Music is constantly evolving and being used for various reasons within games. Within gaming, music has evolved into an essential way to either evoke emotions or encourage playstyles. Popular early games such as Super Mario Bros. and Castlevania III have used tempo as a way to encourage an urgent playstyle in which the music is sped up to make time feel as if it is going faster (Aranzaes, 2014). The image below demonstrates the rising water segment of Castlevania which without the music would dull the desperation trying to be established.
Figure 1: Screenshot of Castlevania rising water section.
Music in games have also descended from musical techniques from cinema (McDonald, 2005). Genre specific games such as horror or survival games use eerie-like music in order to set the atmosphere for a game. In Resident Evil 4 the music included “strange howling to unsettling ambience… creating backdrops that did not stand out but rather created dread without the player realizing it.” (Barkan, 2014).
Music has currently been used in order to encourage playstyles and evoke emotions but that isn’t music’s limitations. Studies have shown that music can even assist or detract from ones performance in games. For example one study, “found that male gamers scored almost twice as many points while playing the first-person shooter game DOOM with the sound on (chilling music, weaponfire, screams, and labored breathing).” (Tan, 2014). The point is that music in games can play a crucial role in areas greater than just aesthetics.
Aranzaes, H. (2014). » The Power of Video Game Music. [online] Thepunkeffect.com. Available at: http://thepunkeffect.com/the-power-of-video-game-music/
Barkan, J. (2014). How Music Can Change… ‘Resident Evil 1-3’ vs. ‘Resident Evil 4’ – Bloody Disgusting!. [online] Bloody Disgusting!. Available at: http://bloody-disgusting.com/editorials/3312546/music-can-change-resident-evil-1-3-vs-resident-evil-4/
Ichiyama, S. and Senbongi, M. (2005). A Ruined Village. [CD] Japan: Suleputer. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6uyBy8_QeMU
Lewin, L. (2016). Debris. [online] vextro. Available at: https://vextroforever.wordpress.com/2016/08/07/debris/
McDonald, G. (2005). A History of video Game Music. [online] Gamespot.com. Available at: http://www.gamespot.com/articles/a-history-of-video-game-music/1100-6092391/
Tan, S. (2014). Video Games: Do You Play Better With the Sound On or Off?. [online] Psychology Today. Available at: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/what-shapes-film/201402/video-games-do-you-play-better-the-sound-or
TasVideosChannel, (2014). [TAS] NES Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse “Trevor, Sunken City path” by Fortranm in 30:19.64. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vFHpFgkKw44