Sunday, February 21, 2010

I love Simcity 4 soundtrack!

Video game music has come a long way. From its 8 bits nostalgic glory to the fully orchestrated, Hollywoodish soundtracks of most AAA titles nowadays. Video game music is mostly cherished in a way, but artistically under appreciated outside the hardcore-gamer sphere. It can be like pop music, wildly popular and liked at times (who can't remember that classy Super Mario Bros tune?) but hardly anyone would celebrate it as art. As an avid gamer (gamer-wise, I'm just a shadow of what I used to be now that I joined the Augustinian order) and as a fan of music, I have always been of the opinion that Video game music is heavily under appreciated. Sadly, this is due to the general idea that Video games, are just, well, games. Toys. Something to play with. Or even worse, something for kids. This is partly due to the name of this entertainment medium, as its second name "game" sells itself too short, and can't possibly do justice to this wonderful, interactive expression of art. Yes, I've just called Video games art. For this reason, many in the industry have pushed and called for a new name for this entertainment medium. But enough of that. My main point is that there is much more to Video games than that which its name reveals.

And one big, important part of Video game is the music. I've been recently addicted to a game: Simcity 4. One of the things that I love about this game is the music. From playing other Maxis' video games (like the Sims), I know that Maxis takes good care of the music for its video games. Jerry Martin and Andy Brick used a 70 piece orchestra to record and compose parts of the songs for the game (specifically with its Expansion pack,, Rush Hour) in the Czech Republic. One of my favorite pieces of this is called "Wheels of Progress".I absolutely love this piece, it starts slowly with an almost haunting and barely audible harp melody, a beat set by what seems to be a bass trumpet of sorts (sorry I'm not an expert in identifying these numerous instruments), slowly the violins (possibly the viola) joins with trumpets and strings setting the main, carefree, and apparently disorganized melody; a flute introduces a second melody, quickly contrasted with the first melody by the strings, the orchestra mildly and slowly exploding into a third melody that can act as the "chorus" of the piece, returning with the quiet and calming harp and bass trumpet (or whatever instruments set the beat), and then proceding with different variations of the melodies. There is an interesting article on the New York Times about Andy Brick, the composer of this beautiful piece http://www.nytimes.com/2003/11/09/nyregion/a-composer-gives-video-games-a-musical-life.html?scp=1&sq="andy%20brick"&st=cse

Even better, you can download the whole Simcity Rush Hour soundtrack in the Simcity 4 website http://simcity.ea.com/coolstuff/rh_music/index.php. Other favorites of the Soundtrack are "Morning Commute" and "Metropolis". Check it out, its free. Give video game music a chance.

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