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The Importance of Music in Video Games

Leo Dutch Hacker Noon profile picture

@xboxLeo Dutch

Good descriptive writer. Writes about gaming and gaming products. Would always choose Xbox over PlayStation.

Think back to the year of 1986. You are an excited child sprinting through the arcade so you can be the first to get to the amazing new game, ”Outrun”. What was it that was so special about this game? The cars? The quirky characters? The endless crashing into things? Probably. But I recently played it for the first time, and the one thing that stood out to me was the music.

I love the sounds of the ’80s. I wasn’t around to be there first-hand, but that soundtrack was the best part for me. And, to be honest, it usually is with gaming. The music you hear in gaming is important, whether they are the sweet shooty-tunes of Doom, or the defining Western soundtrack of Red Dead Redemption 2’s solitary free roam. But why is it actually important apart from being something to listen to if you get bored of constantly getting destroyed by mad 12 year olds on Call Of Duty who scream every swear in the English dictionary when you finally manage to get them back? Let’s chew the fat then, shall we?


Music is one of the main objects in a video game that controls the emotion of a story and can change the tone of how something may feel. After the scene of Arthur Morgan’s death in Red Dead Redemption 2, a song called “Unshaken” plays, a sad, lonely tune of unfortunate demise.

Within film, many fans look at soundtracks as a foundation to set the scene. The video game industry is no different. Dead Space is a frightening game with a frightening concept, and as you may have already guessed, with that comes a frightening soundtrack. Would being chased around by Necromorphs be half as terrifying without the high-pitched, orchestral tunes? Hardly likely.


And how about Doom Eternal, the latest demon-slasher? Take the track “The Only Thing They Fear Is You”. It combines metal with scream-like noises, and it’s designed to enhance your gameplay. It’s the kind of music that’s going to turn you on, make you feel the next fight coming on. But the game isn‘t all metal along with guts and glory.

When your enemies are all gone and the violence has all but temporarily paused, you are left to wander around the level with a change to more calm, atmospheric tunes. In a way, the music is reborn in this gorgeous reboot. It keeps some of the original tracks in mind while mixing it up with some epic metal. After the battle is won, the calmer music is appreciated by many players and brings a forgiving contrast into the mix.


That’s not all, though. Have you ever played a Grand Theft Auto title? My guess is, yes. The games soundtrack is very interesting. First, there is the original music. We have some brilliant examples that collide Electronic with the Hip Hop scene, such as “Welcome to Los Santos” and “We Were Set Up”, along with many other favourites.

These songs were created in collaboration of Oh No, Tangerine Dream, The Alchemist, Woody Jackson and DJ Shadow. These intense, modern-style tracks perfectly represent the crime theme. The game also has many brilliant licensed songs such as “Night Nurse”, “Smokin’ and ridin’“ and “I’m in Love”. The game uniquely sorts them into radio stations, which was a very bold move for 2013.


And finally, we are going to end on the music of Red Dead Redemption 2. The official score of this game is an impressive 70 minutes long, containing the games most memorable pieces. But 70 minutes is only a small fraction of all the music in the game.

There is music not included in the score that plays in the background during random insignificant moments that are only to keep the immersion. The expansive online option has hundreds upon hundreds of hours of music unfortunately not included in the official score. Red Dead Redemption 2 truly is a musical journey, clearly inspired by the likes of Ennio Morricone.


Thank you for coming on this journey with me and listening to my verdict. Please come again soon and read my future reviews!

Leo Dutch Hacker Noon profile picture
by Leo Dutch @xbox. Good descriptive writer. Writes about gaming and gaming products. Would always choose Xbox over PlayStation.Read my stories


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