Aptness

I came across this excellent post by Kevin VanOrd at GameSpot. His categories for defining the various functions music performs in games align closely with mine, discussed in the previous post.

A word that keeps coming back to me, from this post and my own thoughts, is aptness. This, surely, is the ultimate criterion with which we should judge whether music for a game is successful or otherwise. It must fit, it must chime (pardon the pun) with everything else that is going on in the story. VanOrd refers to music ‘earning the right’ to manipulate your emotions. If done well you shouldn’t even feel like you’re being manipulated. Games have to judge when to deploy that lush romantic string texture which commands you to feel sorrowful. Games that drop you in medias res and expect you to care about characters you’ve only just met need to tread very carefully to avoid bludgeoning you round the head with the unsubtle mace of emotion, or gassing you with a pungent cloud of unsolicited and generic ‘sentiment’. Read the rest of this entry »