Clever Composers – Catchy Computer Game Themes


The music of computer games has evolved over the years, from the basic notes of the Pac-Man theme, to more complex compositions of newer games. The music and sounds are an important element of games in order to invoke emotion to engage the game player. Music in a computer game is just as important as music in a movie.

We go back in time to the 1970s to when the musical style used in games were 8-bit synthesized electronic music, known as Chiptune. These are the sounds that you hear in very old arcade machines. Very old games used a simple beeping sound as the only sound.

We look at the most popular computer game themes, pull them apart, and look at the major components of them. We discover why they are so catchy – what specifically about the music keeps the melody in our mind?

Case Studies

  • 1980s Pacman, Tetris, Super Mario Bros, Zelda, Cannonball Blitz
  • 2010s Mortal Kombat, Minecraft, Plants vs Zombies, Angry Birds, Candy Crush