The music featured in games has become almost as iconic as their graphics. Take the Mario's title tune or the 8-bit tones of the blockbuster classic Tetris.
“Like a movie, good music should reflect the setting of the game,” says Melanie Fritsch from the Research Institute for Music Theater at the University of Bayreuth in Germany.
Music composers for games are not afraid to use musical cliches or well-known themes from cartoons, opera or TV. Some games use music to evoke a certain era or mood, for example the Fallout series which focuses on the sounds of the 1940s and 50s in its later episodes.
And then there's more experimental titles, such as No Man's Sky, which uses an algorithm applied to existing musical elements to create a soundscape for space and unknown planets.
There is one decisive difference between the music used in games and the music used in other media: “In addition to the underpinning function, also provide information about events in the game, “Fritsch says. For example, music is often used to indicate the appearance of opponents or the start of combat.
In general there is a trend towards big, cinematic orchestral music, especially for games with large budgets. Developer I think that's too bad, “says games developer Jan David Hassel. “That seems to ignore the history of the video game of music.”
That's why he and his development team Inbetween Games have taken a different path. “In our project 'All Walls Must Fall' we made an effort to integrate the music as a core part of the game,” he says.
The game revolves around the Berlin nightclub scene and all of the game's events play out to the beat of dynamically mixed music.
These dynamic soundtracks, which adapt to whatever is happening in the game, are relatively new. The technique behind it is a complex, Hassel explains.
For example, a dynamic soundtrack can accelerate its tempo as players can move around or it can build threateningly if the player's life is running out.
But despite the trend in music that dynamically changes as the player enters different scenarios, Hassel agrees original hand-programmed tunes of old consoles. – dpa