We’ve had so many discussions, debates, and conversations among our editors in the chatroom that we decided it might be fun for our readers to read the informal “roundtables” we have, as they often sound like a bunch of drunk psuedo-intellectuals squabbling. Somehow, the conversations almost always end up with us cursing out the gaming industry like a bunch of old geezers, pining for the good old days. This time around, I asked the other editors in the chatroom to help me with my upcoming feature, The 25 Most Influential People in the Gaming Industry. It ended up becoming a discussion about video game music and bacon…
Menashe: Guys, who was the most influential composer in gaming over the last decade?
Alex: Oh man, I don’t know about this, let’s think
Andy: Alexi Patinov (or whatever he’s called)
Robert: Who is that guy?
Andy: Mr. Tetris
Robert: I always say Kondo, regardless of what’s happened lately
Menashe: It has to be based on the last decade, otherwise Kondo and Uematsu would rule
Alex: Yeah I don’t think Kondo’s done much in the past 10 years
Robert: No, but that shouldn’t directly influence how influential he is
Robert: active =/= influential.
Alex: well, I do’nt see his influence either
Alex: there’s the Mario Galaxy and Skyward Sword guy
Alex: the Galaxy guy was a pretty large departure from Kondo
Robert: you think?
Alex: actually even in the first Galaxy, I think.
Alex: there’s the Final Fantasy 12 guy, I forget his name, Hitoshi Sakimoto i think
Andy: food time, afk
[Andy leaves to go eat bacon]
Menashe: Here are some composers I was looking into: Akira Yamaoka, Jack Wall, Harry Gregson-Williams, Tommy Tallarico, Martin O’Donnell, Andy Brick, Michael Salvatori, Jason Michael Paul, Garry Schyman, Jeremy Soule
Robert: Yamaoka or Soule seems like they could pretty influential. Hardly know the rest, though.
Alex: yeah I haven’t kept up with names
Menashe: and also Michael Giacchino and Yoko Shimomura
Alex: Yoko Shimomura I was going to say is actually more influential than previous ones now
Robert: to be honest, I think there’s been more cinema influences this gen than influences from other videogame composers.
Alex: yeah, unfortunately,
Alex: too many “sweeping strings”
Menashe: exactly my sentiments
Alex: and they don’t do it right, either
Alex: I don’t know, with Skyward Sword I can see how Yokota made character themes and weaved them into event cutscenes and stuff and it’s really great
Menashe: half the time these composers are pulled away from Hollywood just to make a Call of Duty soundtrack or whatever
Menashe: stupid Western world trying to turn games into blockbuster films in every way
Alex: but Hans Zimmer on Call of Duty sountrack? *vomit*
Robert: pretty much. cinema and gaming are two different things, and I hate that people trying to force them together without thinking. but: money…
[Mike pops into the chat]
Alex: holla back at ya boy
Menashe: I’ve already counted four composers dubbed “the John Williams of video games” in the press, and one called the “Hans Zimmer of video games”
Alex: I guess I just don’t see any one composer really influencing others right now
Menashe: that’s why i wanted ton run it by all of you, my conclusion had been that I couldn’t see any of them as too influential
Robert: I think some probably influence others, but not on such a scale that they can be called “influential” as such.
Menashe: I thought maybe some of the guys who made it popular to have orchestral video game concerts can be called influential for popularizing video game music
Menashe: another idea i had was to do Jake Kaufman, Virt, who popularized vgm remixes, but it’s still not influential enough to say it shaped the entire industry in a large way
Alex: man, Daniel Licht pissed me off with Downpour’s soundtrack
Alex: his music for that game has zero character
Alex: I realized that while playing the HD collection
Alex: Akira Yamaoka didn’t just score the game, he added something more to it.
Robert: he was much more involved in the themes and…everything, from what I understand.
Alex: actually you know what, that’s pretty much what composers seem to do now
Robert: yeah, at least when they hire big names.
Robert: well, that’s all he could do, I guess. blame Konami, I say.
Alex: they just want to score the game, they don’t have the power to add something new to it with their music
Robert: not sure they are allowed that power in the first place.
Alex: I think youre right. Basically, Activision / Konami / EA wants big name composer, he scores to match the mood of the game
Robert: maybe they would want to be more involved, but that might upset the production plans big time.
Alex: not really part of the development process, just in a contractual way
Menashe: the same thing happened when I was looking for influential visual designers and artists in the last decade, no one tries to do original art styles
Alex: man, *** the industry
Mike: sounds like an article for you, menashe: Where are all the original art styles?
Mike: (especially in the age of aping photo realism.)
Robert: yeah, **** the industry.
Alex: **** it in the *** and ****
Menashe: if you read Kevin Knapp’s interview with us that’s exactly what he said, audio has a long way to go in the industry, it’s usually just tacked on in the end of the development process
[COV pops into the chat]
COV: audio didn’t have to do much back in the old days
Alex: but because of that, the composers were free to add their own element to the game.
Menashe: I want to see games that allow the art style and sound design to set the tone for the rest of the game that follows
Robert: you mean games where art style and sound design decides the gameplay of the game?
Robert: because I wouldn’t want to see that
Menashe: no, not decides the gameplay, but the mood
Menashe: instead of letting the gameplay control the mood, lol
Robert: oh, right
Alex: Like with Shadow of the Colossus
Alex: the music in SotC totally doesn’t match the fact that you’re killing a beast that was just chilling until you came along
Alex: but that contrast adds something new to the experience.
Alex: also: does bacon taste good with peanut butter?
Alex: inb4 bacon testes good with everything
Mike: there’s a yogurt/ice-cream flavor called “maple bacon doughnut.” it is AWESOME.
Alex: jesus **** christ, man, that’s weird
Alex: but I’m sure it IS delicious.
Mike: see, you guys were talking intellectually about videogame music, then i come along, and we’re talking about bacon-flavored ice cream. it’s like i just bring the collective IQ of every room down whenever i walk in.
Menashe: I’m going to copy/paste this conversation and publish it so our readers can mock us
COV: i hope the bacon makes it in
Robert: that’s the title of the article right there.
Robert: bacon can be the subtitle.
Robert: **** the industry: bacon
COV: Video Games and bacon, what you need to know…also music
Alex: I like that, just Video Games and Bacon
Menashe: Yeah, I think we’ll go with that…