Let’s face it, what would a movie, let alone a game, be without an amazing soundtrack? Think about it; What melody pops into your mind when you think about Bilbo’s house in the shire? Or when the half-lunatic Jack Sparrow draws a sword on the deck of the Black Pearl? What about when Mario gets temporary superpowers after devouring a star with two eyes?
Yes, it’s obvious that music enhances the effects of any visual footage, but what’s less obvious is that good soundtracks aren’t so easy to come up with. A soundtrack needs to evoke emotions relevant to whatever it is that’s displayed to the viewer.An amazing soundtrack on the other hand does that while having something catchy about it.
Game music has traveled a long way from the 8-bit clichées gamers listened to during the 80’s. As a proof of this, the Game Music Awards were held in Oulu last Wednesday. The winner of the first ever game music awards, Ari Pulkkinen, had composed an hour long full orchestra soundtrack for a Playstation 4 game, Trine 2.
“It’s epic celtic-type folk music with professional mixing and excellent sound progression”, commented Ilmari Hakkola, the Head of Audio at Rovio, who was part of the Jury at the event.
“This is just the song that takes me to a tavern in the middle age and then towards the ever greater adventures, which as a lousy gamer, I’m certain to fail continuously”, noted Jukka Vidgren from PAVA ry.
Mr. Pulkkinen’s own audio production company Aritunes has been involved with game music since 1999 and his most famous composition is the Angry Birds theme. The winner of the competition was decided by the votes of the audience among eight competing pieces.
The event itself was organized by Socializing Friday in association with IGDA Finland Ouluhub, PAVA ry and Mustapekka. “We have such a thriving game and music scene in Finland and especially in Oulu, that we decided to combine the forces and establish this new award to honor the artform”, explain the hosts Hanna Tiuraniemi and Janne Salmi.