April 12, 2024

How Orchestral Scores Are Reaching New Audiences through Video Game Music

How Orchestral Scores Are Reaching New Audiences through Video Game Music

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Since video games have already been about for a few decades, technology has allowed them to become more realistic and immersive than before. Video games have developed into a kind of art that can now compete with other media like literature and movies because of improved graphics, gameplay, and storytelling.

Since its early days, video game music, or VGM, has evolved significantly. It has developed into an essential component of the video gaming industry and, more recently, both gamers and non-gamers have shown a great deal of interest in it.

A Brief History of VGM

Video game music has a long history that began in the 1970s, during the early years of arcade gaming. Back then, video game soundtracks were frequently straightforward, with a few boops, beeps, or blips that would repeatedly play.

The music in video games changed and advanced along with the games themselves; the Legend of Zelda and Super Mario Bros., two games from the 1980s, established distinctive and catchy melodies that are still adored and recognized by players today.

VGM gained recognition as a legitimate art genre by the 1990s. The soundtrack for Final Fantasy VI, which was released in 1994, is among the first instances of symphonic music in a video game. Nobuo Uematsu, the game’s composer, recorded the soundtrack with a real orchestra.

Orchestral music has been used in video games increasingly frequently. These days, a large number of professional video game music composers collaborate with entire orchestras to produce soundtracks that rival those of Hollywood productions. High-end recording studios are frequently used for music recording, and game composers put in a lot of effort to provide a distinctive soundtrack that improves the gaming experience.

Video game music continues to push the limits of what can be accomplished in interactive entertainment with the grandiose scores of titles like God of War: Ragnarök and The Last of Us.

The Reasons Behind VGM’s Popularity

The Ability to Adapt

The adaptability of video game music is another factor in its appeal. VGM has minimal restrictions on its potential. As a result, the genres of the compositions range from electronic beats to gigantic full orchestral scores and everything in between.

Everyone may find something they appreciate in video game music’s diversity, and it’s not unusual for non-gamers to find the music enjoyable on its own.


The accessibility of VGM is one factor contributing to its growing popularity. While playing video games, a lot of gamers can also enjoy the music on its own through music streaming services including Spotify and Apple Music.

These platforms have a large selection of video game soundtracks that are arranged according to the game, making it simple for gamers to find what they’re looking for.

Live Performances by Bands and Tours

In recent years, video game tours and concerts have increased in frequency. Orchestras as well as other musical ensembles perform video game music live at these events, introducing the song to listeners who might not have otherwise encountered it.

For example, in 2018’s “PlayStation in Concert”, The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra played a variety of VGM compositions, including the main themes from Uncharted, God of War, and The Last of Us.


The interactive nature of VGM is one of its distinctive features. Video game music, in contrast to typical film or TV scores, is created to change in response to the player’s movements.  With the use of complex software and programming, interactive music is made possible, giving the player a genuinely dynamic and immersive gaming experience as the game responds in real-time to their motions.

For example, if the player is exploring a serene setting, the music can be mellow and soothing. But if the player comes across an enemy or steps into a scenario where there are significant stakes, the music will get more dramatic and intense.

The player’s experience is improved by this involvement, which also gives composers more chances to express their creativity. Great music must be composed so that it can smoothly shift and adapt based on what the player does.

Furthermore, the player may have intense emotional reactions to interactive music. A conventional, linear score would be unable to produce the tension, excitement, or calm that the music can by responding to the player’s movements.

Additionally, interactive music can give the user a sense of agency by giving them the impression that they can actually influence the game world. The game can provide the impression that the player is an active participant in the plot and universe by adjusting the music in response to the user’s activities.

Video Game Music Awards

Major award ceremonies have begun to recognize video game music in recent years, and several have even established categories specifically for video game scores.

Best Score/Music has been a category of the Game Awards, one of the most well-known video game awards events, since 2014. The greatest original soundtrack or music written especially for a video game is honored in this category. Some of the previous winners include the video games Doom Eternal, Red Dead Redemption 2, and NieR: Automata.

Video game soundtracks have won accolades not only at specialized award ceremonies but also at more general award events. The Grammys introduced a new category this year for video game music, which Stephanie Economou won for her song from Assassins Creed: Dawn of Ragnarök.

These honors support the creativity and talent that go into making video game soundtracks as well as reaching a wider audience for orchestral music. The barriers separating video game music from other orchestral genres are being gradually broken down by award presentations by honor video game soundtracks alongside traditional cinema and television scores.

From its modest origins, VGM has evolved to today introduce symphonic soundtracks to a wider audience. Because of its ease of use, adaptability, and emotional resonance, both gamers and non-gamers like listening to it. The way that music and eSports, i.e. competitive gaming, are integrated has been nothing short of groundbreaking too. When these two industries collided, eSports became a prominent topic of discussion in the mainstream media and community. Let’s mention that the Riot Games developer introduced a virtual K-pop group, and bbno$ was incorporated into the ESL Pro League of CS: GO, which is now renamed into CS2 but remained one of the most prominent-ever eSports video games and a video game on whose tournaments bettors wager the most, whether on the betting sites in Bangladesh or any others having eSports on offer.

We may anticipate even more astounding soundtracks in the future as the realm of video games keeps on evolving!

author avatar
Bernard - Side-Line Staff Chief editor
Bernard Van Isacker is the Chief Editor of Side-Line Magazine. With a career spanning more than two decades, Van Isacker has established himself as a respected figure in the darkwave scene.

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