How Music Shapes the Memories We Have of Games

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Listening to Video Game Music today and I heard this song that struck me. Immediately it brought forth these incredibly strong emotions within me. I had forgotten how beautiful this simple song was! Not gonna lie to you, I teared up a bit—as lame as that may sound. The song is a from a game called ICO, and I still remember the game vividly.

A Powerful Driver of the Experience

I guess I was reminded of how powerful music in a video game can be. It’s not like ICO was a sad game of anything, but it was incredibly powerful. For me, the music didn’t just remind me of the game, but it reminded me of all the things that I was going through at the time. All the things I was excited for then. It was like taking a vivid nostalgia trip to a different time. It was an unusually powerful experience.

It’s not just that game that has great music. A lot of games have some great sountracks. I absolutely loved the music from Grandia II, a JRPG for the Dreamcast that was later ported over to every system at the time. I remember watching my little brother play that game for hours on end. With my other brothers watching as well, it turned into a great bonding event. I admit I hardly played it, but I did enjoy watching it and enjoyed every facet of that game in that respect.

Before then, there was the Sonic series. Early Sonic games had amazing soundtracks. Hell, even the newer Sonic games—like the excellent Sonic Generations—have some great music. Case in point:

There are some great memories tied to those games. As a kid, the games and the experiences they gave me meant a lot more to me than the simple stories they portrayed.

Nintendo Nostalgia

Super Smash Bros. for Wii U is a great example of the role music plays in games. That game rounds up all the tunes through the generations, as a result you get one of the most complete soundtracks out there. Hearing all the soundtracks from all the eras really drives home all those memories from all those past Nintendo games. I think in many ways I appreciate the music more than the actual games themselves. It’s a beautiful thing.

Super Smash Bros. Wii U



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