When you think of iconic video game music, what comes to mind?
Super Mario Bros., the Legend of Zelda, Undertale, Cuphead, Halo, and Pokémon are just a few games amongst hundreds that are known for their memorable soundtracks. The original soundtracks that are paired with video games give the developers a unique opportunity to enrich and elevate the gaming experience they are creating through music. When memories of the gameplay have faded, the music is what brings us back to those experiences. Music has the power to bring an extra level of life and excitement to any game and any moment within it.
There is nothing quite like the adrenaline rush you get when fighting a tough boss. As the two of you face off, both with little health left and small room for error, the music is there pushing you to deliver the final blow. Even simple encounters have a heightened sense of tension with the addition of animated melodies. Games like the Pokémon series have made simple acts like running into specific characters, entering buildings, riding a bike, or opening a menu synonymous with the themes they play.
When you’re exploring a new area, the music is what helps the scenery come alive. It’s hard to picture a beach level in Super Mario Galaxy without the iconic bongos and bouncy synthesizer. Music helps an already animated place become even more lively, and recurring themes become inseparable from the locations they represent.
Even games with an emphasis on calmer gameplay would fall to the wayside without the relaxing songs that make the player just want to lose themselves in that virtual world. Catching bugs and talking to adorable animals never felt so soothing before hearing Animal Crossing’s soft pieces reflect the activities and time of day.
Take a moment to imagine your favorite games without the music that accompanies them.
While playing video games, the music reflects the experiences you are having. It gets fired up with you, becomes scared with you, mourns with you, fights with you, and celebrates with you. Music breathes life into video games and elevates the player’s experience. Without it, nothing about the games we play today would be the same.