Original music in video games adds character to enhance the experience


River Lehnhardt

Music belongs in video games and it has a huge impact on the game. Music can make many people feel a wide variety of emotions, including anger, sadness, fear, and happiness

Music has been a vital part of society for many many years; it has been in movies, TV, ads, videos, and video games. In particular, I would argue that music has found a spot in video games where it might truly belong.

What I mean by this is that music belongs in video games and it has a huge impact on the game. Music can make many people feel a wide variety of emotions, including anger, sadness, fear, and happiness. In many horror media, music, or sound in general, is integral to creating the atmosphere and the setting. It might seem like I’m rambling because I am, but it’s not without a reason. In this piece, I’m going to discuss several franchises with amazing soundtracks and why I feel they greatly enhance the game experience.

Without a doubt, the game/franchise that I feel music leaves the most significant impact on is Persona. The whole franchise is centered around getting to know who you are as a person as well as getting to know those around you. The music changes every game — in P3 it’s a blend of rap, rock, and pop. I would say that rap and rock are much more prevalent than pop with most of the songs being either rap or rock focused.

The main battle theme is “Mass Destruction,” which is certainly rap sung quickly by a guy with amazing backing vocals sung by a girl. The song starts out with the lady repeatedly singing “baby” and then transitions into the lyrics sung by the guy that I mentioned earlier. Some of the guy’s parts include “keep my friends close and my foes closer” and much closer to the beginning of the song it plays “Fear’s awake, anger beats loud, face reality. Never beat charity. The enemy you’re fighting covers all society.”

Now I don’t really get any deep meaning from this song, however, it does have a meaning — it’s really just about facing a hard foe and trying to come out on top. It’s pretty basic, but it gets the job done while also being a great song.

The boss fight theme on the other hand has no lyrics, but I absolutely love it. The theme is called “Unavoidable Battle” and consists of only guitar and drums. It might be simple, but it is amazing when the guitar and drums kick in with a boss that intends to take you and your friends out. The last song is “Time to Make History” from Persona 4.

This is a big chunk of lyrics, but it’s like the best part: “Hard-hit by the times. That’s just how your life goes by. I know it’s not your fault you say. But there ain’t no other way, So step on up to the plate, Meet your fate Walkin’ straight on into the lion’s lair. So step on up – up to the plate ‘Cause this ain’t no game It’s time to make history, yeah!”

Now this song, unlike “Mass Destruction,” has a lot of meaning. First, obviously, is the significance of the name  “Time to Make History.” The plot of Persona 4 is that there is a murderer who has already killed a few people; you and your friends are trying to find the truth and bring the killer to justice.

The game also has a theme of rejecting fate, and making your own path and decisions. The lyrics perfectly catch this theme of creating your own destiny, with “meet your fate” and “so step on up to the plate” coming after the lyrics, “That’s just how your life goes by” followed by “But there ain’t no other way.” Overall, I think these lines mean the characters acknowledge the supposed destined fate, but they defy it and make history.

Next, let’s shift gears to a different game titled Guilty Gear, which is a fighting game that has a really long and complicated history, but there are these genetically modified people called gears and they have powers beyond those of a human. That’s enough about that and onto the music which has always been a focal point of the series.

A song called “Big Blast Sonic” from Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN-. “Get up to rock! Get up to burn! Stand up with pride! I’ll be the ways to maker! Don’t be afraid to listen to your own heart! Big Blast Sonic! That’s my heartbeat in you!”

I think what this means is to trust yourself and believe that you can make a change and take action when you feel it’s necessary. I’m gonna fast forward to the latest Guilty Gear game called Guilty Gear Strive. The music in-game is spectacular and goes above and beyond with its meanings.

I’ll use Chipp’s theme called Play the Hero. “I don’t believe in any miracles I’ll risk a loss any day Gambling’s only for fools, take nothing for granted If you don’t seize the chance, it’s over for you Life never goes the way you want, that’s how it is No matter what happens, face it all head-on!” The lyrics convey a theme of life doesn’t always do what you want it to and even when it gets hard you press forward to come out on top and if you do lose then you get up and try again.

Next is one theme that I think is one of the best in-game it’s Ky’s theme and it’s titled “Roar of the Spark.” The line “I don’t know what’s right for the world Oh, I may have lost my way But there’s no reason to doubt it now So what do I have to fear” to me perfectly shows how Ky is unsure of what he is doing is right or wrong stating “I don’t know what’s right for the world Oh, I may have lost my way”.

Ky’s story has always had him questioning whether or not he’s doing what’s right now with his story putting him somewhere in the middle in terms of morality. “That’s right, go forth Don’t look back I can believe in the path I’m on Faith, Pride! So what do I have to fear?” This line seems to almost contradict saying I can believe in the path I’m on showing that Ky still has a lot of growing and changing to do.

So the question is “how does this enhance gaming?” Well, it enhances gaming because it can show part of the character’s lore or how they would react or feel. In the case of Persona’s music, it goes along with the theme of the game and makes combat and fights feel much more intense and crazy at the same time.

I seriously could go on and I would love to because music is such a huge influence on not even just games but parts of our lives as a whole. Ultimately, music has found a nice cozy home in gaming and I think it will remain there for a very long time.