Music in video games is about so much more than just having something on in the background. Just like in a movie, VGM sets the tone, reflects the game's theme, and can add the finishing touch to an already polished experience. It's hard to get right, but when done well, music can elevate a game from good to great. From obvious inspiration to new horizons, the new state of VGM is more exciting than ever and it just keeps getting better.
Big budget success
When we think of VGM, some music that immediately comes to mind is the retro tracks in titles like Super Mario Bros or Tetris. As catchy as this music is, the early nature of this music doesn't properly relate to how far the industry has come. In modern times, for example, legendary film composer Hans Zimmer worked on the music for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. This is basically the highest level of musical excellence, and is just one illustration of the effort put into game soundtracks. .
Trending songs this week Some of the more common and easy-to-understand ways to implement high-quality music into games are by integrating radio stations with gaming systems. The GTA series has long been known for this, with each of its titles since GTA3 on PS2 featuring existing music that matches the eras and themes of the game. Vice City, for example, leaned heavily on '80s hits and used artists like Rob Stewart and Michael Jackson.
Outside of the AAA market, smaller developers have also made great strides in pushing the musical envelope. Since most of these titles will not invest the huge sums required for official music licenses, they tend to use their own in-house developed soundtracks. This kind of music is growing in popularity with independent producers, but established mobile and Mac game developers have followed a similar path.
The Mac is of particular interest here because while the platform is already hugely popular in many forms of entertainment and work, it has traditionally been lacking in the gaming space. A new generation of free-to-play games for Mac has bucked this trend over the past decade, with many cross-platform titles supported on a range of desktop and mobile devices. Because these titles are built on the latest technology, they have been optimized for the best quality audio often found on Mac systems.