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    Video Game Soundtracks: An ‘Untapped Gold Mine’ of Music


    When people think of the music industry, many would think about the traditional genres of music such as rock n’ roll, country, R&B, hip-hop, and pop music, but a genre of music many claim to be underrated is video game music.

    Quinn Roycroft is a sophomore psychology major, who has actively been playing video games ever since he got his first Nintendo DS on his sixth birthday and a Nintendo Wii the following Christmas. He recalls playing Super Mario Galaxy for the first time and feeling blown away not just by the gameplay, but also by the soundtrack. He became gripped by the tranquil melodies which accompanied him as he visited desolate galaxies and navigated through obstacles and enemies in the game.

    Thirteen years later, now a college student, Roycroft has played nearly 200 different video game titles, some of his favorites being Pikmin 2, Borderlands, and Pokémon. Roycroft also enjoys listening to various gaming soundtracks outside of the console.

    “I often use video game music when listening to help generate ideas and help me with my own writing and work up enthusiasm,” says Roycroft.

    In a way, Roycroft is utilizing video game music like how it is utilized in-game. For the majority of video games, the music plays in the background to add atmosphere into the virtual world as it changes. The soundtracks in each game vary in tone to accompany varying emotions from when the first level is played, to when the final boss is fought.

    Roycroft listens to video game music because it helps add atmosphere into the current setting he is in and accompanies him whenever he works to complete a task such as writing. The different music which applies to various phases of each game help set a mood throughout various parts of the day.

    Above: Super Smash Bros Ultimate on the Nintendo Switch features 1064 songs of a wide variety to be listened to while playing. It also has a mode where players can listen to soundtracks wherever they go with the screen off. Photo Credit: Tripp Calhoun

    “There would be oftentimes in my dorm I would just be sitting there alone, turn up the speakers, put on some music I have downloaded on my MP3 and just listen to that while I either talk to friends, think to myself, or I’ll sometimes just put on the music while I go for a drive and just listen to it and take my mind away and think about other things I want to write or talk about.”

    Roycroft is far from the only one who listens to video game music as several video game soundtracks posted on YouTube have garnered millions of views.

    People have also uploaded remixes of soundtracks and compile individual songs from different games which set a similar mood within the listener, such as slow and mellow music used to help college students complete assignments or just to make stressful days easier.
    “I feel like it’s an untapped gold mine of nothing but gold and gems.” Roycroft says, “There are several companies that could make bank from just selling their music.”

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    Video Game Soundtracks: An ‘Untapped Gold Mine’ of Music