Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

CCOG for MUS 215 Summer 2022

View archive version »
Course Number:
MUS 215
Course Title:
Reverberations of Video Game Music
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

Course Description

Examines the role of music and sound design in video games by surveying the historical, technical, cultural, and aesthetic impacts of game audio and music. Introduces ludomusicology, a field of academic research and scholarly analysis focusing on video game music. Prerequisites: WR 115, RD 115 and MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

  • Identify the historical developments in video game music including pioneers and significant composers to summarize the cultural impacts of video game music and sound on modern society.
  • Analyze the musical and sound content of video games using industry specific technical terminology and concepts associated with sound design in interactive media.

  • Provide critical analysis of how music and sound is used along with visual elements in order to heighten and intensify the experience of the gamer.

Aspirational Goals

  • Use an understanding of sound and music in commercial video games in order to apply techniques to other disciplines such as performance art, film, and for therapeutic purposes.

Course Activities and Design

Comparison and contrast to film music

Survey of early arcade video game sound and music

Survey of early home consoles games, sounds, and music

Analysis of the function of music and sound in video games

Analysis of video game market and music and sound production process

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Any or all of the following may be used:

Research papers including audio/video examples

Short answer quizzes

Sound and music aural identification

Student presentations

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

Pinball machines and arcade sounds

Arcade games and sounds

Home consoles and death of the arcade

Rise of MIDI and home computer games

Advanced home consoles

Online gaming

Handheld gaming

Audio production process for game music and sound

Popular music and video games

Interactivity and dynamic music composition

The gender gap in video game industry