Does it matter if you’ve played the game?

There are those who look back on their video game collection and grab/buy soundtracks from their favorite games. There are others who collect all video game soundtracks that have received any admiration or positive reviews. Are there any differences in listening to games that you yourself haven’t played?

For me, there are differences. Growing up, I only collected music from games I remembered to be my favorites. Video game music wasn’t a subject you saw much about, so at the time you only worried about the game itself, and not the composer or company the game came from. There weren’t many reviews out there for video game soundtracks.

Years passed, however, and video games shifted from using their 8-bit chipsets for music, and transitioned to synth pads and occasionally full orchestra. OC Remix had grown into taking music out of these outdated chipsets and making it sound modern. These changes contributed to making music stand out, even in game reviews, and composers grew to receive some more personalized credit.

About a year ago, I stumbled upon a few playlists on YouTube where people had listed, in no particular order, their favorite video game singles through the years. These spanned from NES down to modern day PS3, Xbox360 and Wii. I saw many songs that I also agreed were in my favorites, but most of the songs were from games I never played. For instance:

Secret of Mana for SNES .

This game has what is considered one of the best SNES soundtracks of all time. I, however, have never played this game. I decided, for probably the second time ever, to download a soundtrack from a game I haven’t played. I listened over it, picked what I liked most, and included it in a massive playlist that included my favorite music. It is still there today, but is it the same?

Generally, it is not. Not for me at least. The songs, while enjoyable, do not stir me. They feel empty in meaning. They do not recall any memories to mind like the other 99% of my playlist. They just don’t seem to fit. Curiously, I said ‘generally’ earlier because this is not always the case. I have never played Guild Wars (or any of its many expansions), but because I loved other work by Jeremy Soule I decided to collect those soundtracks. I absolutely love those songs, almost as much as the other music from games I’ve played. Is it the style? Or maybe because I’ve listened to Guild Wars for years, and Secret of Mana for less than a year.

It’s always going to come down to personal preference. Some people just love to collect as much video game music as they can. I just don’t because it doesn’t feel nearly the same to me.


About shidoshax

Video game addict that can enjoy a video game's music as much as the gameplay itself. I play a variety of genres for a variety of age groups. I started playing video games on the original Pong device, then to Atari and Colecovision, then on to Nintendo and so forth. I've owned almost everything, including less popular systems like the Game Gear, Sega CD, Sega 32X and more.
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2 Responses to Does it matter if you’ve played the game?

  1. I feel you. For me, a lot of video game music comes down to the context in which I heard the tune for the first time. My collection has very few tunes from titles I’ve never played. An example that comes to mind is the opera from Final Fantasy VI — a pretty solid song in its own right, but not nearly as impactful to me if I hadn’t built my way up to it.

    • shidoshax says:

      I must say I’m quite shocked. I had no idea anyone was ever really going to see my blog. You almost made me faint this morning.

      I’m glad to see another fellow music fan feel the same way. Thanks for commenting! 🙂

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