Over the weekend, gamers and game developers gathered at the IndieCade Festival in Los Angeles to talk about the state of independent video games. One speaker who especially caught our interest was Ben Prunty, a man who searches far and wide for sounds like light bulbs being struck to make your video game experience better.
Prunty, as NPR reports, is a renowned sound designer who orchestrated the music for the spaceship-simulator game Faster Than Light. "I found a sound library that was all just recordings of light bulbs being struck," Prunty told NPR. "It's really strange, but it made for unique sounding percussion, and it's giving the game a very unique sound that you won't hear ... anywhere else," he added.
The thought of someone taking the time to pick through the Internet to weave sounds together just to make our video game better kinda warms the cockles of our cold black hearts. Maybe it's that today's popular music seems so blah (excluding Haim and Lorde, of course) and stretched thin by Auto-Tune, but it's nice to know someone doing some hard work on the music front.
It's no surprise that certain video game songs and soundtracks tend to capture the nostalgic hearts of all kinds of gamers.
"The game itself looks retro. It looks like a PC game from the '80s," Prunty said, explaining people's first reaction to that retro sound — which could, actually, be a reason why it's caught on:
Nostalgia is a big factor. Gamespot, a video gaming site, explains that people tend to like music which reminds them of happy events. Factor in that tidbit, and you could see why people prefer Prunty's retro sound — it either made them think of old-time video games, which in turn created happy memories, or it just made them recall happy memories from the past.
Anyway, with so many fuzzy vibes going around, we decided to name some of our favorite songs from video games. Here they are:
The Legend of Zelda
When I leave this Earth, I hope that someone who I love decides to play this song at my funeral as the pyre is pushed out to sea. This is what bliss feels like.
Aeris's/Aerith's Song from Final Fantasy 7
"Why can't you revive her with Phoenix Downs? What the — " 15-year-old Alex cursed at his Playstation with tears in his eyes. People get killed in Final Fantasy all the time, and usually you could throw a potion in their direction or cast a spell and they'd be fine. That did not happen with Aeris.
Super Mario's "Star Song"
If you got the "star" in any Mario game, you were golden. Imagine if, instead of work, you were on a white-sand beach in Thailand sipping on a pina colada with Kate Upton/Ryan Gosling — all that goodness is only half of the goodness contained in this song. This song often plays when I am on glass Number Four of wine.
Sorry. Was I supposed to write something here instead of YouTubing epic Pokemon battles? My mistake.
Any true hockey video game fans knows the distinct "do da doo doo, doo dooo," from EA Sports' NHL 94. Music in sports video games is usually forgotten. Modern games opt for the same pop and rock music that plays in real arenas. But NHL 94, one of the genre's first all-time classics, had one of the best scores in video game history. When EA decided to include a 20th anniversary mode with their most recent hockey game, developers made sure to emulate the best details of the classic — including the original soundtrack.
Red Dead Redemption
The chords from Jose Gonzalez's "Far Away" will always haunt people who played Rockstar's Wild West game, reminding them of the pivotal moment when John Marston rode into Mexico knowing that nothing would ever be the same.
How many times did this song soundtrack The Atlantic Wire's Connor Simpson's getting killed in his friends' basement during junior high? Those Gregorian chants immediately bring back memories of teenaged dread and Doritos powder.