I love videogames. This is a given as you are likely reading this on Destructoid.
I love music. I proudly display my Last.FM profile on my C-Blog. I still listen to the radio when I'm in my car, but never any top-40s stations. Starting last year, I make it a point to visit a local county fair (but not my county's fair) every year just because they put on free concerts during the two days the fair is running. I wear band tees. My phone's 16GB SD card is down to it's last 2 GBs, and the vast majority of used up space is my music collection.
Yet, despite the obvious intersection of the two, that non-stop jukebox in my head never plays tunes from any video game I've played in my near-24 years on this big blue ball we call Earth (excluding a few stand-out tunes, I'll admit). Maybe the fact that I rarely have the urge to replay any particular game makes it hard for me to retain a tune for a particular segment of the game. Maybe it's the utter lack of game soundtracks I've owned, as I can only recall maybe 7 at most (and two of them, both for Mother3, were lost to iTunes DRM). Maybe it's the fact that the various other game sound effects just seem to take precedence, as you can't really take the time to enjoy the Midnight Riders if you're keeping your ears open for Jockeys.
However, what I do
notice is a lack of a game's soundtrack. Why do I notice this? Because it drives me insane!
Now, it's not often games go without any kind of background music. It's been a part of videogames almost as far back as I can remember, and even some time before then. No More Heroes 2 did it in certain parts where the game sent wave upon wave of enemies into Travis's good ol' beam katana. Maybe Suda51 was thinking that you were so zoned in on killing that you wouldn't notice the lack of music, maybe he was hoping to piss off music nuts like me, or maybe his thinking is something that's a little too symbolic for me to decipher. It's impossible to tell with Suda. And while the first section went by fast enough that I didn't notice, the one in front of the supermarket just stretched the limits of how long I can go without music. Without the music, it just became a dull grind.
Speaking of grinds, I recently fell back into my MMO addiction. Admittedly, my experience with MMOs is very limited, having only played 2 (Runescape and City of Heroes). So, with my sub for City of Heroes back on for a month, there really isn't much for me to do but hop in. I hadn't played in a while, so I'm surprised I didn't remember the music, or rather, the lack of it. Are MMOs usually this lacking in music? It seems like a bit of a design flaw, as to me, nothing makes a grind not seem like a grind like listening to some tunes from my collection.
What makes City of Heroes's non-use of music particularly offensive was the fact that they're selling the soundtrack to their expansion on iTunes and Amazon. Now, the devs of City of Heroes are particularly proud of their expansion. And having played a good bit of the content added in the expansion, I can see why. However, while the music is certainly worthy of being sold in a stand-alone soundtrack, in my opinion, it's implemented in the same way as the main City of Heroes game. In other words, this music might as well not even be there. Yes, it's cute to hear the music change as I'm traveling across the zone. But you rarely spend time in the zones themselves. You mostly spend time in instanced missions, where almost no music plays. Due to this, I just cannot play the game without some kind of background noise, preferably my stereo.
I'm honestly thankful music has been a part of videogames since as far back as I can remember. Even if I never pay attention to it, I can't imagine I'd be able to enjoy the game I do without it. Seriously, I can imagine not getting into Super Mario Bros. if it wasn't for that iconic World 1-1 music. And it's kind of hard to imagine me going any further in my gaming career if it wasn't for Mario. So with that... I'll just leave this
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