<< Portico: Why I am a philistine

9/22/2005

Why I am a philistine

Right up there with "Scariest game?" and "Worst Ending?", "Favorite Game Music" is a perennial topic on game forums the world over. And it is one of the many topics on which I have no firm opinions. I am probably one of the few serious gamers who doesn't care about music in a game.

Yeah, they have real composers now. Some of the stuff may be quite nice at setting an atmosphere - especially in role playing games. But most of the time it isn't. And there is usually nothing memorable about music in strategy games.

Not that they don't try. It's just that it all sounds the same to me. There is either an overly bombastic classical score (like the Paradox games) or poorly written mood music that loops over and over again (check any RTS).

What passes for music in many games is, fact, a series of sound cues. "Here is where you feel excited!" "Here is where you triumph!". It's like those organ players at stadiums who tell you when to cheer. This isn't different from any soundtrack, of course, but it would help if the musical cues were more creative or interesting than the random tunes I can find on the Internet or my CD shelf. I know people who listen to game music as music; I mostly turn it down or off and put in what I want to listen to.

When I play Children of the Nile, I'd much rather have Aida in the background. Random Broadway tunes beat most sci-fi strategy music, almost all of which is some pseudo-techno synth music with Star Trek sounds. I can't think of any occasion in which the score to Total War is better than Spirit of the West or The Tragically Hip.

All this makes me somewhat less than human, I suspect. Music is the food of love and all that jazz. And I'm sorry that the efforts of the game composers is lost on me. But if I can't turn your music off, your game will have one more hurdle to overcome with me.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Astarte said...

Nah, you're perfectly normal. I always turn the game music down within an hour of starting a new game.

9/23/2005 11:59:00 AM  
Blogger Troy Goodfellow said...

Either perfectly normal or we're both crazy.

9/23/2005 12:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Thomas said...

You're both nuts.

9/23/2005 01:46:00 PM  

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