Gold Coast Magazine

3 Impacts of Music in Games

Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to underestimate music’s impact on video games. Here, we’ll look at three ways music soundtracks impact you while playing your favourite games and in ways you may not have imagined.

Setting the Atmosphere

Try playing an adrenaline-fueled first-person shooter with Jingle Bells in the background. It would feel odd, right? On the flip side, combat music likely wouldn’t suit an 8-bit platformer. This is because one of the purposes of a video game soundtrack is to reinforce the atmosphere. This is true no matter whether it’s a retro game like Pacman, online pokies, or the latest release from Sony. Game developers want to keep you immersed in what’s going on in the game, and one way to do that is to ensure that the music matches the situation and setting you, the player, finds yourself in.

Music is a reflection of what’s happening in the real world. Believe it or not, the same is true of video games. Video game soundtracks often reveal the truth about the world we live in. In the Fallout games, for example, you’re aware that the action takes place in the future. But at the same time, you’ll see and hear aesthetic elements based on American culture in the ‘50s – we’re talking decor, fashion, and, of course, music. Combining classic American music and a post-apocalyptic wasteland plays a considerable role in intentionally creating an unsettling atmosphere.

Reward vs Punishment

Music can act as a secondary reward mechanism, using operant conditioning to impact your behaviour. For example, when you die during a game, you’ll typically hear disappointing game-over music. You’ll usually hear a rewarding, upbeat tune when you complete an objective or level. These audio cues unconsciously reward you for a job well done.

Video game soundtracks also reward you by enhancing your sense of significance and achievement. For example, inBethesda’s Skyrim, mashing buttons when taking on a frost troll might not seem like much in the bigger picture. But when you hear the epic battle chant, you feel like you’re responsible for saving the entire universe.

Improved Performance

It’s hard to perform well in a video game if your mind is elsewhere. Taking on a challenging boss requires a patient and focused approach. Fortunately, one impact of video game music is that it helps focus your mind on what you need to do. You may not have noticed it, but it’s true. Video game composers write and choose music that keeps you engaged.

This particular strength of video game soundtracks has enabled it to be used for other purposes. Some people believe it can make you more productive, and students play it in the background while studying. Whether you enjoy adrenaline-based activities or something more relaxing like a spa weekend, video game music can be a great way to enhance your emotions.

Conclusion – Music is a Powerful Tool in Video Gaming

Most songs stand on their own as a work of art. When it comes to video soundtracks, however, a piece of music has a specific role to play while still needing to be pleasing to the ear. So composing and arranging the soundtrack to your video games is no easy task. In fact, the best video game composers can help turn a game into a masterpiece. With how it can influence your behaviour and impact how you feel, music is about as impactful in video games as you could imagine.

Gold Coast Magazine
Gold Coast Magazine

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