Business and Management
Submitted By shipshore64
In the game design industry, the position that I have the most admiration for is the sound designers and music composers. The music in a game can be as important as the visuals and the story in my opinion; helping to paint a vivid picture of environments and moods to aid in storytelling. Junichi Masuda is the world famous sound composter for game freak, and is best known for his creation of sound and music in the Pokémon franchise of games. The first term that comes to my mind when referring to the work of Junichi Masuda is “nostalgia.” I think back to playing “Pokémon Gold” with my best friend Jack when we were younger. After a long adventure, accompanied by inspiring, adventurous, and sometimes creepy ominous tracks, you reach the Pokémon league, the final challenge for a Pokémon trainer. Standing before your final challenge the track “Pokémon League Theme” produced by Mr. Masuda himself plays in the background. Starting off slow with two notes alternating, slowly and ominously, the sounds build. The track grows in volume and intensity before leveling off and methodically repeating in the background. The reason this is so effective in capturing the mood of the scenario, and who Masuda himself is a genius in regards to sound design is how important the music is to this particular scene. Subtle examples such as this one may go undetected by the average gamer, but attempting to imagine the final hurdle in the amazing Pokémon games without these tracks in the background is simply impossible. Another trait that I admire in Junichi Masuda is his creative ability to adapt his music to the different worlds created all within the Pokémon universe. To date, six Pokémon regions have been created all with different cultural elements that make them distinct. In Pokémon X and Y, released in 2013, the art and character designs take elements from French culture. Masuda is able to adapt the sound tracks in X and Y to incorporate elements of French culture, such as elements of jazz, French horns and of course accordions. Even more impressive is these tracks attain these culture elements while retaining distinct composition that keeps true to the franchise. In Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, the game features a lot of technology and futuristic elements and Masuda’s music helps reflect these stylistic concepts. This creativity and fan service, is something that is likely extremely difficult to accomplish and a skill that I hope to attain one day. My addiction to Junichi Masuda’s work has gotten out of hand in recent years as my affinity for Pokémon games has only grow strong with age. From listening to the more mellow themes such as the “Viridian Forest Theme” (Pokémon Fire Red and Leaf Green) during study hours, to intense tracks such as “Rival Encounter” (Pokémon Black 2 and White 2) Masuda’s work has become the soundtrack to my personal life as well as my characters. The most interesting example comes last Halloween, during my family annual Haunted House. This was our final year and I was in charge of everything from, actors to soundtrack. Remixing some other classic ambient video game music, I opted to include a piece of Masuda’s work as well, a surprising choice for a serious haunted house. My decision to include a bit of “N’s Bedroom” (Pokémon Black 2 and White 2) was a hit, and added just the right amount of atmosphere to the haunted house.
I’ve listened to and admired Junichi Masuda’s work since I received my first Pokémon game when I was 7 years old. He is a defining reason why I wanted to enter the field of computer game design. The ability to not only add to a story through sound, but create a story is a skill Mr. Masuda has mastered and a trait that I admire greatly.