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How to compose music for video games

Scoring interactive games brings unique challenges, says Winifred Phillips

Video games are a spectacularly visual medium. From deadly mechanized juggernauts crashing across the charred landscapes in “Titanfall” to a remarkably detailed pigskin spiraling into receivers’ arms in “Madden NFL 25,” graphics are most players’ chief connection to the world of any individual game.

But graphics, of course, are only part of the story. As games have grown more complex and immersive, their soundtracks have kept up: not just ultra-realistic car squeals and gunshots, but, increasingly, sophisticated musical scores written by professional composers. The best game scores are dynamic works of art in their own right, responding seamlessly to the player’s on-screen maneuvers, quieting in anticipation of a big battle or swelling in victory after it has been won.

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