All 80s and 90s kids reading this will probably recognise the Mario Bros video games and most likely remember its characteristic soundtrack. Old-school video games such as Pac Man and Mortal Kombat, and even more recent hits like Halo and Fortnite, wouldn’t be the same without their easily recognisable tunes, which have become classics on their own. Chances are you can hear this image in your head right now:
“A lot of the time you sit in your bedroom, by yourself, playing a game. It’s brilliant. The world goes away. The music just takes you to another world. That’s the glory of video games” said video game composer Grant Kirkhope in an interview with Mashable, and probably every gamer around would definitely agree with him. Just like in movies, music can create momentum and add a whole new experience to any kind of video game, regardless of the theme. But choosing the perfect royalty free video game music soundtrack is no easy task, not even one for Mario Bros (got the joke there?). It takes a lot of time of searching and browsing to finally find the perfect fit, which of course has to be royalty free, as you want to avoid getting copyright claims.
To start, be sure to know your game – literally. The soundtrack you choose has to be in tune with the story, the characters and especially the audience you are trying to target. Most importantly, it has to go with the aesthetics and visuals of the game. A dramatic moment or the grand entrance of a character deserves the right kind of soundtrack, while a triumphant one needs some kind of motivation to keep on playing. Remember that music helps to keep your audience engaged, so you have to know how you want the user to feel like when listening to the tune: do you want to motivate them? Do you want to celebrate something? Do you want to make an impact? Clearly the soundtrack can vary with each moment, so creating a list of purposes and emotions you want to awaken on the gamer, could be of great help. To do so, we recommend creating different lists on your Wishlists panel, in order to organise your favourite choices and have a better view of your selections.
Just as there are many genres of games, there are many types and uses of music in them. As we said before, from the intro to the action and finale, each moment needs the right kind of background tune. Can you imagine an epic battle scene without the equally dramatic music? Neither do we. The thing is, music – just like with everything else – helps to awaken all kinds of emotions while playing and this is something that very early on video game designers realised: they needed something playing in the background of their creations, no matter how simple it was. And with time, the concept of music in games evolved so much that developers started hiring musicians to create the perfect tunes. Rapidly music became such an important part of the gaming industry, that nowadays soundtracks are one of the aspects considered when rating a game. And just like their visuals became grander, so did the background music. Even more, it is not uncommon to hear well-known symphonies all around the world playing the iconic partitures from games such as Final Fantasy, The Legend of Zelda, and many others. A quick search around YouTube or Soundcloud will lead you to amazing remixes made by artists inspired on video games soundtracks. That’s how huge they have become, basically a genre of their own.
Flash forward to 2020 and with the rise of streaming platforms such as YouTube and Twitch, professional gamers have become an online phenomenon. So if you are planning to join in the action, you have to know that the same restrictions on adding music into a video game apply to streaming the game online, meaning that you will need royalty free music also for streaming. So your Spotify playlist is out of question, as using copyrighted music could result in the removal of your stream or video, or even worse a lawsuit. Yep, one more thing to worry about and a very important one. But luckily there are more than 3000 tracks at HookSounds, all royalty free *wink*.
And let’s not forget about sound effects, what would video games be without them? Both streamers and video game makers use all kinds of sound effects to make the game even more interesting and appealing for the players. From Fallout’s vault to those door openings on Doom, even sound effects have become a recognisable asset on games. If you are looking for some, you can check our sound effects library.
Heavy metal, electronic and even the most basic tunes can clearly help to make or break the perfect video game experience. As much as we love good ol’ Mario and Pac Man, reality is that as video games have become more mainstream, the soundtracks have gotten a lot more impressive and, most importantly, users expectations are even grander. Current games and streams require high quality background music that is both appealing and legal to use, thankfully you can have all that at HookSounds.