An angle of Pop rarely considered by anyone who is serious about their music is the relationship that it now has with the gaming world. It’s not surprising that this is an overlooked connection since those of us who pride ourselves on our good taste are unlikely to wish to pollute our ears with a lot of what has been presented in games over the last few decades. With this said, it hasn’t all been bad….
Early Days – Chip Tune and 8-bit Music
Early games of the ‘70s were certainly pretty limited in the sort of soundtracks they could provide. Players had to accept rather primitive music that tended to rely on some very basic loops. This said, there were one or two considerable achievements made within the technological limitations then imposed on creative minds. By the ‘80s, however, there was some really impressive stuff being produced, which eventually led to a new genre of music too: Chip tune or 8-bit Music.
This sort of music really grew out of game soundtracks and became a very interesting field as technically-minded musicians experimented with the sort of synthesising equipment that would eventually make its way to the rave scene. A great example of chiptune comes from a Dutch Group called The Judges. Just check out !
‘80s/’90s – Tetris and Streetfighter
The late ‘80s and early ‘90s saw some real progress in gaming music. The popularity of Tetris and its soundtrack is the stuff of legend. Drawing on Russian culture, one track is based on a traditional Russian folk song and another on a piece by Bach and all three were arranged in such a catchy way that they became earworms. The fanfares meanwhile come from Tchaikovsky! On a slightly less highbrow note, the Streetfighter soundtrack made a big impact on release and still comes up time and again in contemporary music, inspiring such musicians as D Double E with hits like “”.
Musical Noughties – Guitar Hero, Rock Band and Just Dance
There must have been something in the air in the mid to late noughties as it was then that the trend for music-based games really got going. With music no longer an incidental part of the gameplay but the very essence of the experience, these sorts of games changed everything.
Guitar Hero was released in 2005, Rock Band in 2007 and Just Dance in 2009. The latter featured such timeless artists as The Beach Boys and Elvis Presley and in turn led to the release of the history-making ABBA game You Can Dance in 2011. Players could dance to songs such as “Winner Takes It All” a song that sounds like it should be playing in a casino. With other titles such as “Money,Money,Money” it is actually surprising that ABBA don’t have a themed slot machine like other pop groups on sites such as Casino Slots Guru where you can .
Looking to the future, with Hip Hop seemingly taking over the Pop scene, we should anticipate a large quantity of rap-along karaoke games that should come with not only an explicit lyrics warning, but a high level of embarrassment warning too!