Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Music Makes the Game: Dos and todays casual games

Although I have a deep distaste of Midi based music in general for games, but I guess it's what you do with it that counts. It was an obvious choice in the old days (if they can really be called that) because of the tiny filesizes involved. These days disk space is such a non concern and commercial game developers have the luxury of using gigs of memory for music itself.

Not all developers worried about filesize of course...

Oh Ascendancy, with your fantastic, orchestral, sci-fi sound track. It wasn't very varied, there only being a handful of tracks but it was one of the best collections of ambient tunage I think I ever heard in a game.

It was also one of the best (and probably only if I think about it) space empire building games and had fantastical 3D graphics (2d pictures of course) which was very new at the time.

Here's a youtube vid of my favourite theme from the Ascendancy

Theme Hospital
Theme Hospital was, in contrast, all about the Midi music. Although the music from the demo never made it into the final game the music they did have was certainly memorable in itself.

Theme hospital would still make a fantastic and passable game today, sure it would need a bit of a resolution boost but the comedy value and playability are still on par with any empire builder around today.

Some casual games have attempted to do similar type of thing but they never expand the idea much - on purpose of course, they're not casual games for nothing. Empire builder games from commercial studios go too far past the mark that the game is no longer fun to play and becomes too much work.

Anyway, back to the game at hand and more specifically it's music. Here's my personal favourite track from the game:

My Kingdom for the Princess
Woah, what just happened there? I jumped about 10 years to the present day. A few months ago Nevosoft released this through bigfishgames. Most casual games I play have a very flat and uninteresting sound track but for some reason I thought this was far better than the norm.

It's not the best music I've ever heard for a game, but it's worth noting because it gives me a little hope for the future of game music. Here's my review of the game I highly recommend it if you like time management games.

And here's a promotional video of it that showcases the main tune from it:

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