Playing It Again: How Has The Music Industry Influenced Gaming?
Music and gaming. Two unstoppable forces that have always gone hand in hand with one another, whether in classic arcade games, major console releases or even new forms of online iGaming that are rapidly gaining more and more popularity each year.
We’re here to take a detailed look at the progression of music on gaming on each of these platforms – there’s a lot to talk about, that’s for sure.
The golden age of arcade gaming
“Space Invaders Wallpaper” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by ?st smiltis no aus?m
Let’s start with Space Invaders, way back in the golden age of arcade halls. This is considered by many to be the first game to employ a continuous soundtrack as a backing for the gameplay, albeit a series of simple chromatic bass notes that sped up when the action got more frantic.
That said, it wasn’t long before other arcade games, like Frogger, took the concept of video game music to another level by including a series of different melodic tunes for each level. By the tail-end of the 1980s, game music had cemented itself as a must-have for almost all major software releases, and many digital composers started to gain a name for themselves based on their soundtrack work.
Music in online gaming
“Jimi Hendrix” (CC BY 2.0) by mirjoran
The world of iGaming has been growing exponentially over the past decade, and developers for online casinos are focusing more and more on maximising player engagement through music – sometimes with quite surprising results. The classic rock theme has also found a home here, particularly in titles such as bgo’s Jimi Hendrix Slot game, which gives players an authentic slice of Woodstock atmosphere while they’re spinning their choice of five reels and 20 fixed paylines. Or, if you prefer your rock music a little heavier, both bgo and Ace Casino also host the Motorhead Slots game which offers players the chance to get their fill of Lemmy action while going for the win.
Of course, rock is not the only musical genre making waves in the online gaming world. Other operators such as Slots-777 host games like In Jazz, a gaming experience based on a 1930s live jazz club. With iGaming operators now starting to utilise the impact of music in gaming more and more, we fully expect more themed titles with musical roots to crop up over the coming years.
Music in console gaming
“Final Fantasy Versus XIII” (CC BY 2.0) by animaster
As household video game consoles started to become the norm in the early 1990s, a few more significant trends emerged. Major Playstation releases like Final Fantasy are still lauded for their musical impact, but we also started to see more and more games compiling soundtracks of established songs that were thought to complement the ethos of a particular game. The Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series is a prime example of this and is regarded as another modern triumph for music in video games. It’s hard to imagine the game having the same impact without that playlist.
Game music continued to evolve over the next two decades, with developers constantly looking for new ways to take game music to another level. It was this mentality that led to groundbreaking releases like Guitar Hero that offered a musical gaming experience like no other. This in turn paved the way for games like Rocksmith, where players can actually plug in a real guitar and learn to play along with a variety of tunes from the likes of David Bowie, Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix.
When you start to realise the sheer span of music in gaming across every conceivable platform, the relationship between two seems absolutely necessary. In fact, we’d say gaming without music just wouldn’t be gaming.