only for the game itself, but for the associated musical score, which has been described as modern-day. This attention to detail when creating video games could explain how these games have maintained longevity beginning in the ‘90s all the way to the present. The music in Final Fantasy has been come so popular that even classical musicians have begun to hold video game-themed concerts such as the Final Symphony and Nintendo Music Celebration, which hosted its first-ever video game music concert in Japan in 2003.
The Final Fantasy video game series set the stage for a variety of other video games to follow suit. From Bioshock to Halo, video game music has generally become much more sophisticated. Aside from the fact that musicians perform video game scores more often now, once these video games are released, they often include chart-topping songs. Final Fantasy achieved this in 2016 when its soundtrack reached number 17 on the Classic FM Hall of Fame list.
EarthBound Offers Notable Music Selections
Another popular video game with notable music selections is EarthBound. While the game features a prominent Nintendo character, critics were more impressed with the musical score. The score on EarthBound has been described by some as a masterpiece, even though this game was made over 20 years ago, when video game music scores did not receive the respect that they have since then.
Music is integrated in nearly every aspect of the game, which itself has been described as exhilarating, thought-provoking, and mysterious. EarthBound was a formidable game in the market, yet its music is what sets it apart from the others. Despite the critical acclaim that it gained for its musical score, EarthBound received very little publicity and it’s possible that critics at the time did not fully understand the brilliance of the musical score.
Although video game music scores have not earned widespread respect, there has been a great deal of progress. One of the major benefits of including music in video games is that it can help to facilitate a connection between the gaming world and appreciation for various music genres. Music enthusiasts tend to be well-rounded individuals, and those who enjoy gaming will particularly understand that the experience can be augmented by a powerful musical score.