March 8th, 2007, 19:48 Posted By: wraggster
Koji Kondo, the veteran Nintendo composer responsible for the music behind the Super Mario and The Legend of Zelda series, received a rock star's reception during his lecture at the Game Developers Conference today. Once the cheers and applause had died down after his introduction, Kondo outlined what he views as the three essential elements of great gameplay music--rhythm, balance, and interactivity.
Kondo, speaking through an interpreter, said all games have an internal rhythm that must be identified and followed to create music that makes an impression. He used the now-famous music that is played during the first level of the original Super Mario Bros. as an example of finding rhythm, saying that he wrote the theme after long observation of how Mario moves and jumps in the level.
"All games contain unique rhythms in some form or another. These rhythms can be found in character movements and also in the timing of players pressing buttons. It's essential to grasp these rhythms and use the ones that represent the most satisfactory playing experience and create music based on them. To be able to do this, you have to play the game you're working on again and again," Kondo said.
When it comes to balance, Kondo said he thinks the most important sound effect should be the one heard most clearly. But Kondo added that the overall flow of the music from a game's beginning to its end is just as vital. Kondo says unlike other composers who hand in each piece of music to a game director after they are completed, he prefers to hold on to a piece for some time before handing it in with several other completed compositions. This allows the director to look at the music as a whole and not as discrete sections.
"It's important to think of all the music as one piece for an entire game and not just simply a collection of individual pieces," he said. "I consider how one song flows into the next and look at the overall flow of the music from the beginning to the end of the game."
However, interactivity is the key element that sets game music apart from other media, Kondo said. He urged the attendees at the lecture to continue to create real-time, interactive music to further the genre.
"I believe that incorporating sound ideas that showcase the interactive nature of video games is the most important part of sound work. For example, as the remaining time decreases in the original Super Mario, the tempo of the music increases. This is something you can't do with CDs, movies, or other broadcast media. It's just one example of sound changing to suit a player's condition." he said.
"Incorporating interactive elements has the following advantages. It has the ability to create music that changes with each play-through. And it has the ability to create a multicolored composition by transforming themes within the same composition. Musical changes can also add surprises to a game and make it more enjoyable to play. And it has the ability to add musical elements as actual gameplay features. Video game music is not the simple background music you find on movies or TV."
For more information and downloads, click here!
There are 0 comments - Join In and Discuss Here