Posted on: April 21, 2022 Posted by: Glacier Staff Comments: 0

Graphic by Sarah Schudt

By Glacier Staff

“Pokémon Mystery Dungeon Symphonic Suite No. 1.” Not exactly a title you would expect in the realm of classical music, but that was one of the pieces performed by the Moraine Valley Orchestra at a concert entitled “Games & Gaming: Music in Play” on April 10.

“In the last few years, the mainstream composers started picking up the gaming composers’ music and arranging it,” said music faculty member Maryann Flock.

Flock’s responsibilities include arranging tracks to fit her conducting style. For example, she takes pieces with 46 different instruments and whittles them down to just 15. This process makes them easier to play for the orchestra.

“I ended up manipulating Pokémon so much that I put my name on it, it was the Pokémon that I really went after,” she said.

During the concert, Flock touched on the fact that Zelda music is so popular, that YouTube has more videos of the music than it does of people playing the game, a rare sight in the gaming community. Flock says she’s gotten many requests from students asking her to play Zelda music, so she ended up adding two pieces from the iconic game to the concert.

Why is it that video game music has become so popular in recent years? Maybe it’s because the music can bring back memories from our childhood. Sometimes a simple soundtrack is enough to trigger a well of childhood nostalgia.

With this surge in video game music popularity in recent years, The Glacier is looking back on how these iconic tracks have shaped some of its staff’s childhoods.

Call Of Duty calls back nostalgia

Joey Fernandez, Sports Editor

Growing up, I would hurry home after school to spend as much time as I could playing video games before I’d get kicked off by my parents. One game–and its music–always seemed to stick with me and pique my interest: the Call of Duty series. For countless years, the soundtrack stuck in my head.

If someone were to play a song from any Call of Duty game between 2010 and 2014, I’d be able to name the game and the year it came out, purely from the nostalgia and the memories that I associate with it.

The music in the game isn’t the kind of tune that anyone would listen to outside of playing it. It’s the sort of sound that sticks with you and helps you associate it with the memories of playing and having a good time with friends and family.

Minecraft brings comfort

Connor Dore, Multimedia Editor

Video games have created iconic music since their invention. Sometimes a soundtrack can really throw you into the environment and make you feel like you’re there. While that is important to any good video game, there is one game that sticks out to me. Minecraft takes me back to being eight years old, sitting on a dirty couch, and online playing with my friends. Minecraft took Gen Z by storm when it came out, giving kids the ability to build anything, explore caves, fight enemies.

I could go into a game now that I shared with my friends in 2011. I can see all the old things we built, but it’s the menu music that’s so nostalgic. The soft, echoing piano keys and rising synth chords put me in a time machine, taking me back to when my only worry was how late I was going to stay up.

In the arena with childhood memories

Christina Weszelits, JRN 111 Student

Music can bring us back to a time when anything was possible and our imagination had no limits. That is what video game music can do: bring us to our childhood or even to a different time in history.

While playing most games there will be music that matches the game. For example, in wrestling games like WWE SmackDown! vs. Raw and many of the WWE 2K games you will hear the entrances of the wrestlers because that matches the aggression of the game you are playing. In wrestling games especially, you will hear a lot of different genres that will go with the wrestlers’ character in real-time. The music builds the character and creates emotions for the player who is in control of the narrative.

Video game music tugs at the heartstrings

Marcus Collins, Photo Editor

Video game music is always important when it comes to making a game iconic. For me, that sort of icon status comes from Guitar Hero II after it covered the Foo Fighters song “Monkey Wrench.” The song is an absolute headbanger. I recommend you blast it full volume and rock out with those around you. You also have games that are so iconic and memorable that they make you cry, like Naughty Dog’s 2013 video game The Last of Us. The beginning scene where Joel loses his daughter Sarah has made me cry on multiple occasions.

Ghost of Tsushima is another game that’s emotionally impactful for me. A character named Taka made me cry when he died in this game. Taka is one of the allies trying to help reclaim Tsushima from the Mongol invasion by the game’s main villain, Khotun Khan. In the game, you take back your home using tactics forbidden by the Samurai of Japan, getting your blood pumping to combat music, flute tunes, and haikus you compose yourself, all while enjoying the beauty and the nature of the Island of Tsushima. The music narrates and plays for you in the background, helping you foresee your journey ahead.

Obsessed with The Sims

My whole life, I have loved video games. I remember living with my grandparents as a kid, and I would pretty much never leave the computer room. I had nearly any game at my disposal, and of course, the soundtracks would get stuck in my head.

Rosie Finnegan, Opinions Editor

The longest-running video game obsession that I have is The Sims. The loading screen song is playing in my brain in a constant loop throughout my life. I have almost 2,000 hours logged on this game, and that’s only in the last two and a half years. The Sims is genius because they have real musicians turn their songs into Simlish (the language spoken by the characters in The Sims) to be played in the game. Even the rock band Paramore has a Simlish version of their song Pressure. I adore the different loading screen themes that they have in game.

The Sims team does have their issues, but one thing they are consistently amazing at creating is music. So much of the music included in the franchise is immediately recognizable, even if you are not an avid player. It is common for fans to have a favorite era of Sims music, and perhaps even a favorite song. I just think it’s amazing that a franchise that is somewhat niche has spread so much joy for their tunes. A lot of video game music has reached iconic status, and in my opinion, it’s well deserved. 

iPod touches on childhood innocence

Everyone has that favorite video game that they played as a kid for hours on end. When our mom bought the iPod Touch for me and my brother, we were immediately hooked, immersed in a world of constant stimulation. Games like Temple Run and Subway Surfers were quick to play, free, and didn’t require much skill to master. But something that was always lurking in the background, barely noticeable but present, was the music.

No matter what game you played, you had to have the volume blasting or it didn’t feel right. To play a video game silently was the ultimate sin. The music acted as an emotional shell to which to cling. While shooting zombies with peashooters and blocking them with giant in-game walnuts in a round of Plants vs. Zombies, there was a distinct noise in the background, reminiscent of Billie Eilish’s hit song bad guy.

Nick Stulga, News Editor

This music was a portal into the virtual dimension, where all things were possible within the realm of imagination and all that was required was a device and two fully-functioning limbs. When it was time to go to bed, sometimes late at night, my brother and I would sneak our devices upstairs to continue gaming. It didn’t feel right not having the volume on, but it felt even worse to leave a game unattended. A few times we got caught, but we kept trying regardless.

Eventually, I discovered Minecraft and fell in love with the building aspect of the game. The music was serene and calming, a perfect wave of bliss for getting lost in a huge building project, like a virtual house. Even while fighting zombies in survival mode, something about the calm, yet ominous tone of the music perfectly set the stage for a block-filled in-game night of desperation and killing.

I don’t play many of those games anymore but I can’t deny the profound effect the music of the games had on the experience. Something about playing a game without noise was eerie. At that point, what was the purpose of the volume button? The music has continued to remind me of the innocence of being a kid and not knowing the world well enough to understand its hurt and violent nature. At least sometimes I can look back at those games and reflect on those moments of peace and bliss.