When game developers start creating the blueprints of their game, there is usually an emphasis on background music and sound effects. The ability for music to convey emotions, a sense of realism, and authentic interactions are critical to the experience of the player. The plot, interactions within the game, voiceover actors are all important to the overall enjoyment of the game. Have you ever thought what your favourite game would be like without the iconic theme, or impressive performances of voice actors?
Whether it’s a fast paced first-person shooter, playing games on Casumo or an educational video, voice actors and background music make an impact, but we aren’t always paying attention to it. We become immersed in the experience, and we don’t notice if something is there when it fits so perfectly into the narrative. If a soundtrack is terrible, or a voice actor sucks; your immersion will be gone. You’ll be more focused on the mishaps than the story itself, even if the story is fantastic.
Being immersed is being entertained because we like to feel like we’re apart of the experience, rather than an outsider looking in. Think about this in your own life. Was it more fun to be watching your friends play a board game, or joining in on the excitement?
Background music acts as that inclusion. You’ll also notice that time seems to move faster when you’re having fun. Escaping from the pressures of the real world are what makes video games so attractive an entertaining. How would that be possible without music?
If one of your senses isn’t tuned in to the game, you won’t be immersed in it. That’s why the advent of AI technology and VR is so enticing. Soon, you’ll be actually engaged in the video game instead of watching a screen. This doesn’t mean gaming doesn’t do a great job currently, as programmers utilize the 5 senses to make you feel one with the game.
Vibrating controllers is one of the more 3D ways games try to trap you into their web. When you get hit, or when an earthquake happens, or you’re in a plane that lifts off, you’ll feel a vibration through your hands. Sounds make an essential difference, as this study published by the Journal of Psychology and Psychotherapy. It was concluded that background music is indispensable in creating a compelling game.
It turns out that players don’t pay too much attention to the background music or the sound, but the study that we mentioned made it clear that it still affects our overall experience and perception. A good test would be to play your games on mute and see how entertaining they are. A good game will keep your attention, but will that attention last? I know I have a hard time meditating because of all the sound distractions!
Being distracted is a common need for many people – especially for younger men. A Chicago Tribune article stated that men in their 20s are avoiding real life more than ever and would prefer to play video games over doing anything else. Fifteen percent of men in their early 20’s didn’t even work one single week in 2016. Instead, they would rather get lost in the experience of their online worlds.
Online game developers should take note of these studies and put more care and attention to the music in their games. It’s clear that gamers want to sit down for the long run and be immersed in the experience, rather than continually being pulled out because of lackluster music, sound, or where these sound bites are put.