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Level Up!: The Guide to Great Video Game Design by Scott Rogers

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Chapter 15. SOME NOTES ON MUSIC1

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SOME NOTES ON MUSIC1

When the imagineers were creating the Star Wars Star Tours attraction at Disneyland, they initially intended the experience to be "realistic"; the audience would hear only the sound of the Starspeeder 3000 and the pilot's dialogue. However, when they tested the attraction, something didn't feel right. Without John Williams' music, the attraction just didn't seem like "Star Wars" and so the classic theme was added in.

Music brings a lot to any entertainment experience, be it a theme park attraction, movie, or a video game. But it also requires a lot of work and coordination between many members of a team, which contributes to why music and sound is usually left until late in production. This is a mistake. Sound and music can bring so much to a game that to leave it to the last minute is missing out on great design opportunities.

Music and sound in gaming has come a long way in a short time. Back in the 1970s and 1980s, arcade and console programmers had only electronic beeps and boops to play with. Even with the limitations, game creators were able to create some simple but memorable musical themes (or even just jingles) for games like Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, and The Legend of Zelda. Sound advances happened with almost every system; voice synthesizing and MIDI format audio meant that music became more lush. However, game creators were limited because ...

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