How to Make Great Video Game Music

Sounds are often even more prominent in our memory than things we see with our eyes, and anyone of a certain age will lovingly recall gaming themes that bring memories of their childhood. Whether that’s the ping of Mario collecting a coin or Ryu yelling Hadouken as he releases a fireball, these sounds, and sound effects live with us.

It’s not easy to make music, and SFX, for gaming; in fact, it’s arguably tougher than doing the same for movies or a video project. The reason for the complexity is rooted in the fact that your work is confined entirely in a fantasy world, which you are creating from scratch.

This creates conflicts and issues but also means you are not bound by anything other than the limits of your imagination. When it comes to creating a great game, there is no doubt that the music and sound effects you use will prove invaluable.


Where to Get Great Video Game Music

In order to create the soundscape for your project, in other words, everything from the theme music all the way to the noises made by a character as he’s being bludgeoned to death, you’ll want a service that offers you a vast selection of tracks, samples, and SFX files.

With this in mind the sensible, and most cost-effective option really is stock music. Any other way of scoring your project will prove either hugely expensive or incredibly time-consuming and, in some cases, both.

You may have had designs on getting a great deal of mainstream music to help give your gaming environment something of a ‘familiar’ feel, much as you would have experienced with games in the FIFA and Grand Theft Auto franchises, but you are unlikely to have the budget to support such an endeavor.

Also, in all honesty, that path isn’t necessarily the most unique and suitable for your project anyway. Ideally, you’d want your game to be fresh and unlike any other, and using a stock music service that offers you a near unlimited scope when it comes to all areas of your soundtrack, will give you a much more rounded end product.

A stock music provider will give you access to a one-stop-shop that will cover all your needs and, depending on which service you pick, will do so in an intuitive and straightforward manner, which in turn saves you time when it comes to completing the process of producing a kick-ass video game.

Unforgettable Sounds and Music

When you think about classic video games, from even the earliest incarnation of console gaming, it’s sometimes the music that really sticks with you, and that’s a testament to the importance of this part of your gaming production process as well as a reminder that some of the real gems in the video gaming world came from an era long before the one we are in now.


Five Memorable Video Game Sound Effects

Let’s take the opportunity to single out some of those truly distinctive moments from video game sound effect history.


Super Mario Coin Collect

We already touched upon this, but it shouldn’t be overlooked. The simple chime attached to our lovable character’s collection of a coin is indelible and is so well-known that it’s even been mixed into songs. Something about that ‘ching’ is both warming to the heart and hugely effective as a means to push the gamer to collect more.


Sonic the Hedgehog ‘Ring’

Similar to Super Mario, this unmistakable noise rang out as your speedy hedgehog whirls around collecting rings. Simplicity is key when it comes to sound effects, the majority of those that you add to your game will be of the more ‘mundane’ nature, and you’ll need to give each of these actions a voice/noise of its own.


Mortal Kombat ‘Finish Him’

If your game can include an iconic quote or phrase that’s as well-known as this one, then you will have achieved greatness. The well-worn phrase occurs as a character is about to inflict fatal damage and soon became used in real-life. Of course, if you happen to be playing the part of the fighter who is about to be decapitated, then it’s not quite so welcoming.


Call of Duty – Hit Marker

This franchise is one of the most profitable in video gaming history, and the sound used to indicate a hit is a pleasing one. Knowing that you’ve elicited this sound gives you the sense of fulfillment to make you want it more. This is no coincidence and takes a great deal of testing to get just right.


Tetris – Theme

This is more than just a sound effect, though it’s no less important. If your game has a catchy theme that gets you in the mood for action, you are moving in the right direction, and Tetris certainly achieved this with their super addictive theme, which is apparently based on a traditional Russian folk song. Who knew?

A key thing to remember is that while video gaming is now far more immersive in terms of its moves to replicating realism or creating fantastical worlds beyond our wildest dreams, the music and sound effects are no less critical when it comes to creating a video that will entice and engage audiences in 2021 and beyond.

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