E3 is the world's biggest celebration of video games, but this year it was all about the audio for me. The Fallout 4 announcement immediately transported me back into the retro-futuristic universe of Pip-Boys with a few simple chords from a kitchen radio. The Cuphead trailer did a similar thing with its manic jazz soundtrack augmenting the frenetic visuals of its gameplay.
And then there was Metal Gear Solid V and its use of "Elegia" by New Order as the background music to a grandiose narrative about rebooting the entire world. It's not transporting me anywhere; it's keeping me right where I am, mouth slightly agape and headphones firmly planted around my cranium. It's beautiful. Whether you listen to it in combination with the highfalutin talk or not doesn't really matter — the two complement each other almost as well as Al Pacino's speech in Any Given Sunday and Paul Kelly's "Peace," which builds in volume and intensity in perfect synchronicity with his words.
Like smartphones, video games have far outgrown their original, narrow definition. They are multisensory experiences, they are allegories and morality tales, and they are places where people find community and kinship. For me, they're a bottomless source of enlightenment, as without Hideo Kojima's latest (and seemingly last) MGS V trailer, I might never have discovered this haunting piece of music: