Monday, April 23, 2012

Sound for games


Every time I hear the song from Super Mario or SEGA’s Sonic, I can not escape from the thought that those melodies are the soundtrack not only to my childhood, but to a whole generation of children. The music from those games is so catchy and memorable that it is easy to be separated from it’s real meaning, which is to serve the game. This is why nowadays one of the main goals in the entertaining industry is to create sound tracks and sound effects which will be the new emblem of the next generation in gaming.

Sound forms music, and it can make us cry, has the power to reduce our anger or to make us incredibly happy, or fill us with power or rage. If sound possesses the power to play with our hearts, how much more will be accomplished with it when it is used to tell a story in which the main character reflects the person playing? In my opinion, sound takes a major role in our emotional experience while we are playing a game. Mainly because it is expected to bring an equivalent experience to our ears while we are simultaneously being stimulated visually, otherwise an important part of the soul of the game is lost. The experience and feelings are just not the same. It is like muting a horror movie, or watching Tom and Jerry whiteout the classical music.

Sound is so important in a game that without it you just have lots of assets in a room and characters around you. It is the factor that can make you scared or pump the adrenalin in you preparing you for a big battle. It can guide you as well. It is quite often that when you hear that the music growing more rapid or intense, that a battle is upon the horizon.

The other huge part of sound design in games is the soundtrack, especially if the game is expected to be a blockbuster. The music from movies like Star Wars or Indiana Jones has such a strong impact on your culture that they live a life on their own. For example, every time I hear the Darth Vader intro I do not even think about Star Wars, I just get goosebumps. In the long run, I believe that this effect is the proof that a game will be successful, and leave its mark in the hearts of many.

In conclusion, sound design in the gaming industry serves a function, a function which cannot be compensated by really nice graphics or story. It is the foundation of which the experience of the game is built around.

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