The proper use of sounds. Something lost?

Discussion in 'General Gaming Discussion' started by BunnyHops, Apr 3, 2017.

  1. BunnyHops
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    Yesterday I was doing my normal everyday thing, when suddenly, I began playing the Mega Man Battle Network theme song in my mind. That song is one that I haven't heard in many years, and it led to me thinking as to how the music and sounds in a video game play an important role in creating memories, and forming strong ties with the player. Much so, that time can fly away, and the person will still remember the tunes of that one game. I thought of how I can't as easily remember a soundtrack from a game that I played in recent years, and wondered if that aspect of gaming is something that has been lost, or if it's a negative effect caused by my own nostalgia. I personally feel that it is something that indeed has been lost. I think that a lot of companies these days invest more on other aspects of a game, especially when introducing a new franchise, and create sounds that are pleasing, but not memorable.

    Not to say that there aren't games out there exploring this aspect of gaming. Banjo-Kazooie for example is well known for it's sounds, and from what I've seen on YouTube, Yooka-Laylee brought that back from the dead. Yet, I feel that this area is still generally ignored. Maybe because of the technological advancements that we've gone through, games these days purposely focus more on gameplay, story and arts, than sounds. Perhaps before they had to rely more on sounds in order to create an experience, due to limitations. What are your thoughts in regards to this topic?
     
  2. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    Not really as I tend not to play with sound on

    Still from what you say I have to wonder if there is not something similar going on to what is covered in these three videos




     
  3. Tom Bombadildo

    Tom Bombadildo Honk!

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    I forgot
    I can't tell if you actually mean "proper use of sound" or just "a good soundtrack", cuz you give a whole one example which is just a song from a soundtrack so...

    Tons of games still use "proper sound" as major gameplay elements, especially nowadays as game development has advanced so far. I'd wager you probably couldn't find a single "proper" shooter that doesn't use advanced environmental sounds and things to give players more information on things like enemy placements or secrets or whatever. Proper horror/survival games (read: not Five Shits at Freddy's) also use similar environmental sound cues and things to put the player on edge. Alien Isolation is a great example of a game with sound alone that'll spook you good without being jump-scares. Then there are games like Elite Dangerous that has by-far one of the best sound designs of any space simulator I've played, a lot of detail went into engine sounds and battle sounds etc etc. Or we could talk about voice acting, games like Mass Effect, the Batman Arkham games, Bioshock, Last of Us, Witcher series, Uncharted games, LA Noire etc etc etc have amazing voice acting throughout the game that helps people get immersed in the game's setting.


    If you're just talking about soundtracks, I could probably name a couple dozen games released in the last 5 years that had phenomenal soundtracks worth listening to away from the game. You likely just have nostalgia glasses on when you compare classic soundtracks to modern ones, or your taste in music hasn't changed at all in ~20 years so you just don't like good game soundtracks.
     
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  4. BunnyHops
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    Those videos are more in line with what I'm talking about.
     
  5. Veho

    Veho The man who cried "Ni".

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    I can't watch the videos FAST posted at the moment so I may just be reiterating something already said, but the problem with video game music is that the sound quality in games got better, and paradoxically* this is making the soundtrack less memorable.

    Thing is, 8-bit monophonic tweeting had only one melody line and was simple and memorable. The high bitrate, high quality sound on the new platforms lets composers go wild with orchestral excess, that is cool and atmospheric and enhances the game a lot and is great listening even outside the game, but with 40-50-60 channels and tracks making up the background, too complex to remember. Or you may get rock or electronic music which has always been hit or miss. What sticks in the mind are one-melody tunes and earworms, and when a larger piece is memorable it's because it has a memorable leading melody. Good or bad, 8-bit music tends to stick in the mind.

    That, and you played the earlier games longer (relatively speaking) than the recent ones so you listened to the music for longer.


    *Not really a paradox
     
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  6. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    The ones above cover a slightly different topic to that, though if I am continuing to post videos


    and if we are talking about memorability then
     
  7. Veho

    Veho The man who cried "Ni".

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    Okay, I finally came around to watching the videos, and the Extra Credits one is very much exactly what I wanted to say, put more eloquently. But yes, "strong hummable melody."
     
  8. Hells Malice

    Hells Malice Are you a bully?

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    It wasn't lost. I have plenty of newer games that have tracks getting stuck in my head. Still one of the best soundtracks of all time was Nier. Nier Automata just came out recently and also has an amazing and memorable soundtrack. Touhou games all have incredible soundtracks that are memorable.

    Songs back in the day were a bit simpler and easier to commit to memory, but that's about it.
     
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