This article came out a little over a week ago (probably two by the time of publication), and I both loved and hated it so much, I knew I wanted to use it as the inspiration for some of my musical discussion.
The author tells a familiar tale of how video game music just isn’t what it used to be and takes a stab at explaining one reason why : limitation. The underlying principle, one that I somewhat agree with is that some of the greatest game music came out of composers doing the best that they could do with the sound resources they had available; in the early days of gaming, this amount was very little.
While I agree with the principle, it’s no excuse for the direction game music is taking. Gregory admits that there are exceptions to the rule especially in the realm of Japanese gaming, but why is that? The soundtrack for Super Mario Galaxy 2 uses an orchestra as big as many other modern games for instance, and yet its music falls far from the “disposable” category.
I started thinking a lot about the state of game music, what happened to change the nature of such music, and what we can do as composers and/or listeners to keep video game music relevant even today.
And thus I decided to go on a journey exploring different generations of game music. Who knows, maybe there’s something to learn from all of this.
Part 1 : Simple NES/Gameboy Music