Sound is a very important aspect of game design. When you think about game design you tend to skim over the sound area as you don’t necessarily pay much attention. Hearing is more of a passive sense, therefore making sound something where you don’t tend to notice it is there but if there’s no sound or incorrect sounding then you realise.
Sounds are used in games to help provoke an emotional response in the audience. Whether it be, fear, anger, sadness ect. This is done by using different strategies to convey meaning. For instance, sharp, high jolted notes are used, in essence with disjointed silence, to scare and disorientate the audience. Whereas, soft, long notes are often used in sad or dramatic sounds. For example;
Listen to the incoherent shuffling tones, which seem to have no sort of rhythm too. The human brain is conditioned to respond to rhythmic noises, so the lack of flow in the music and sound creates an eerie confusion for the brain to handle.
Diegetic and non diegetic sound is used in the gaming world. As well as the music you must have item response noises. To create a convincing level you must integrate the appropriate sound convincingly. For example, a dripping tap wouldn’t look right if you couldn’t here the water dropping. Our eyes and ears have to work together to get a sense of realism, without one, the other one becomes distorted.
Theme tunes are also useful for gaining recognition.
Some key composers working in industry are;
-Harry Gregson Williams – who created the theme tunes for Metal Gear Solid 2, 3 and 4.
- Inon Zur – who created the theme tunes for games such as fallout 3.
- Koji Kondo – Who created the theme tunes for Zelda: Orarina of Time, Super Mario Bros and Super Mario 64.
- Michiru Oshima – Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.
All of these inspiring composers use interesting melodies to create the desired effect. For example, the melancholy tones of the fallout 3 music differs greatly from the adventurous music for Zelda.
As I play a lot of horror games, sound is one of the most iconic aspects of a horror game. It is used to create tension and to scare the audience. In addition with interesting visual components, this can create a very frightful, heart-pounding experience. Some key sound aspects for me, come from games such as FEAR (As I spoke previously about) and games like amnesia. Here are some links to gameplays of some of my favourite horror games with amazing sound techniques;
In regards to the quote “Nile Rodgers/Bernard Edwards composition 'Good Times' is the most influential recording made in the 20th Century”, I believe that this quote is purely based on the individual. I personally disagree, as I listened to the music I tried to think of what it had been in. I couldn’t think of much, to be influenced by something is a personal thing. I’m influenced by horror stories, people and life in general. This is not true to everyone, it is a matter of opinion.