Does Music Really Make or Break a Game?


When discussing favorite virtual games—or even childhood games—people often think of the plot, the characters, or sometimes the graphics. Though it’s always present, what rarely comes to mind is the music. So, why is music so important in online casinos, fantasy quests, or even games like FIFA?

Increases Desire to Play

For centuries, music has been used to develop motivation and desire. Just as listening to uplifting music in a gym motivates individuals to stay longer and work out more, music that enhances the gaming experience increases an individual's desire to play and return to specific sites that offer the same experience. 

If such feelings aren’t encouraged through music, even when a user loses, the player will have no reason to try a game more than once, regardless of how enjoyable it might be.

For example, the fast adrenaline-pumping music in an action game would keep the player in suspense while the soothing background scores of games create a pleasant ambiance.

Sets the Mood

It's a well-known fact that music has the power to evoke emotions. One can notice how the music aligns with the scene's mood when watching a movie.

Typically, in sad or upsetting scenes, the music tends to be downbeat and melancholic. While in joyous moments, it becomes cheery, upbeat, and energetic. 

Everything is staged so that users have a pleasurable experience. This is why they play on and on and come back for more. Music enriches the experience, quite literally.

Consider horror games, the E.E.R.I.E., suspenseful music heightens the sense of fear and anticipation, making the gameplay more intense and memorable for players. Similarly, the upbeat, energetic tracks in sports games amplify the excitement of the matches, mirroring the highs and lows of real-life sports events.

The Psychology of Association

When one walks into a store, suddenly, a smell might trigger a memory. This is called association, and it occurs with all five senses. It's an everyday occurrence for many songs to remind individuals of certain people or moments in their lives. Whether they're filled with happiness or sadness. 

Game developers leverage this psychological phenomenon to their advantage. This further correlates with playing win-related music. Thus favoring the players' liking of the games, which usually results in extended playing time. 

The brain likely creates patterns in real-time. It links what’s heard with the corresponding actions. The power of association can enhance gaming performance, boost self-esteem, and encourage prolonged engagement in gaming.

For instance, the iconic victory music in games is instantly recognizable and triggers a sense of accomplishment and nostalgia, even years after first hearing it. It’s an associative memory so great that it implores one to get back into the game while trying to relive those great feelings and emotions.

F777 Fighter - Crash Game

Music and sound effects are also qualities that can make a game much more enjoyable. For example, in the  F777 Fighter - crash game, the adrenaline-loaded background music combines well with the game's rapid pace. 

The sound of the jet engines and explosions of enemy aircraft in the game places the player in high-pressure, high-stakes scenarios. These sound features heighten the gaming experience, making it much more engaging and practically impossible for the player to resist returning.

Expert Insights and Future Trends

Experts in the music industry, game design, and psychology emphasize the integral role of music in enhancing gaming experiences. Dr. Karen Collins, an authority on video game music, has written a book about it called Game Sound. In the book, Dr Collins writes about the core part of the storytelling and emotional engagement process.

The breakthrough of adaptive music technologies will transform the experience of games in the future. Whatever the musical schemes, they can dynamically change according to a player's activity and the game environment, making the experience feel personalized and immersive.

For example, the music can quickly shift from ambient and tranquil to intense as you transition from exploration to combat, increasing emotional impact.

Counterarguments and Considerations

While the benefits of music in gaming are well-documented, some argue that not all games require elaborate soundtracks to be enjoyable.

Puzzle games often feature minimalist music or allow players to play in silence, focusing purely on gameplay mechanics. 

Additionally, accessibility considerations must be made for players with auditory impairments or sensitivities, ensuring that the gaming experience remains inclusive.

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