Online gaming’s popularity is going through the roof, with more people around the world than ever before getting games locked and loaded whether they are playing on console, PC, or mobile.
The two entertainment formats of games and music have always been closely aligned, not least because a game can seem incredibly flat and uninteresting if played on mute. Likewise, bands and recording artists have been keen to have their tunes and lyrics featured on gaming titles that have the power to reach millions of ears.
Here we take a look at some of the games that have put music front and centre of everything they do, so that even the most discerning of music aficionados can have no complaints with what they are hearing as they button bash and screen tap their way to gaming glory.
Whether it is rock n’ roll riffs or electro beats, all of these games bring something different to the table when it comes to music and sound effects
Quake – Industry Defining Soundtrack That Still Stands Up
First there was Castle Wolfenstein, then came Doom, and finally there was Quake, all three of which redefined gaming forever. The influence of such games can still easily be seen in today’s gaming landscape as titles such as Call of Duty and PUBG all follow much the same 3D first-person layout that their pixelated forefathers pioneered.
Trying to better what had gone before them, the developers of Quake knew they needed something that would stand out from the crowd, and what better way was there to do that than to employ the services of Nine Inch Nails?
Trent Reznor took the creative lead in creating a metal-inspired soundtrack that sent shivers down the spine of any player who loaded the game. Whatever Quake may have lacked in the gameplay or graphics department, it more than made up for it with one of the most awe-inspiring soundtracks ever created. This also laid the groundwork for other bands and singers to follow suit, as record labels saw the value that such a collaboration could bring.
Slots – From Guns N’ Roses to Jimi Hendrix
First person shooters set in vast open world settings will always require some level of music, so that gamers don’t feel as though they are playing in a sound vacuum.
Some casino games are similar in this regard, with their bold and playful themes only being complete when combined with a catchy tune or two.
Certain slots providers know this all too well and have therefore gone out of their way to create games that draw heavy inspiration from music icons like Guns N’ Roses, Jimi Hendrix, and Kiss. And it’s not just these artists’ legendary tracks which make such games pop. Players who spin reels by either paying for credits or using free spins bonuses found at a comparison site like oddschecker, will know that such games also have sound effects that include guitar solos, stage pyrotechnics, and even iconic soundbites from the musicians themselves.
Other seminal artists who have lent their names and music to slots include Michael Jackson, The Rat Pack, and Elvis Presley.
The soundtracks for some of these games are so good that players will be tempted to down their controllers or mobile devices to do some air guitar instead
Guitar Hero – Satiating the Public’s Desire for Air Guitar
Whereas most developers use music as a means of adding atmosphere or nostalgia to their gaming titles, there are others that make music the gameplay centrepiece.
Such is the case with Guitar Hero which, since its inception in 2005, has been a smash hit that endured for more than a decade. The game borrowed key arcade elements from dance step games that already existed but altered them to challenge people to form chords and notes on a genuine guitar fret. What truly made the game pop was its official controllers, which took the form of real guitars and meant that living rooms and bedrooms up and down the land were full of wannabee rock stars, head banging into the early hours.
It is unclear how much of a cultural impact the game had, but there can be no doubt that it inspired a new generation to engage with music in a truly innovative way.
Def Jam: Vendetta – Rappers Who Did Gaming DIY-Style
While having a game named after you or hearing your songs appear on the soundtrack of a popular gaming release is all well and good, it is nothing like having a game which you yourself, the musician, created from scratch.
The rap collective Def Jam dared to dream when they made Def Jam: Vendetta, a game that pitted players against famous rappers like Ludacris and DMX in what was a cross between a wrestling bout and an MMA scrap. The result was ridiculous but thoroughly entertaining all the same. The game spawned a whole host of other games that were developed by rappers, such as men like 50 Cent and Kanye West.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Getting Orchestral
There are some gaming soundtracks out there that resemble a hastily put together Spotify playlist, so it is noticeable when developers go out of their way to create a truly unique and game-specific soundtrack.
While many classic video games of yesteryear, and especially those made in Japan, have employed composers to create their scores, the people who made The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim took things further, employing an entire 30-piece orchestra to construct their dream soundtrack.
The result did not disappoint and led to other open world fantasy games doing the same. This shows that just when people thought there was nothing new that could be done with a game soundtrack, there is always some new innovation waiting around the corner.
This particular soundtrack became so popular that the same orchestra even performed it at live concerts, allowing fans of the game to sit back and let the music bring back memories of the game’s characters and story.