Whether you realize it or not, music is a key part of your life, it is something you interact with every day either consciously or subconsciously. If you find yourself whistling a tune on your way to work, chances are you’ve heard it on a radio advert during your commute.
Equally if you hear a few seconds of a John Williams track you can be transported to the wilderness of Isla Nublar, or reminded of the tragedy of Schindler’s List. Music is a powerful tool that burrows its way into our memories, triggering emotions and influencing our decisions and behaviors.
In the world of gaming there are only two sense, sight and sound. Visually you focus on the stunning landscape of the virtual world, focusing on the intricate details of every character and icon.
Audibly you react to the sounds of characters in the game, but also to the music that augments your experience and helps to tell a story. In this article we take a look at 5 games that have expertly used music to augment your playing experience.
The Phantom of the Opera – Slot Machine
You might find it odd to see an entry from a slot machine on this list, but there is no section of the gaming industry more reliant on music than slots. Visually the games are often basic and two-dimensional, so music and audio features play a major role in keeping players engaged.
If you log onto a reputable comparison site like Bingoport to find the best no deposit slot sites in the UK, you will be flooded with recommendations for great games. However you could search far and wide and not find a musically better slot machine than The Phantom of the Opera by Microgaming.
The slot machine starts with the line, “Take your seats, the opera is about to begin” and as you’d expect, features musical scores from the opera. Throughout your journey playing the slot you will listen to fully licensed songs that contribute to a serene playing experience.
As you play for longer and longer you are treated to three new songs; The Masquerade, Music of the Night and All I ask of You. This game will transport you back to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 1986 musical and keep you calm and relaxed whilst you potentially win heaps of money.
Metal Gear Solid
Released in 1998 on PlayStation – it wasn’t even called PlayStation 1 then, just PlayStation – this action-adventure stealth game from Konami was at the very forefront of musical integration in video games.
As a player you are in control of Solid Snake, a soldier who infiltrates a nuclear weapons facility to thwart terrorists. Instead of blazing in like Rambo you are tasked with infiltrating the nuclear facility by stealth, hiding in from your enemy, sneaking up on them and swiftly and silently eliminating them.
The game is tense, and as a player Konami want you to be on the edge of your seat throughout your time playing. To help create this feeling of tension and suspense, the developers included tension-inducing synthetic strings music to the game.
The music for the game was produced by Konami’s in-house development team but was heralded as a major success, being released in its own right a couple of months after the game itself.
(Want to feel completely on edge? Listen to the music from Metal Gear Solid for a few minutes and you certainly will!)
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
Can anyone really listen to I ran by A Flock of Seagulls without thinking of Tommy Vercetti? Similarly Video Killed The Radio Star by The Buggles. These upbeat songs from the 1980s are now synonymous amongst younger generations with Vice City and Grand Theft Auto.
Rockstar Games have always had a unique approach to in-game music with their GTA series, producing a series of radio stations for the player to interact with and enjoy. In Vice City’s predecessor GTA III there were plenty of radio stations to listen to in game, but Vice City took that to the next level.
There are 113 different songs in this game along with numerous commercials and talk radio segments. The team at Rockstar dedicated exclusive research into 1980s music to come up with a fitting soundtrack to augment the feel of the game.
They succeeded in that, with the music being hailed as one of the most defining parts of the game. Not bad for a title considered as one of the best games ever made.
(The musical soundtrack from Vice City was iconic, even if the gameplay looks a little outdated now…)
The Final Fantasy Series
Magical realism is a literary technique that seeks to weave fantasy and myth into everyday life, making the quite frankly absurd seem as real as possible. In the Final Fantasy Series this is achieved superbly through the musical scores of Nobuo Uematsu.
The world setting for Final Fantasy is magical, enchanting and captivating and made even more so by Uematsu’s music. As you progress through the game the musical soundtrack guides your emotions and responses, raising your anxiety levels at the perfect moment, putting you on edge before serenely returning you to calm.
Uematsu’s music has been so popular that concerts of the Final Fantasy soundtracks have been regular sell-out successes all across the world.
Rockstar Games were at it again in 2011 when they released this cop drama game. Based in post-World War Two Los Angles, players must investigate a series of crimes with their every action determining the outcome of the game’s final mission.
British composer Simon Hale was the man chosen by Rockstar to come up with the soundtrack to the game. Hale went for a late-night jazz bar vibe that complimented the action of the game superbly and earned him a BAFTA.
The soundtrack was not only compelling but it transported players right into the intended time period, capturing the vibe of popular films and entertainment from the 1940s.
(L.A. Noire’s soundtrack wasn’t just a hit with gamers, it grabbed the attention of the critics too.)