Still Alive - Videogame Songs that Interact

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Still Alive - Videogame Songs that Interact

Postby A Combustible Lemon » Sat Jan 20, 2018 6:59 pm

There's some songs that are good or great on their own, but the context in which they appear, usually a credits song but sometimes a boss theme or a transition, will break through and raise the bar for songs you love. It'll be something you'll be humming to yourself the next day, annoying everyone around you who doesn't know why you're listening to a song on repeat.

Portal - Still Alive:

I named the thread after this one because it's one of the best examples. The credits song from portal, which is an amazing peaceful song GLaDOS sings after the end of the events of Portal, in her special GLaDOS way. It takes Portal, which is already one of the best puzzle games of all time, and turns it into Portal, one of the best games of all time. Portal makes people happy in a way only the best of the best games can.

Portal's one of the first games that Yahtzee has just straight up announced "I'm not going to shit on this one, I just can't".
If that's not an indicator of quality, nothing is.

Undertale - Undertale:

This song appears at a moment at the end of the game, and it will absolutely break your heart with the context it's in. (Spoilers for Undertale's story later).
Especially since the song's a mix of themes from

with the theme from

which are great songs in their own way.

Spoiler: show

I'll just put a walkthrough here, because the feelings you get when you play through this the first time is just absolutely hard to represent with just words.
Asriel and the Child's story is so tragic and sad. And the monsters explaining it to you themselves, man, it's heartbreaking.


Dark Souls - Gwyn, Lord of Cinder:
Spoiler: show

The internet's so goddamn unfair to Dark Souls, about how hard it is, how try-hard it gets, blah blah blah I have a life I can't play this, etc, etc.
But Gwyn, Lord of Cinder is an example of how great Dark Souls is directed. There is no other point at which this song can work. It's not just Gwyn's theme. It's the final boss theme, so in it is everything about Dark Souls and its ending. The haunting, simple melody that plays while the withered husk of what was once the greatest of the gods unthinkingly stabs and slashes at you. The sacrifice he made to be there, the failure of that sacrifice. The idea that this is no great battle between a hero and a villain but the tragic end of a cycle of misery.

Other boss songs make you feel good for fighting well. Dark Souls just plays a fucking credits song over the final battle and you will love it for it.


Doki Doki Literature Club:
Spoiler: show
I just finished Doki Doki Literature Club yesterday, and it's what actually made me make the thread.

It's just a girl singing to a pretty catchy tune on the piano. But to explain it is to ruin the magic of what the song represents. Sigh, RIP Monika, I'm so sorry you're not real.
Monika's entire arc is about how she has to deal with being in the game, and since the game's unvoiced, you never really associate her with anything real (outside of her actual arc, where she starts to talk to you directly, of course). But the last thing you hear and see from Doki Doki Literature Club is a completely unexpected voiceover of Monika singing a love song to you about your reality. Gotta play it to feel it, tbh. But it's absolutely heartbreaking. It's so sad.


What songs do you guys think are elevated by the videogame context they're in? Games are superior to other art forms mainly because they're a combination of so many arts, that have to work together. Pure games such as Space Invaders or Asteroids might exist, but even those absolutely basic games sometimes work because of interaction in the arts that compose them. Space Invader's Soundtrack's increasing tempo builds tension, I don't know if it's really the same game without that interactive feature, for example.

This isn't about a song that's good that's also in a game, the song has to be something some music geek somewhere won't necessarily care about. It's about what triggers the song to be played, what part the song plays in establishing narrative and environment, how the song interacts with the gameplay, the writing, the art or the soundtrack.
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