Essays

The Excitement, Suspense, and Overall Significance of Game Show Music

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Music has the power to evoke and retain memories, according to medical website Alzheimers. As we hear particular sounds from our past, whether obscure, unreleased tracks or contemporary pop anthems, they instantaneously suggest a blast from the past feeling. In many ways, music is also linked to the people and culture we grew up in. It’s embodied by the waterfall of fond memories upon listening to even the slightest hint of those infectious television shows’ opening themes. To a degree, it’s one of the many reasons why directors, producers, and everyone in between put a significant emphasis on the auditory aspects of TV programs in general.

Game shows, more specifically, plays a huge part in not just providing viewers with 30 to 60 minutes of unadulterated entertainment, they also have the intangible allure that makes people’s heads bob subconsciously. For instance, take the popular British quiz show Deal or No Deal. There’s no doubt, its opening tune is one of the most recognizable themes in television game show history. As additional evidence of its popularity and influence, the show spurred digital iterations on Pocketfruity, as well as an app called Iwin, Inc., and on a free-to-play title on Agame. Some can argue that it’s up there with the Jeopardy’s, Who Wants to be a Millionaire’s, and i’s of the game show world in terms of global and video game status.

From its Dutch roots at Endemol all the way to all the countries that franchised the game show, Deal or No Deal’s in-game music successfully builds up a perfect blend of thrill and anxiety. It all begins with an upbeat, melodic rise, followed by a somewhat suspenseful yet fitting drop down in the end. It all contributes to the seemingly endless explanations why, after close to two decades on the air, the TV program remains as iconic and as well loved as it is today. Come to think of it, this circumstance isn’t exactly new. If there’s a common denominator with the aforementioned Jeopardy, Who Wants to be a Millionaire, and The Price is Right, it’s their catchy sound effects and theme music. With loyal and casual TV show fans alike, it’s safe to say that almost everyone can instantly “name that tune” in the first couple of beats and seconds.

All in all, flourishing cross-platform ventures represent just the tip of the iceberg of game shows’ global and pop cultural significance. Above all else, these television programs play a huge role in bringing to mind blissful memories and emotions from the past through music. When everything’s said and done, it’s fascinating how TV game shows, visual mediums as a whole, can take its viewers on a nostalgic trip using wonderful aural features.

This is a guest contributed post from David Armstrong

Categories: Essays

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