Music and video games like COD (short for Call of Dragons), have you ever thought the importance of these? Not me! Until I really started thinking about it and started researching. Game music is super important. Also for you!
For example, I know the soundtrack of Mario better than the game itself; I’ve definitely heard the Atari sounds come back at techno festivals years later; and the songs I like are determined by the radio stations of my stolen Grand Theft Cars.
It all has to do with nostalgia. This is the music you heard constantly when you were young, while you were busy with your biggest hobby.
Two weeks ago I tried to get a ticket for Video Games Live in Lisbon. Unfortunately.. Exhausted. During the event, ten thousand people party to the greatest hits of video game music. Of course, it can also be more specific, as the Heineken Music Hall in Amsterdam proved last 29 September with the show The Legend Of Zelda: Symphony Of The Goddesses.
Present at Video Games Live was a fan of the first hour Francisco de Sousa. He uploaded many videos via #videogameslive, so that the people who stayed at home could enjoy themselves a bit.
“It all has to do with nostalgia. This is the music you heard constantly when you were young, while you were doing your biggest hobby,” Francisco says. “In addition, really beautiful music is composed, with completely different genres, so it never gets boring.” Here’s his favorite:
Now I understand that an enthusiast like Francisco, whose Spotify lists are dominated by game music, is an extreme form of fandom. But game music is important and we shouldn’t forget that, says Gregory Markus. He works for RE:VIVE, a department of the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision.
Just as that smell takes you to a certain place, so does music.
RE:VIVE is a record label where DJs and producers create tracks by using samples from the archive of the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision. “When we at RE:VIVE were thinking about how we could interest people and learn about archival sounds, we quickly came up with music,” says Gregory.
The label likes to work in themes and in this way great tracks have already been released with various subjects such as the Nieuwmarkt in 1975, Schiphol, and the Damrak.
November was the month for RE:VIVE for the Dutch Retro Videogames. The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision is one of the few in the world that, in addition to television and radio, also archives game sounds. Gregory decided it was time for a trip down memory lane with games like Zone 7, Eindeloos, and Maze thriller.
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“Sounds from video games are super personal,” Gregory says. “Everyone has a different feeling about it. Just as that smell takes you to a certain place, so does music. When I was young, I spent a year at a friend’s house, playing World of Warcraft in one piece. If I hear sounds of that now, it immediately brings me back to that attic room.”
To help (novice) producers understand the importance of archive and game sounds, RE:VIVE organized a Retro Games Sampling Workshop. Game fanatics and producer duo Know V.A. led the course. I spoke to one half of the duo: Feico de Muinck Keizer.
For Feico, the love for game music started early. “Even when I was playing with Lego, I turned on Age of Empires 2 or Donkey Kong on the Super Nintendo, just as background sound. It was my first encounter with electronic music.”
The music is made to enhance or determine the atmosphere of the game.
According to Feico, producing game music is an art in itself. “It is extremely difficult to make such beautiful, yet functional music. The music is made to enhance or determine the atmosphere of the game. This also happens during the game, but despite the continuous presence, it still happens implicitly in the background.
Game music is the modest altruistic component of the game: it gives so much, while never grabbing attention.” This is Feico’s favorite:
All participants of the workshop came up with completely different tracks after three hours. According to Feico, this perfectly reflects why it is so good what RE:VIVE does.
“This is the power of archival sounds and sampling, especially with regard to games. Everyone has different emotions and memories of a certain game sound. Several can flow from one work of art.”
By then not intentionally paying attention to it, I let the selfless role of the game music, do its wonderful work.
It’s clear. There is a wonderful world between games and music that I knew nothing about. Maybe pay a little more attention next time? No. That is not necessary. It’s stored somewhere in my head. By then not intentionally paying attention to it, I let the selfless role of the game music, do its wonderful work.