As children, many of us will have played video games that relied entirely on gameplay to make them popular. Some of the earlier video games had absolutely no incidental music, and any sound that they did include was (theoretically) made by the onscreen character, the weapon they were using, and the characters in hot pursuit.

Where games did have music, it was frequently barely distinguishable from the other sounds, and it was all a mess of bleeps and bloops.

Perhaps it is a consequence of innovation where video games began to be sold on CDs, which held a lot more information and allowed a much freer hand with the sound, but video games now are frequently accompanied by specifically-written music written and scored by professionals.

Like a lot of music, some of it is still unlistenable bilge – but some of it is surprisingly good and really adds to the game. In other cases, the soundtrack is provided by established bands – either original content or known hits – and there has been an innovation of “in game radio stations“, familiar to fans of Grand Theft Auto.

This is, in its own way, a real flip from the period in the 1990s when someone thought it would be a good idea to use video game music samples to make dance tracks.

Games such as Tetris and Super Mario Brothers were subjected to this treatment, and one hopes that the person who thought it was a good idea is now getting the help he needs.

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