Comparing video games and music, and why I’m choosing a career in game design

So, before I get into what this blog is about, a little about myself.

Born and raised in a small city in the north of Wales/UK, I spent 18 years there, where there was little to do, so I took up video games. Moved to Brighton,UK at 18 for university where I did a master’s degree in mathematics, and now, a year on from that I find myself in New Zealand on a working visa.

I remember one of the first games I ever played when I was about 5 was GTA2, (a little mature perhaps, fun nonetheless), but the first game I properly sunk my teeth into was Unreal Tournament, the original, I’d play for hours after school, and, pretty much constantly on the weekends.

It was around 12/13 I got hooked on gaming, along with music.

I took up the guitar and drums, and trained classically. After a few years learning (and when I was a little more mature) this allowed me to see music in a new light, more for its components, it’s depth, complexity, structure, and how to differentiate well written music from poor.

More recently, within the last 4 or 5 years I’ve started to adopt this mentality towards games, after all, it’s just as much a creative process with many of the same themes and structures. With music you can look at each musician, how their instrument helps build the music, how key changes, and major and minor chords influence the atmosphere of a piece. With a game you can do the same; how does the UX designer get me engrossed, how do the artists emerse me in the worlds? How do Foley artists make seemingly familiar sounds for items or animals that don’t exist? Taking this critical view has given me a desire to learn, just as I did with music, how video games are born.

The end results for both is, to me, the same. Good music envelops you, if you find a piece of music, or a song you can really connect with, it stays with you, personally it can occupy such a large part of my mind with its moving parts, I don’t need anything else. Good games do the same, but on a larger scale. And no, I’m not talking about shiny graphics or blockbuster titles (nor am I excluding them) I’m talking about the story, the emersion, the music, the creativity that drives deep in to the players mind, the aspects that stay with them.

This all seems perhaps a little exaggerated you might argue, after all, when the song is finished or you’re done gaming, you just go back to being you, doing your chores or heading to sleep, nothing has changed? But look at it this way, what if everything  has changed? Music and video games are with us now from such an early age, it shapes many of us, and helps define many aspects of who we are and what we do. So I don’t personally believe what I have said is an exaggeration, when to me it is so much of who we are.

What I personally believe is, there is very little to separate music and gaming, just cause the latter is newer and its roots arebt as established. It shouldn’t deduct from its impact, which is undeniable.

This, all of this, is why I’m choosing this career. At the end of my life, chances are I won’t be world renowned, I’m not trying to move mountains, but I will hopefully be able to look back knowing I contributed my little bit to the world, in a positive way.

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Author: kanebrady1994

22 year old aspiring game designer from the UK, currently living in New Zealand

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