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Music in Gaming

Today will seem like a shameless plug for the YouTube channel I’ve brought to life with some of my older videos, and it half is, half isn’t. But let me explain, I know most of you are probably saying, “This mother*****r, trying to get me on his YouTube channel.” – You don’t have to watch the videos that will accompany this article, hell, you can just read the blog and move on – What I’m trying to accomplish here is to connect a bit of an audio experience while I talk to you about what’s on my mind with this blog post.

That being said, bringing my YouTube channel online, I have been watching a few of my older videos, and it reminded me of a topic that is just as important to movies and television shows: Music. I am going to link two of my example videos here, disclaimer, yes they are on my channel, no they are not (as of writing this on my lunch) monetized, I get absolutely nothing from you checking these out, but I truthfully and authentically just want you to understand the subject matter I’m going to talk about.

Here are the two videos:

Final Fantasy XV Leviathan Boss Battle
Dark Souls 3 Abyss Watchers (Pay Attention to the Transition, and how the music controls the emotion)

Now, let me paint a picture for you. Mute these same two videos, and try to watch them. Funny, you lost that ‘epic’, ‘monumental’, ‘intriguing’ feeling you had felt  (hopefully, maybe) when you watched them with audio. This proves my point of the blog post – Music is everything. When you watch a movie, or a television show that is “Epic” (Star Wars, Westworld, and Game of Thrones just to name a few) most of the epic feeling is a connection between the visual and audio experience.

Let’s dig deeper into that thought process. Take some of your most iconic moments from television/movies that you’ve enjoyed through you lifetime, watch them on YouTube, and mute the video. I know you’ll lose dialogue, but bare with me here. The experience changes, you lose a main sense to the gripping moment you are having. You see, the entertainment industry has mastered what pulls at our emotions, what binds us to a certain moment, to add to the tension, or build up that epic fight, but I promise you, 70% of your “Oh my god this is f*****g awesome, look at this fight” feeling when it comes to visual entertainment (we are out of the realm of sports for this) is the music.

Battle of the Bastards. One of the most iconic television battles in all history, is iconic not only because the visuals are amazing, but if you really pay attention, the music pulls you in. When Jon Snow stands up, and the music is rising, you’ll notice, just before the horse hits, it stops. Your brain in turn focuses on the onslaught going on in front of you, it’s because losing the audio puts your brain in a small temporary state of “What the” shock. Which complements the shock of two armies hitting each other, interlocking in battle. You’ll then notice the music kicks back in once it seems like Jon Snow and his army are losing.  But it’s a sort of “dreadfulness” tone and pulls at your heart again. You see, music creates emotion, and when we are visually seeing something on screen, we are not only processing that someone is being murdered, your favorite family was killed, or the epic showdown has begun – we are being “guided” by our musical tones and how our brain processes them, to help lead into those emotions.

Imagine for a moment, if Darth Vader did not have his theme. It would take away a lot from his character. When he shows up, ‘Imperial March’ is almost always close by, jarring your emotions – because they have artfully crafted the fact that his theme song, is just an embodiment of him and some potential “Sith asskicking.” Take a moment to watch a video where he shows up, and his theme plays, you’ll understand. There is an exception here though, in Rogue One Darth Vader shows up to a new song titled “Hope”, and don’t get me wrong this is epic, but I feel not utilizing his theme detracts from the power that moment could have had. The moment was still powerful don’t get me wrong, but imagine how much nostalgia and buzz would have kicked in if they used Imperial March instead? Also a small side note, go google a video for that scene – you’ll see/hear once again the music stops before his arrival, to push that shock value to you to hone in your senses to that moment.

I hope I’ve been able to enlighten you a bit on this topic, and you no longer think I’m just trying to get you to go to my YouTube channel. I think some shows like “Attack on Titan” or “Westworld” and games in general, are half as entertaining as they are, because of expert utilization of emotional manipulation through music.



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