Jones: Game Music Potential Yet To Be Tapped

By Caillan
January 3, 2003 - 11:00 AM

Former Star Trek: The Next Generation composer Ron Jones said recently computer game scores need to be more creative, chastising developers for not pushing the envelope in music for new media.

"The potential of music and its effect on the overall game playersí experience has yet to be developed, due to a lack of desire and imagination rather than technology or musical limitations," Jones told "Plus many of the composers are limited in their abilities and conditioned not to think out of the box, even the popular game music soundtracks are so derivative of other scores as to raise only to the level of a parody rather than a work which communicates on its own level."

During his four-year tenure on TNG, Jones created many memorable scores, including the music for 'The Best of Both Worlds, Parts I and II.' He said game soundtracks should be just as emotive as music for film and television, in order to enhance the experience for the player. "The part involving the craft of composing to support a story is very much the same. Both demand that the music play the emotions, bring a context of time and place to the audience and do it while working with the dialogue, sound effects and action. Interactive games function on another level apart from the film genre in that the player is in fact the main character and that the actions taken by the player causes scenes and various elements to shift."

Jones said he particularly dislikes the heavy use of electronics in creating scores for games. "I tell you the truth, using live musicians would make a huge difference in the quality and power that a game could deliver. Electronics are signals, though circuitboards and transistors. Humans pick up on this. Can you imagine John Williamís score to Star Wars with electronic samples instead of the London Philharmonic? How can game developers and publishers despise the human audience so much as to settle for the drab, limited and un-expressive palette of electronics for their scores?"

The full interview, in which the composer also talked about his favourite projects and awards for game scores, can be found at this page.

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