How often have you had a good time playing a game and during that experience, a tune playing in the background adds to that good time? I have often played something and suddenly a melody would grab me and smack me around, forcing me to find out what the name of that song is, who made it and how I can get a hold of it to add it to my MP3 playlist. I really enjoy that feeling and I’ve realized that the music selection offered in video games are like hidden gems waiting to be discovered. Listening to those songs outside of the game helps add value to the memory of that experience. The only issue I might have is how the outside world can’t understand how they heard me playing a familiar Rihanna song immediately followed by Hikari (Simple and Clean), the theme to Kingdom Hearts by Hikaru Utada.
The first time I saw the commercial for Kingdom Hearts and I heard the music playing in the background, I got that feeling again. Again I was moved to uncover the mystery behind the music and the person who made it. Seeing the images of the Disney characters Goofy and Donald Duck together with Cloud Strife from Final Fantasy Seven just blew my mind. I didn’t know what t think of this unthinkable mash-up. Who would’ve predicted Kingdom Hearts would have been the powerhouse it is today?
I can have Breaking Benjamin’s Evil Angel alongside a song I heard while playing Little Big Planet, Tapha Nang by Toumani Dibates symmetric Orchestra. Two of my best friends online along with myself were trying out this legendary title for the first time just to see what all the fuss was about. We had Skype enabled so we could see each other’s reaction live during gameplay. When we got to a certain level and heard this really soothing melody, I subconsciously began nodding my head on-beat to the song. I looked over on the computer monitor and noticed that both of my friends were doing the same, with big smiles on their faces!
If you played the zombie mode in Call Of Duty: Black Ops as much as my clan and I then you’d know how difficult it is to get to level 40 on any given map. To have everyone on the same page, following orders watching each other’s back is no easy feat. I know that when we felt things were going to become a little more challenging due to the circumstances and we had the time to do it, we would run around, touch the markers that exist on any given map, and start playing the hidden music tracks. Considering how often this was done, it’s only natural to want to hear 115 playing in your car on the way to the supermarket. Is driving to Wal-Mart as invigorating as running from zombies in an abandoned missile silo? Of course not, but you get my point.
To me when I hear a song that I know that I like, it’s one of the best feelings in the world because I know I can hear it again if I can find it. Then I add it to my playlist and it pops up completely by surprise and it brings a smile to my face. There are artists that I never knew existed until I played certain games like Burnout: Paradise. Driving through Paradise City I heard Killswitch Engage’s My Curse and Make Good Your Escape’s Beautiful Ruin. Once I heard their music in the game I had to seek them out and see what else they had to offer, and of course add them to my playlist.
It’s reached the point that the way a song is presented to me determines if I even purchase a game. I used to play SSX all the time and the newest version recently came out for the PS3. Before it hit the stores there was a playable demo in which the game drops you from a helicopter. As you fall to the earth you learn the moves of the game, all while Young Blood by The Naked And The Famous is playing in the background. So I’m there bopping my head again, learning moves, smiling my butt off. Once the training was done, at the bottom of the course the character I was controlling was standing there moving and dancing on-beat to the song! That made me immediately run out and buy SSX for the PS3. The song and the way it was presented to me sent a joyous shiver down my spine and I just had to have that game. That’s what it’s all about.
My point is that good music exists in plenty of games. The fact that they came from a game shouldn’t stop you from enjoying them outside of one. I find hearing songs that I heard during a game that I liked sends images through my head and reminds me of where I heard it. Not only does it add value to the experience, in some cases it brings me back to want to experience the game again. It makes me relive all those great moments I had. It extends the life of any of these particular moments when I was enjoying myself. Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with that and you should’t either. So the next time someone gives you an awkward glare because you’re listening to something like the instrumental menu music from the game Amy, just remember that there’s nothing wrong with you, you’re a music lover and you’re not alone; that theme is hot.