Has game music achieved the same level as film music?

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lordlors

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#1 lordlors
Member since 2004 • 6128 Posts

As you may have noticed there are now a lot of orchestrated game music of old games and orchestral game music of new games played by various orchestras including those well known. For example, Kingdom Hearts Castlevania Donkey Kong and many more. Has game music achieved the same level as film music? Is it as complex and as good as classical music? Will it ever become popular to professional musicians? For me, game music is the main thing that made me pursue violin as a hobby.

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Swanogt19

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#2 Swanogt19
Member since 2008 • 24159 Posts
No. I would argue that game music is getting there but not at that level yet. The general public does not think of music as being a big part of most video games. But some game music is already quite popular since as Super Mario Bros. Just like some film scores pieces are better known by the public than others. Another argument is that there is no one videogame award ceremony that is fully appreciated or sought after like the movies (The Oscars). Until then I don't think game music will be at the same level as film music.
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punkpunker

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#3 punkpunker
Member since 2006 • 3383 Posts

bungie's Martin o'donnell has reached similar levels with Halo reach soundtrack.

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deactivated-57ad0e5285d73

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#4 deactivated-57ad0e5285d73
Member since 2009 • 21398 Posts
In a lot of ways it has exceeded it. Film scores have become overly generic. While the same thing is starting to happen to games, you still have stuff like Uncharted, Mario, Zelda, and MGS--music that is immediately recognizable after only a few notes.
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EvilSelf

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#5 EvilSelf
Member since 2010 • 3619 Posts

It is certainly on a very high level. Mass Effect series and especially Skyrim's soundtrack is a work of art. Just a few to name for a start.

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-Unreal-

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#6 -Unreal-
Member since 2004 • 24650 Posts

Of course it has. I think people don't see it that way because when you look at a movie soundtrack it's mostly in your face dramatic scores whereas games include a lot of ambient scores on their soundtracks.

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GeoffZak

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#7 GeoffZak
Member since 2007 • 3715 Posts

I feel as though game music has surpassed film music many times.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qj8HyirQuI0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NA8mZ7M58yc

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQW-oL_cgyE

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Archangel3371

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#8 Archangel3371
Member since 2004 • 35849 Posts
Oh yeah absolutely it has and in fact it has been for some time now ie. Metal Gear Solid 2.
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lordlors

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#9 lordlors
Member since 2004 • 6128 Posts
No. I would argue that game music is getting there but not at that level yet. The general public does not think of music as being a big part of most video games. But some game music is already quite popular since as Super Mario Bros. Just like some film scores pieces are better known by the public than others. Another argument is that there is no one videogame award ceremony that is fully appreciated or sought after like the movies (The Oscars). Until then I don't think game music will be at the same level as film music.Swanogt19
I do not care what the general public thinks since popular music is the most popular choice anyway. I care about professional musicians and professional orchestras' views and stance on game music. I'm not talking just about popularity but also complexity and quality of game music. Since game music is now being played by various professional orchestras and musicians around the world, do you think it has now achieved a high status in the music world quality and complexity wise?
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23Jarek23

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#10 23Jarek23
Member since 2009 • 2647 Posts

In a lot of ways it has exceeded it. Film scores have become overly generic. While the same thing is starting to happen to games, you still have stuff like Uncharted, Mario, Zelda, and MGS--music that is immediately recognizable after only a few notes.Heirren

This is a very good point but I don't think music in games has exceeded music from films, There are plenty of movies, far more than video games that have recognizable scores.

The problem is that the majority of movies these days, unless they're massive don't have very recognizable themes because the producers just don't care, they want to spend as little as possible and make as much in return, the gaming industry will be the same eventually.

take the 2000 Spiderman theme VS. the Amazing Spiderman theme, the new one is awful in comparison and doesn't have an identity, sounds too generic. Most games these days have fantastic main themes and overall scores that could rival the majority of modern film scores but they aren't close to the greatest film scores. Film scores have peaked, there are only a few composers who still come up with something extremely exciting, but we'll never hear another theme as good as the original superman, or star wars, and that's where I have to disagree with anyone who would say that it has exceeded the film industry. Who doesn't recognize the superman theme? or star wars? 7 year olds will know it and so will 70 year olds, but I really doubt they'd know the theme to Uncharted.

and no, video game music is nowhere near classical music...people simply just can't write music that good anymore, you can hate it or love it, I'm not a huge fan of classical, but you can't argue that it's some of the best written music in history...the complexity alone destroys the majority of modern music.

