Skip to main content

The Art of Video Game Music

When I was a kid, my first experiences were with video games. How fun it was used to be the deciding factor of which ones I liked. As I grew though, I discovered that not just how it plays is important. The music you've listened to above was created by C418 and was used in the overworld of Minecraft. This music invokes memories in many who played, it invokes memories in me. It is a near staple in video game music as a whole as many utilize it to bring connections to similar audiences. It is the perfect example of how video game music pieces are so complex. They brew memories, they create feelings and emotions, and they link stories together.

These themes are a perfect representation of a cycle. The first video is the music you hear when first starting the game. A cacophony of brass instruments welcoming you into a world of adventure and war. It gets you excited and makes you remember it, so you continue to return. The first few notes though are very crucial and I will get to those soon. Now entering into Radagon, you may have noticed the opening and his theme are very similar if not the same. This can be taken in many ways, but I see it as your journey hitting its peak. This battle will be your last, this war will soon come to an end. Every dodge, hit, and move is important here. This is due to Radagon not even being the main guiding force this whole time. I mentioned those beginning notes in the opening, the Elden Beast shares those beginning notes. Its theme is built off the beginning of the opening and in a beautiful way it makes sense. The Elden Beast came before Radagon, and it made him a servant for its Golden Order. The beginning is just a show of how the world came to be. It began with the Elden Beast's influence, ran through Radagon's reign with Queen Marika, and ended with the Elden Beast's demise. The entire thing is a flow of a full circle, a cycle that the player ends and begins anew with the ending they choose. A beautiful way to close off, and a beautiful music cycle that conveys not just a story but the true history in the world of the game.

Above, you have just watched the boss fight of the Pure Vessel from Hollow Knight. This boss fight is the second to last one in the game and has you fighting a boss that has shown up before, but this time the boss is in their prime form. A past version of themselves. The music shows this excellently as it has a regal and elegant sound. The background chorus, brimming with voices that sound as echos from the past. It shows beauty but also finality. It makes it seem that this is no grand fight, this is no battle of attrition, this is nothing. In this moment you are fighting a figment of what once was, a dreamy shell of what exists currently. You're fighting the past, struggling with a long past era where gods and kings were one in the same. This is shown in its low tones, it isn't racing and speeding past but instead remaining on the same melodies for what feels like minutes at a time. You are about to watch the boss fight of the sealed vessel, listen closely to the theme behind it. It may sound familiar to you.

Scroll to Continue

Caught onto the familiarity? It's very obvious. This is the same theme used in the Pure Vessel fight. This time it is far more fast paced, this is a true final battle. This is the battle if attrition done in the world. This fight in the story means everything, the meeting of two long separated siblings in a battle to save this small pocket of the world. The theme conveys this, it gets blood flowing, it gives emotions of battle and fills players with life. This theme is more than just music, it evolves. Near the end of the battle, you can see the Sealed Vessel begin to stab himself. This isn't just done for the effect, and it can be seen as such when listening to the music. It's a moment of clarity. It realizes the infection around it has taken control of its body and in an attempt to cleanse itself it has tried to hurry on its own demise. This entire fight is against the will of the Vessel. Forever after this moment the music draws back to the Pure Vessel boss theme. Glimpses of a long-gone age once more echo through the walls of the room. It's sad, in all honesty it's more than sad. This moment is truly depressing, and the music says as such. It turns from a true battle to a releasing of misery. This was never a major fight between two powers, it was the putting down of a suffering sibling that was forced into a position that it knew it could not fulfill. Not all video game music is this grand show of power or a great battle to be won. Not all music brings back happy memories. Some, such as this, show the downfall of glory. The dark side of how beings grow to become bosses you have to fight in arenas. Video game music is a beautiful storyteller that tells stories that words would not be able to describe well enough. That is why I appreciate and have an everlasting love for this beautiful art form.

Related Articles