Friday, February 24, 2012

Custom Soundtracks in Games

I like video game music.

I like it a whole lot. In fact, out of the 5,774 songs in my personal music library, 5,205 of them are game soundtracks, game remixes, or game inspired music. That means approximately 90% of my music is from games. That’s not to say that I don’t appreciate other music, but I definitely have a preference for music from games.

This is why, when I see that a game offers the ability to have a custom soundtrack, I often don’t really care. To some people it’s a big deal, as they like to put their favorite tunes under the roar of their engines as they race, or as a background to shredding their way down the mountain. In fact, I’ve even heard of people turning sound off entirely when playing some games, opting to just listen to whatever music they feel like at the moment.

There is one game where I actually did take advantage of custom soundtracks – Burnout Paradise.
This was one of my first PS3 games, as I got it about the time when I first got my shiny new (used) system. I actually couldn’t tell you what kind of music is in the default soundtrack for Burnout Paradise, beyond the title song of Paradise City and Girlfriend which I heard my friend occasionally singing along with when we played online together. For me, the game had a very different soundtrack than it did for my friend.

I cobbled together a playlist consisting of my favorite F-Zero tracks, some race-appropriate remixes from OCRemix, the Shatter soundtrack (seriously guys, it’s great. Check it out), and variety of other stuff I thought fit with what I had. So while my friends were listening to Guns ‘n Roses and whatever else is in there, I was sporting a techno-heavy list of quality mostly-game music.

And it was great! Burnout Paradise is the first game for which I earned the Platinum PSN trophy, so I spent hours and hours playing the game. Turns out, techno works pretty well for a racing game, and I got to know my music a lot better.

In fact, although I have both Shatter and Burnout Paradise, I actually associate the Shatter soundtrack more strongly with Burnout than I do Shatter. Shatter is a great game, but it only takes a few hours to finish at most. Burnout ate up several weeks of spare time, and the music kept me company the whole time.
How crazy is that?

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