The effective use of music in video games can mean the difference between a forgettable damp squib of a scene at the end of a level, or an emotional climax that leaves you wanting more. In fact, the use of music in games is remarkably similar to how music is used in the film world, and there's a growing recognition of the importance of game soundtracks and the talent that goes into making them work.

That recognition has culminated in an Original Music gaming BAFTA being awarded to James Bonney and Garry Schyman for BioShock Infinite last month, showing just how far music for games has come since the early days of 8-bit and MIDI soundtracks. This evolution is obvious to anyone who's played a next-gen console. The PlayStation 4 boasts Dolby(r) technology, which renders surround sound on the.

But how did music for video games evolve? And what were the landmark games and moments that helped it develop? Here's our brief history of music in video games.

The 70s and 80s: Chiptune

Video games as we know them first started appearing in the late 1970s, with arcade games and console versions of popular arcade games, proving a hit. Music was created via simple synthetic chips, generating sounds in a style that became known as 'chiptune'. This was a step on from the complete silence or basic beeps and boops of early games, for example those made famous in Atari's Pong. As we moved into the 1980s, so video game music began developing as quickly as the technology. Dynamic soundtracks started to become the norm, using music to directly communicate information to the user. The famous 1987 game, R.B.I. Baseball, was an early example of music being used to reflect the actions of the player.

The 90s: Digital synthesis

As computers like the Commodore Amiga and consoles such as the Sony Mega Drive, started to feature more advanced sound chips, so games composers were allowed to get more ambitious. The composer Yuzo Koshiro used the Mega Drive hardware to create catchy, techno-style soundtracks for The Revenge of Shinobi and the Streets of Rage series, introducing electro basslines and trancey electronic sounds, that became popular in 1990s shoot 'em ups. Repeated use of certain phrases was needed because of the lack of memory in consoles, which led to the creation of addictive classics such as Koji Kondo's Super Mario Bros soundtrack.

The 2000s and next-gen: creating a mood

As we moved into the 2000s, so the introduction of Dolby Digital software to consoles transformed the depth and complexity of game soundtracks, with musicians such as Trent Reznor composing music for games. Complex games such as Halo, have been acclaimed for their soundtracks, bringing a stirring, emotional edge to gaming, and increasing a game's immersive quality. With next-gen consoles now designed as complete entertainment systems, devices built for watching movies, game soundtracks can now have equal billing with film soundtracks in terms of quality. The new, highly anticipated, Halo for Xbox One is available to pre-order now at GAME and Amazon.

As our brief history shows, the art of games music has developed into an industry all of its own. With specialist composers experimenting and using new methods of making music for new interactive experiences, it's an art form that's gaining more respect with every passing year.