Posted by: seanmalstrom | September 8, 2009

Music #17

I normally am staying away from post-CD game music, but I’ll make an exception in this case. Civilization has never needed a theme. No song could match. That is, until this.

When I first heard snippets of this song (I believe it was on IGN’s review before the game was released), I bought the game immediately even though I planned on waiting for customer feedback first. Music, alone, can get people to buy a game.

This song is phenomenal in how it projects an epic and ancient quality which is what Civilization is about. So popular is this song that I hear it is even being played by high school marching bands under the name of simply ‘Civilization’. And this is AS IT SHOULD BE.

The song is the “Lord’s Prayer” in Swahili. It’s stirring quality could be, perhaps, in that it is a prayer.

With themes like this, and their obvious impact, it is clear to me that video games are a medium very much of the past. No other entertainment medium really respects this ancient past as do video games. I may be a renegade video game writer, but I am not crazy. There is something with the ancient oral mediums and video games.

Consider the theme of the expansion: Beyond the Sword. I’m not exactly sure what the lyrics are about here. Is this from the “Passage of India”?

And here is another expansion pack theme called Warlords. Does this sound Roman? Where did this song come from?

Civilization is a series that has never been associated with good music or any type of music. Civilization simply doesn’t NEED music. So the music that it has is quite interesting.

The first indication of music rising in Civilization would be in III especially with the modern themes. The songs were supposed to match the technology of your time period. So while drums and chants were in the ancient era, rock guitar exploded in the ‘modern era’.

When hearing this music, many people say, “This brings back so many memories.” Could good music be good because it brings back cherished golden memories of youth? It is like your father’s music being good because it brought him back music of his youth, of his past dances and all.

Perhaps it is no matter that the “Game Industry” has forgotten how to make good music. What good is music when you no longer know how to dance?


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