The Evolution of Music Production and Consumption by Games

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Music since the early ages has been a part of all forms of media, may it be movies, short films, live shows, acts. Everything was in some ways accompanied by music. “ When you think about it, video games have come a very long way visually, engineering has led to more pixels on screen, more pixel on screen led to artist developing characters, and characters led to writers creating stories, stories created worlds and worlds demanded grand visuals, in fact visuals are only half the story, aren’t they?” (Creating Bone Chilling Video Game Monster Sounds). This essay will go through how computer games changed the way music is made and consumed. The Evolution There was a time when computer or video game music were just mere synthesizer loops accompanying a character in the game, they were limited to simple melodic structure fused with complex music patters keeping in mind that it should be less distractive as the focus was supposed to be on the game played.

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Then onwards-game music has a cultural impact on the society people knew what the sounds were when played again. The music made the gamer feel an emotional attachment to the game and at the same time did not get distracted because of the sound. As the visuals around us increased they demanded more detail to everything that included the sound every small detail was counted. Music has come a long way from being tunes in 8 bit games to full-length soundtracks in computer games with a story mode. It uses the same drive people have for movies but the only difference is you involve yourself in the outcome of the situations. People designing the sound for games to a great very extent to re-engineering the sound they have or end up recording new sounds everyday. These sounds are then synthesized and made into what we unknowingly listen to while playing a game. You don’t realize when its there but if its not there you notice the difference. That is why some gamers invest a lot of money on their speakers all for the better sound quality thus the sound designer is burdened with the duty of providing such a sound quality.

The Take on Realistic Sound Design Playing a video game involves both diegetic and extradiegetic activity: the player has a conscious interaction with the interface (diegetic) as well as corporal response to the gaming enviourment and experience (extradiegetic) (Shinkle 2005 p.3). The sound design comes in action when the game wants the player to be in a particular emotion, event and environment. Thus all this variables are added through sound to provide an incredible amount of detail to provide the player a feeling on connection to the game. To achieve such incredible sounds the sound designers try their level best to obtain sounds that are similar yet easier to obtain. For example sometimes the sound of rain is recreated by frying a bacon on a pan, the sound of broken bones are often created by breaking celery, so on and so forth. But games now have incredible amount of detail and to comply with that detail sound designers have to be on point. How the story is conveyed Nowadays when we play a video game it’s not only the graphics or the environment it’s the feeling of oneself reimagining that he/she is the one in the gaming zone. It becomes a task to achieve a goal in the particular game again to keep the player indulged you need a proper sound setting. The games have changed from being played to obtain one achievement to several other storyboard tasks. For e.g. games now, come with stories, its just like a film the only difference is, in the game you have the lead role.

To indulge a person in such emotion a composer needs to pay attention the same attention he/she would pay while scoring a film. Every game nowadays indulges the players in the gaming reality and makes them believe that they have full control over the actions or we can say the complex sound design leads them into believing this. Science has also stated and there have been tests regarding the very same application. “The combination of psychophysiological and psychometric methods provides reliable measurements of affective user experience (UX). Understanding the nature of affective UX in interactive entertainment, especially with a focus on sonic stimuli, is an ongoing research challenge. In the empirical study reported here, participants played a fast-paced, immersive first-person shooter (FPS) game modification, in which sound (on/off) and music (on/off) were manipulated, while psychophysiological recordings of electro dermal activity (EDA) and facial muscle activity (EMG) were recorded in addition to a Game Experience Questionnaire (GEQ). Results indicate no main or interaction effects of sound or music on EMG and EDA.

However, a significant main effect of sound on all GEQ dimensions (immersion, tension, competence, flow, negative affect, positive affect, and challenge) was found. In addition, an interaction effect of sound and music on GEQ dimension tension and flow indicates an important relationship of sound and music for gameplay experience. Additionally, we report the results of a correlation between GEQ dimensions and EMG/EDA activity. We conclude subjective measures could advance our understanding of sonic UX in digital games, while affective tonic (i.e., long-term psychophysiological) measures of sonic UX in digital games did not yield statistically significant results. One approach for future affective psychophysiological measures of sonic UX could be experiments investigating phasic (i.e., event-related) psychophysiological measures of sonic gameplay elements in digital games. This could improve our general understanding of sonic UX beyond affective gaming evaluation” (Nacke, Lennart E. Grimshaw, Mark N.Lindley, Craig A. (2010)). The New Genre While music genres were still being explored and developed, film music, bands, cover artists, composers, were all the big approach to music industry. The evolution of the gaming industry made way to a new genre in music; this was the designing sound for games.

Game design and sound design go hand in hand. And the reason I say that music in games is becoming as popular as film music and all other music s because, for instance when we listen to piece of music we may recall the singer was or the album or the movie it was from likewise, if you listen to the last track by “Koji Kondo” in 1985, you sure will recognize it to be the sound from the Mario game. This is just one instance where sound in games has made us to think back and made us realise how we are unknowingly connected to music in games as well. “There’s an entire alternate history of modern music that revolves around figures like Kondo, Hip Tanaka, and Nobuo Uematsu, whose scores for the Final Fantasy series are now performed in concert halls.” (Hua Hsu (June 30, 2015)). Every time a game is released the competitors are keen not only how the game is good visually but also considering the fact that how good is it in terms of sound. Most recent games like games that give you tasks are connected to music in a peculiar way the reason I say that is because. “Music as in games can help you beat the game easily”(Philosophy of Music Design in Games – Fez).

Maybe the repetition of a motif can lead you to understand that this part of the game has something more to it. Conclusion Video games are evolving day-by-day theme based, story based, task based simulators. There are many of them each giving the composer a new challenge, there is a huge market in the video game industry for composers ready to take up the task and through my research I have understood that video game music is surely going to raise the bars in the coming years. Generating lots more employment and changing the way the world perceives music. Video game music is changing day by day and soon people would be having playlists of game music that will open new gateways to explore, animate and reanimate the current style of music through various creative and technological methods. Music in computer games was changing and will continue to change creating a sense of wonder among the players and the world listening to it.

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