Music in Early Video Games

  1. 02-16-2021, 05:10 PM
    While the definition of music is debatable in the context of video games, the definition I remember from my music theory class back in the day is that "music is organized sound in motion". Following that definition, even the simplest repeated background sounds used in games like Space Invaders or Asteroids would be considered music. In fact, there is film music and other orchestral music my Phillip Glass and other composers which is not much more complex than the simplicity of the background sounds used in these earlier games.
    Last edited by kermit73; 02-16-2021 at 05:12 PM.
  2. 02-18-2021, 05:22 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by kermit73 View Post
    While the definition of music is debatable in the context of video games, the definition I remember from my music theory class back in the day is that "music is organized sound in motion". Following that definition, even the simplest repeated background sounds used in games like Space Invaders or Asteroids would be considered music. In fact, there is film music and other orchestral music my Phillip Glass and other composers which is not much more complex than the simplicity of the background sounds used in these earlier games.

    RTM REPLY - while the theory behind what constitutes music allows for a much more minimalistic approach, I subscribe to my own definition for this question. And I agree, subjectivity exists.

    Atari 2600 "Asteroids" is the same two digital beeps of different tones non-stop all throughout each wave. That is not "music". Background noise, yes, but not music.

    Arcade "Mappy", NES "Super Mario Brothers"...this is music as is the "Legend of Zelda" franchise, Arcade "Space Harrier" and so forth. And arcade "Rally X", though more minimalist than the rest, still is music in my eye, as is "Moon Patrol" and so many others. Even "Smash TV" counts as music.

    "Space Invaders" does not qualify for this exercise. Neither does "Asteroids".
  3. 02-18-2021, 05:33 AM
    It comes down to the definition of what games are truly "art".

    Theoretically even a simple game such as "Dodge'em" (2600) and "Crash" (arcade/MAME) is "art", but when compared to "Mario 64" for the N64, that's like comparing finger painting to the Mona Lisa.

    And therein lies the problem. Either adopt a minimalistic definition, or a subjective one. There is no middle ground without being subjective to some degree.

    And remember, "critics" vary on the definition of "art" as well. When I was visiting the MOMA in NYC there were two different paintings I took a look at done by two different artists. One was all black with a single white dot painted near a corner, and the other was all white with a single black dot painted. Amazingly each artwork had a unique title which cracked me up but that's a different matter.

    The black piece was, as I had learned, a white canvas that was painted with a primer and then in all black followed by a single white dot. But what cracked me up was that the white painting was painted first with a primer, and then in all black and THEN in all white except for the small area that would end up being the black dot.

    Personally I thought they both were a piece of garbage.

    And speaking of garbage...some modern era "artist" arranged a bunch of trash in some pre-determined order and called it "art". Another famously tacked three male urinals onto a backboard and ended up selling it for $150K. Both were called "art"...I call them garbage.

    Art is subjective, but when it comes to development art...game programs...it becomes much more difficult due to varying degrees of simplicity and other criteria at the higher-end.
  4. 02-28-2021, 10:18 PM
    Please elaborate. A little more is needed from you to justify removing your spammy account. Reply asap. Im itchin' to pound that "report" button. XD
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