Case in point: YouTube channel UberGubr found that playing jazz along competitive Super Smash Bros. Melee matches works very well.
This composition comes from Caleb Goss, a mathematics and music theory/composition major at St. Olaf College’s Music Department. He told Digital Trends that this concept came to him while he was watching Melee instead of working on his assignment. “The assignment was to write a piece that didn’t feature any pitched instruments,” said Goss. This meant that strings and horns were off limits. His first video depicted a performer playing his composition along with a competitive match on drums alone. “There is this concept within the Smash community that the gameplay is improvisational to some extent, and top level gameplay is certainly rhythmic,” he said. “I figured I could kill two birds with one stone: watch smash and write music.”
Because Melee is such a flashy game, its “gameplay mechanics and animations are perfect for sound accompaniment,” said Goss. To make his compositions, Goss took an interesting approach: “I would turn the volume down and just watch the gameplay.”
Considering Goss’ first video was recieved very well by the internet, with over 800,000 views in little over a month, he definitely intends on creating more content. “Over the summer I plan to continue making Melee videos in order to establish a subscriber base.” There are plans to compose over other fighting games like Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat, but Goss has his sights set on something bigger. He plans for a “large scale project” that would “score a boss fight from Dark Souls III.” It may not be as rhythmic as Super Smash Bros., but “it is definitely cinematic,” said Goss, and “it would basically be like film scoring.”
It would be interesting to see how Goss’ compositions vary between the various Smash games. Maybe we’ll get that video someday.