Ask any metal or punk fan and they will tell you that music really sets the mood for their day. Ask a gamer and they will tell you a good game will set the mood for their day. Ask them what happens when you add good music to a good game and they will tell you it can make all the difference in the world to their game as well as their day. Over the years video games and music have gone hand in hand, games such as the “Grand Theft Auto” franchise, many extreme sports games such as the “SSX” franchise as well as many sport or racing games have incorporated some of the best metal and punk soundtracks in video game history. Today we were lucky to sit down and have a round table discussion with some “in the know” people of the video game world. We are joined by video game blogger for Pwnedbygirls and avid gamer Alana Evans, video gamer, pod caster and retired wrestler Joey Image and blogger, actress and avid gamer Lisa Foiles to discuss the subject of games and music. We also had two lucky fans with us to answer a question or two as well.
Examiner: (Keith Ashley) Thank you all for being here in our first round table discussion for Examiner. We have a good panel with some pretty diverse backgrounds so we know we will get some unique answers. First question, how do you think the right music can help a video game? From menu music to background music modern games have it all.
Lisa Foiles: Video games have become interactive movies. There’s a reason that the Oscars have a category for best score – music is such an integral part of setting a mood and evoking emotion in the viewer, or in this case, the player. The 8-bit “Zelda” theme is nostalgic and makes for a good ringtone, but now you hear it played by a 30-piece orchestra and it sends chills down your spine! It makes you instantly feel like you are in Hyrule. Even the menus these days have captivating animations and beautiful and intense music that get you ready to play the game before even hitting start!
Alana Evans: Music is amazing by the way it reaches into our soul and effects our emotions. I think music in video games can pull that same energy from us as players. Music can instill fear, or even cause your heart rate to rush in an epic fight battle. Music is also something that is easy to relate to. When you hear the theme song of your favorite game, it can instantly make you happy or bring back memories of the game you loved.
Joey Image: The music dictates the mood. Fast action, slow drama, etc. It helps sets the tone of the story, or current point in it in the game.
Examiner: With games such as the GTA franchise & “Saints Row” franchises using the “radio” function and EA Sports using a similar thing, do you see more games letting people have a choice of background music?
LF: I only like the idea of the player choosing his or her own music if it’s a sports game or a driving racing game, something that is repetitive and not story-driven. Aside from that, I believe the player should always listen to the soundtrack of the game. The developers spent more time than you know selecting the perfect music, be it orchestral, severe, modern rock songs – you bought the game the developers made, why not let them take you on the entire journey they intended for you? You can listen to your own music on your own time. Let the game be your DJ.
AE: Gamers love to be able to control every aspect of the game they’re playing, whether it’s character functionality, or even setting their theme music. I love that “Grand Theft Auto” and “Saints Row” have the radio function, because we all have different styles and tastes. Being able to choose your favorite type of music while your carjacking fools, or picking up hot chicks, sets the mood. If licensing issues are out of the way, I definitely see more games tapping in to mainstream music.
J I: Only in certain games. Some games need their own “built-in” theme music to set the tone, as I described in question one.
Examiner: Those are some good answers! We know you are all busy so here’s one last panel question for you. In your opinion which games had the best music, it can be from any system from the original Atari to today’s modern next generation systems.
LF: I fell so in love with the music in “Prince of Persia 4”, including the menu music. I’ve played many games since then but for some reason it’s really stuck with me. One of my all-time favorite games, “Grim Fandango”, has a Day of the Dead inspired jazz soundtrack. I own it and listen to on a regular basis! “Final Fantasy” games always have incredible music, and the “Bio-shock” series really nailed the sublime beautiful-creepy score.
AE: Some of the most iconic and memorable music from video games for me are definitely from old school Nintendo games. The music from “Zelda” and “Super Mario Brothers” strike a chord inside of me. Hearing them makes me so happy, brings back all the memories from the years I’ve played those games, and it just makes me want to play them again. With the popularity of dance games being so consistent, there are some games where great music is required. I love the selection of songs from “Just Dance” because they include current hits, and old favorites that are perfect for having fun getting down with friends.
JI: I’m a big fan of the original “Legend of Zelda” theme. Also, “Dark Age of Camelot”, and “World of Warcraf”.
We also had the chance to ask some video game fans the same questions and two lucky ones joined the discussion, LeToya Jackson an avid gamer and 3D artist, and Pauley B who goes by “Viking Blood” on Instagram.
Examiner: LeToya, Pauley, the floor is yours, how do you guys feel on the questions we’ve just talked about?
LeToya Jackson: WWE games pre 2k15 were awesome. Original tracks were good then you could upload your own. I like a lot of the epic games too though. “The Devil May Cry” reboot had a tight sound track with Noisia and Combichrist but pales in comparison to DMC 1-4 who didn’t have bands doing the tracks, except for the title tracks. They stand the test of time.
Paulie B aka @vikingblood on IG: I think the best is when a game studio gives you the option of making your own soundtrack. Also the games that seem to match the soundtrack to the action at hand are also leading the way…regardless of genre, nothing better than loading up a game with some rocking tunes to shuffle while you play.
We thank all the people who participated in this panel round table and for their time and interest to join us. Music as always is a great soundtrack to life and from this roundtable a great soundtrack to games too.