Strutting with Streets of Rage: When Dance Music Enters the Fight

Book chapter


Rietveld, H. C. and Lemon, A. (2024). Strutting with Streets of Rage: When Dance Music Enters the Fight. in: Music and Sonic Environments in Video Games: listening to and Performing Ludic Soundscapes Routledge.
AuthorsRietveld, H. C. and Lemon, A.
Abstract

This chapter investigates the experience, pleasure, and intertextuality of the soundtracks of the first three game versions of the beat ‘m up home console title Streets of Rage (SEGA 1991, 1992, 1994), the first version composed by Yuzo Koshiro, and the following two in collaboration with Motohiro Kawashima.
A Wiki page was created to aid cross-referencing of musical inspiration, supported by archival materials that include existing interviews with the composer(s), and game reviews from the time of release. The game-soundtracks offer a snapshot of electronic dance music of the early to mid 1990s, when this musical meta-genre gained global popularity. Structures of electronic dance music suit the looped character of video game music. The first two versions offer pastiches of existing recordings, but the third version offers an original contribution to techno music.
In addition, extensive long game play underpins an understanding of the experience of the soundtracks. Through a process of entrainment, the tempo of the music’s repetitive beats affects the player’s engagement and their game action. As a result, the fighting moves can be experienced as dance moves, making the fighting scenes feel as energetic as the dancefloors of the era, adding a sense of nostalgia to the three-decade later game play.

Keywordsgame music composition; electronic dance music; glocalisation; music genre; SEGA Megadrive
Year2024
Book titleMusic and Sonic Environments in Video Games: listening to and Performing Ludic Soundscapes
PublisherRoutledge
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Publication process dates
Accepted01 Nov 2023
Deposited29 Jan 2024
Additional information

This chapter is a third collaboration between Prof Rietveld and Mr Lemon, as part of an ongoing project that delves into aspects of Japanese game composition, from gender politics to genre formation.

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https://openresearch.lsbu.ac.uk/item/9635v

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