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Video Game Design and Development: A Bit-by-Bit History of Video Game Music: Video Game Sound and Music

Abertay University via FutureLearn


Chart the history of video game music, bit by bit

From early arcade games to modern open-world adventures, video game soundtracks have made an indelible mark on our culture.

On this course, you’ll get an introduction to video game music and the platforms that define it (including Atari and NES), focusing on the evolution of the classic 8-bit sound.

Featuring exclusive interviews with top video game composers and musicians, you’ll get hands-on with recorded examples, downloadable demos, and sample code.

You’ll draw on technology, musicology, and cultural studies to chart the development of the best video game music – from Pong to the complex arrangements of today’s first-person shooters.

This course is designed for anyone interested in game design and development. This includes those considering studying it at university and entering the games industry or becoming a video game music composer.

It will also appeal to anyone interested in electronic or gaming music, movie soundtracks, screen media, and video games.

Some experience of music notation and music theory would be helpful, but no prior knowledge is required or assumed.

No specific software or hardware is required for this course.


  • Early videogame music
    • Course welcome and introduction
    • The Atari VCS
    • The ZX Spectrum
    • The Commodore 64
    • Week 1 Summary
  • Samples, optical platters and nested loops
    • Week 1 Recap
    • The NES
    • From chips to tunes...
    • Playing with sound: Adaptive music engines
    • Week 2 Summary
    • Other Abertay courses on Futurelearn

Taught by

Kenny McAlpine


4.3 rating at FutureLearn based on 20 ratings

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