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wavey_gravey

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#11 wavey_gravey
Member since 2007 • 11155 Posts
I honestly don't see why not, although I would argue that perhaps game music isn't looked at as seriously as music in film? I might be wrong. Game soundtracks that have stood out for me recently is Mass Effect, Skyrim and I STILL get chills at the Halo music.
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IndianaPwns39

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#12 IndianaPwns39
Member since 2008 • 5037 Posts

I would argue that video game music, at least the best of it, has surpassed film scores in a number of ways.

If you compare game music to blockbusters, the old scores are hard to top. Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Jaws, etc, all have memorable scores that are recognizable to people who haven't even seen the movies. Nowadays though, everything is so uninspired and big movies rarely have catchy themes. In fact, the only ones I can think of are Nolan's Batman films and Harry Potter. But other big blockbusters? Iron Man, The Avengers, Transformers, etc, all bland and forgettable scores. Games, on the other hand, have been pumping out memorable themes consistently, especially this generation. Assassin's Creed, Uncharted, Arkham City... etc. Memorable themes also change in games to adapt a particular feel. In Star Wars, you repeat the same theme over and over movie to movie. In the Elder Scrolls, the theme we knew from Oblivion changed in Skyrim with the Dovakhin version, giving it a more Nordic feel and making the familiar unique.

But I think where video game music really shines and succeeds is in interactivity. Halo is probably the best example of this. The music always corresponded to what you were doing, and could be emotional, intense, or intimidating depending on the situation. I always loved how it began and ended too. In Halo 3 during the air battle in the level "The Covenant" I always thought it was cool how they programmed it to start slowly as you took off, and then during the fight it was more intense, and finally when everything was dead and you were landing it slowed down. The first time I played it the music stopped as soon as I touched the ground, which was awesome.

And while it's probably the programmer's job to make all this work and not the composers themselves, the composers still have to work out songs that invoke the emotions. Skyrim did a great job of providing great music for travelling, and it changed accordingly during an intense battle, and I think the excellent song writing had a lot to do with why fighting dragons felt so bad ass. Or the terminal shoot out in Max Payne 3. Here's a game about intense shoot outs that was made that much more intense with well designed and placed music.

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deactivated-57ad0e5285d73

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#13 deactivated-57ad0e5285d73
Member since 2009 • 21398 Posts
/\ I'd nix Skyrim, and Nolan's Batman. Skyrim is as generic as a property gets. In regards to Nolan's Batman, I originally thought the score was a cut and paste job from various sources, one being Two Steps From Hell.
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#15 Black_Knight_00
Member since 2007 • 69 Posts
That goal has been achieved 8 years ago with Metal Gear Solid 3
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#16 Black_Knight_00
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[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]
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#17 ScorpionTroll
Member since 2012 • 810 Posts

I get more excited over video game soundtracks than I do most movie soundtracks. It's where some of the more original music is these days.

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#18 IndianaPwns39
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/\ I'd nix Skyrim, and Nolan's Batman. Skyrim is as generic as a property gets. In regards to Nolan's Batman, I originally thought the score was a cut and paste job from various sources, one being Two Steps From Hell.Heirren

When compared with other fantasy RPGs though? Skyrim has memorable melodies and actually experiments with already established music. Generic maybe, but I always found it grand enough to pull me into the mood the world was trying to establish at the time.

And Two Steps From Hell? As in the production company that makes trailer music that started in 2006? Yeah the Batman films probably ripped them off, even though Begins was a 2005 film.

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#19 deactivated-57ad0e5285d73
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[QUOTE="Heirren"]/\ I'd nix Skyrim, and Nolan's Batman. Skyrim is as generic as a property gets. In regards to Nolan's Batman, I originally thought the score was a cut and paste job from various sources, one being Two Steps From Hell.IndianaPwns39

When compared with other fantasy RPGs though? Skyrim has memorable melodies and actually experiments with already established music. Generic maybe, but I always found it grand enough to pull me into the mood the world was trying to establish at the time.

And Two Steps From Hell? As in the production company that makes trailer music that started in 2006? Yeah the Batman films probably ripped them off, even though Begins was a 2005 film.

According to Wikipedia, Thomas Bergerson has been an active composer since 2003. The albums that arrive didn't just create themselves out of thin air. The really popular one was probably in the works for quite some time. I swear, and it might even be the case, that Dark Knight uses Some of his stuff. I could be wrong, though.
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#20 deactivated-57ad0e5285d73
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[QUOTE="Heirren"]/\ I'd nix Skyrim, and Nolan's Batman. Skyrim is as generic as a property gets. In regards to Nolan's Batman, I originally thought the score was a cut and paste job from various sources, one being Two Steps From Hell.IndianaPwns39

When compared with other fantasy RPGs though? Skyrim has memorable melodies and actually experiments with already established music. Generic maybe, but I always found it grand enough to pull me into the mood the world was trying to establish at the time.

