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date: 20 February 2020

Video games, music inlocked

  • Karen Collins


Video game music is distinct from music in most other media forms in that when composed well (according to the standards of the game community), the music is dynamic; that is, responsive to game events and player actions. This can mean, for instance, that various parameters of the music (such as tempo, key, and instrumentation), or sequences or sections of music, are altered based in real time on what is happening in the game. For example, a player-generated change in music occurs in Koji Kondo’s music for Super Mario World (Nintendo, 1992); when the player’s character Mario jumps on a character (the dinosaur, Yoshi), a layer of percussion is added to the music. When the player jumps off, the percussion track is removed. In addition to player-generated changes, run-time game parameters such as player health, number of enemies, time of day, or location in the game can alter what music is being played....

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Journal of the Society for American Music