Form Through Function in Video Game Music: Identifying Narratives in Sid Meier’s Civilization VI’s Soundtrack
KEYWORDS: Video game, music, media, narrative, theming, poststructuralism, essentialism What little scholarly research that has been conducted on video game music mostly focuses on its purpose as a part of the game’s overall design. This thesis will demonstrate that A. game music can also perform functions such as non-verbally conveying narratives to an audience on its own, and B. that this additional functionality is reflected in the form the music takes. Civilization VI is an excellent topic for analysis since it is both a cutting-edge, highly popular example of this function in action, and a solid argument for its relevance to media and popular culture scholars. Civilization VI’s soundtrack employs theming to reinforce cultural associations in tandem with music that evolves as one plays, which reinforces the game’s narratives of societal progress through history; this creates an essentialist and Western-centric view of what a ‘civilization’ is and how it behaves.
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