And Two Steps From Hell? As in the production company that makes trailer music that started in 2006? Yeah the Batman films probably ripped them off, even though Begins was a 2005 film.

According to Wikipedia, Thomas Bergerson has been an active composer since 2003. The albums that arrive didn't just create themselves out of thin air. The really popular one was probably in the works for quite some time. I swear, and it might even be the case, that Dark Knight uses Some of his stuff. I could be wrong, though.
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#21 Vari3ty
Member since 2009 • 11111 Posts

It is certainly on a very high level. Mass Effect series and especially Skyrim's soundtrack is a work of art. Just a few to name for a start.

EvilSelf

This has always been my favorite from the Mass Effect series. I know people generally prefer 1's soundtrack over 2, but I thought Jack Wall did a fantastic job with 2.

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1PMrFister

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#23 1PMrFister
Member since 2010 • 3134 Posts
I'd say they did that ages ago. That said, I play way more video games than I watch movies, and some of my favorite songs in gaming are composed in MIDI or lower quality.

But I think where video game music really shines and succeeds is in interactivity

Agreed. Journey was really good at this, especially towards the end.
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#24 IndianaPwns39
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[QUOTE="IndianaPwns39"]

[QUOTE="Heirren"]/\ I'd nix Skyrim, and Nolan's Batman. Skyrim is as generic as a property gets. In regards to Nolan's Batman, I originally thought the score was a cut and paste job from various sources, one being Two Steps From Hell.Heirren

When compared with other fantasy RPGs though? Skyrim has memorable melodies and actually experiments with already established music. Generic maybe, but I always found it grand enough to pull me into the mood the world was trying to establish at the time.

And Two Steps From Hell? As in the production company that makes trailer music that started in 2006? Yeah the Batman films probably ripped them off, even though Begins was a 2005 film.

According to Wikipedia, Thomas Bergerson has been an active composer since 2003. The albums that arrive didn't just create themselves out of thin air. The really popular one was probably in the works for quite some time. I swear, and it might even be the case, that Dark Knight uses Some of his stuff. I could be wrong, though.

Well yeah, it could be possible. I just find it hard to believe that Hans Zimmer would rip off music when he's made so much that well... I mean it's even been recycled in his own production company :P (Gladiator and Pirates of the Caribbean share remarkly similar themes). Just saying, seems unlikely to me.

I don't even really mean the particular Batman theme itself that plays during the credits either. I meant more along the lines of the Joker's theme, which I found pretty original and an interesting piece.

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#25 Pikminmaniac
Member since 2006 • 11456 Posts

I'd say that video game music's been at that level for a while now. Games like inFAMOUS 2 and Rayman Origins have superb and original soundtracks. The composer for inFAMOUS 2 even put the letters FWI on the sheet music which stood for "F with it". At that point, the orchestra was intended to experiment on the fly.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dYnDLJE4BuI

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Sharpie125

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#26 Sharpie125
Member since 2005 • 3904 Posts

In quality? Absolutely. There's game music that's levels above some film music (depending on how much money they throw at the composer).

In recognition? Not yet, but getting there. I don't exactly love Hans Zimmer, but the fact that more prolific composers are composing for games bodes well. Not to mention Christopher Tin won a Grammy for his arrangement of Baba Yetu.

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LostProphetFLCL

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#27 LostProphetFLCL
Member since 2006 • 18526 Posts

There is definitely a calibur of game music that is on part with the best of movie soundtracks.

Nobuo Uematsu got LOADS of recognition for his amazing work on the FF series, especially 7 (AKA the only soundtrack I have ever bought).

There are just some games/series that have incredible scores, and when you think about it, it is WAY harder to develope a score for a game as you have SO MUCH to score. I mean the FF7 soundtrack is 4 ******* disks!!!

Anyways, great game music examples:

FinalFantasy7

Metal Gear Solid Series

Silent Hill Series

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almasdeathchild

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#28 almasdeathchild
Member since 2011 • 8922 Posts

for both film and game music it's hit and miss

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#29 Ricardomz
Member since 2012 • 2715 Posts
Don't know. I've heard that Hans Zimmer had made the soundtrack of Crysis 2 and those were pretty great.