Music in Video Games: Studying Play

Posted on March 10th, 2016 by:

Posted in:

The Book Music In Video Games: Studying Play is such a great study on some of video game’s most treasured musical scores. It ranges from the early greats like Super Mario Brothers to Shadow Of The Colossus and LA Noir. The book is written by several different authors including William Gibbons,  Neal Lerner, and  Karen M. Cook. The early part of the book delves into how 20th century cinema affected music in video games, specifically in Donkey Kong and Super Mario Brothers. This section specifically interested me.


20th century cinema scoring techniques originally required that a piano accompanist perform with the music and they usually played continual music, so this is something that you find with early video games. There is near constant music, as well as every single action being musically acknowledged by the score (Mickey Mousing.) You also get a nice call back to 20th century cinema in early games by using certain chords, like the diminished chord used at the beginning of the classic Donkey Kong arcade game when Donkey Kong is carrying Pauline up the ladder for “Jump man” (AKA Mario) to rescue. I highly recommend getting this book for anyone who is interested in music theory and video game music. You will find many transcriptions and analysis of the music that have grown to define the genre of video game music.


As time goes on there is more of an academic look at this music, because it takes a game composer a massive amount of skill to be able to write in so many different genres, and write proficient, interesting, non-repetitive music that will not fatigue the listener or annoy them. Music In Video Games: Studying Play is essential game music reading if you ask me.

Click on the text or image if you are interested in purchasing:

 Music In Video Games: Studying Play (Routledge Music and Screen Media)

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • StumbleUpon
  • Tumblr
  • Email
  • RSS

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *