Nitpick: Repetitive Music
I know I’m not the only who believes video game music is absolutely fantastic. Whether you own an official soundtrack from a game or not, you can’t deny the power that comes from the thrilling tunes that pop up when you’re engaged in combat or the somber tunes that resonate with you when witnessing a sad moment. Music is an important aspect of a video game and without it, many facets of the game would feel somewhat empty and devoid of personality. Simply put, music tends to heighten a player’s emotional response of a given situation, like the ones I mentioned above. So what exactly about music do I want to discuss on Nitpick this week? It’s the tunes that pop up again and again and again.
Many games have themes. If you’ve played games like Halo 3 or Kingdom Hearts, you’ll often notice that many tunes sound eerily similar. It’s a tactic that’s employed to create various pieces for various situations. For instance we have multiple types of the Halo theme song. One is slow perhaps for a death scene and then another we have the loud, blasting anthem version. Of course these two aren’t the only two types of the Halo theme that exists in Halo 3. The soundtrack is actually littered with more than five different types of the main theme, and more of other types of tunes.
Normally I’m all for alternate renditions of the same same melody. If the song is good then why create something entirely new. This is especially true if the song that is remade into multiple versions is the game’s main theme. It’s understandable that the composer and the developers want to emphasize the musical theme for the game numerous times. Having said that, there’s a point where it’s absolute overkill. This point varies from person to person, however, the fact remains the point does exist. So what exactly is so bad about overused melodies? It loses its personality, emotion, and consequently, life.
I don’t want to bombard you with rhetorical questions all day so I’ll get straight to the point: each piece of music has its own distinguished trait. Take for example “To Zanarkand” from Final Fantasy X. You can easily tell what type of instrument is the focus for this tune. In addition, it’s not hard to also tell why this song was created. The mellow melody and the slow pace of the tune automatically tells its listeners that there is something dramatic set in motion. As the song quickly speeds up into various successive pacing of the keys on the Piano you can almost hear that there is something that it’s desperately trying to do. It wants to tell a story. Coincidentally so, if you’re familiar with this piece then you might remember the two-line monologue of Tidus in FFX: “Listen to our story. This may be our last chance.”