I’ve always held a strong affinity for the captivation and overall seduction of simulated music in computer games. The way music captures a defining moment with fluid synchronicity and encapsulates it with just the simplest of orchestral tones, that remain permanently ingrained in your memory, long after you’ve forgotten the initial game that it featured in. I’m constantly humming some ominous but distinctly recognisable tune, plucked randomly from somewhere in the deepest recesses of my mind, that illuminates an instinctive smile of tranquillity but still difficult to competently differentiate exactly where its origins lie. It’s like a momentary act of providence of domesticated comfort, somehow encapsulating those moments with an accentuated melody. Illustrative memories are almost secondary in comparison, with auditory sounds emphasising your whimsical recollections. Familiarised music is comforting, with nostalgic implications that remind you of simpler times, and I bet that if I was to hypothetically ask you about any game-new or old-that apart from sporadic interludes of hazy illustrations formulating cognitive reactions, that you could vividly, without little pause, comfortably recite a theme, sound or any form of musical interlude with almost perfect clarity.
The auditory percussions are just as important as the visual stimulants and graphical superiority to such an extent, that you may not even realise what an influence a piece of music can be. There can be a strange absurdity associated with particular pieces of music, compelling but also motivation to persevere even when all conceivable hope has dissipated. For instance, almost everyone can recite, hum or vocalise any musical accompaniment to Sonic the Hedgehog; the intro music, a particular boss battle or jovially recall of themes with involuntary foot tapping, to the composition of the Green Hill zone or Chemical Plant. Me, the drowning music featured in Sonic still haunts my dreams, as I continue to search for those illusive, ascending bubbles to restore oxygenated order and grant a desperate reprieve from asphyxiation. As the countdown descends-5-and the music accelerates-4-to reiterate the growing urgency-3-for Sonic to breath, as you become more agitated-2-consumed by the impending predicament that you know-1-is unavoidable and then-0-the struggle is over, and your responsible.
Resident Evil 2 featured the disconcerting ambiance that amplified the terrible sense of isolation, which was created, not by the percussing concertos or booming gravitas associated with an orchestra, but through the subtle influences of minimal interludes of disconcerting bells, the slow foreboding creaking of the doors and constant ticking of a distorted clock which all culminate in deterring you from functioning on an emotional level. Subverting rational deliberation and leave you (me) cowering in the corner, evaluating the minimum ammunition at my disposal and devising either an appropriate plan, as well as motivating courage to open the door to the adjacent room, or merely adopting the fetal position for another hour (of course the latter is an exaggeration that I never considered) cough. Where would games like DMC be if not for the highly influential, accelerated break beats that inspire the generous slaughtering of a plenitude of emotionally crippled, demonic spawns? The kinetic hostility is proportionately more evocative with the appropriate musical accompaniment. With an audible depiction of a physical retaliation, any subjected combative situation is heightened by musical stimulants.
But as usual, I digress too furtively and have strayed far from my initial point; that the sounds, music, no matter how genial, generic or inconsequential are important. Whether a conductor brandishing that musical stick to illicit beautifully crafted crescendos, or created via a synthesiser by one man, copious amounts of coffee and patience, iconic music will live forever in your auditory portion of your psyche. Or in my case, an unrelenting nightmare. Forgive Me Sonic!!
What video game music will you never forget? Let me know your most memorable musical pieces.