How important, exactly, is music to you?

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#1 Posted by charizard1605 (62998 posts) -

You know, people love to argue about video games' graphics (resolution wars, frame rate wars, and so on and so forth), and we see a lot of discussion about a game's story, or its controls and overall level design and so on... but what might in fact be one of the most important elements of game design (and in my opinion, arguably a whole lot more important than graphics) is very rarely discussed- a game's music and soundtrack.

You see, I have often found that games can be made or broken by their music- Metroid Prime Hunters' change in music direction from Prime 1 and 2 contributed to it not feeling as eerie and isolated as the first two games, and contributed to the dramatic decline in quality that it suffered. On the other hand, the sheer greatness of the soundtrack in The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks or The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword made me keep on playing the games through to the end, even when it became clear the games themselves were irredeemably shitty.

Music, I feel, is very important. It is what actually adds weight to the punches that a video game pulls. The final boss battle in A Link Between Worlds, Pokemon Gold/Silver, God of War II, or Final Fantasy IV wouldn't hit as hard if it didn't have the incredible music accompanying it. The game world of Dark Souls, Grand Theft Auto San Andreas, Assassin's Creed II, or The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim wouldn't have half the impact if the accompanying music wasn't so great. The story of Persona 4 wouldn't hit home as hard if the music wasn's as amazing as it is.

Music is very powerful- and I feel it is even more powerful in a medium as engaging and interactive as video games. Usually, people don't seem to give video game music the credit that it deserves, so let's have this thread as an appreciation for good video game music, and all that it can achieve. And let's also try to have some discourse about how important we all personally think music is to a video game's success.

#2 Edited by freedomfreak (44938 posts) -

al to

#3 Edited by XVision84 (13807 posts) -

Music is one of the most important things...in any entertainment form that involves music. It helps with the atmosphere tremendously. A good video game can be good without good music. But an exceptional and memorable video game needs exceptional and memorable music.

#4 Posted by jun_aka_pekto (17905 posts) -

I turn it off. I prefer to hear the game sounds.

#5 Posted by hrt_rulz01 (7654 posts) -

@jun_aka_pekto said:

I turn it off. I prefer to hear the game sounds.

Usually I do the same... unless the game has a good soundtrack, and really adds to the experience (like in Deus Ex HR).

#6 Posted by achilles614 (4948 posts) -

I good soundtrack is very important to me and can almost make or break the experience depending on its quality.

I love what Nintendo has been doing with their soundtracks lately.

#7 Edited by Renegade_Fury (17720 posts) -

It's very important to me, because the soundtrack can raise a game from being great to truly memorable. Pretty much all of my favorite games have phenomenal music that I listen to even when I'm not playing the games they're from.

#8 Posted by 001011000101101 (4204 posts) -

Pretty much the most important thing closely followed by sound and voice acting (if the game has any). My imagination can fill in the blanks when it comes to visuals, but I can't say the same for sound. Too bad developers know that most people only have those shitty "gaming headsets" or only have sound through their TV's speakers, so they often don't really bother doing something actually good.

Max Payne 3 is a gem when it comes to audio and music. Pure perfection.

#9 Posted by Master_ShakeXXX (13361 posts) -

If it's great, very. Nier wouldn't be the same game if it had a generic video game soundtrack.

#10 Posted by ghostwarrior786 (5811 posts) -

i play all games on mute, the music/sound breaks immersion

#11 Posted by Spartan070 (16388 posts) -

Music and OSTs will never make me purchase a game(except for Eternal Sonata) but they can make a game far more memorable than it otherwise would have been.

#12 Posted by Spartan070 (16388 posts) -

@ghostwarrior786 said:

i play all games on mute, the music/sound breaks immersion

WAH? In some games it adds to the immersion 10x fold, Metroid Prime? Halo saga? Diablo II? Castlevania saga?

#13 Posted by LegatoSkyheart (26737 posts) -
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#14 Posted by Lord_Omikron666 (4836 posts) -

One of the most important parts of the game.

#15 Posted by Sword-Demon (7001 posts) -

Atmosphere, which the soundtrack is a big part of, is extremely important. It can make an average game great, and it can make a would-be great game feel "meh."

Music is one of the most emotionally evocative art forms there is, so it has an important place in anything that tries to make you feel something.

#16 Posted by ankor77 (1081 posts) -

It depends on the type of game for me, but I think music can be very important. Especially in RPGs. I have so many Final Fantasy mp3's on my PC as they are some of the best.

#17 Posted by Basinboy (11527 posts) -

Was confused initially by thread title - hence why you should always read (i.e. skim) the OP.

Game music is essential - a game can be drastically more immersive and profound (or the opposite) based on quality sound design.

What I had originally thought is whether "non-soundtrack" music from the game being played is a necessary feature. For me, not really, but then again I recall a number of times where I've completely turned off a game's audio and just blasted some of the good stuff from my iPhone.

#18 Edited by Zassimick (7503 posts) -

I have never felt more like a hero in a video game than on the last level in Halo 4 facing off against countless Knights, racing to stop the Didact. This moment was made in large part due to the song "Arrival." In fact, Neil Davidge's work on Halo 4 has easily been some of my favorite in the industry.

The final moments in Journey were some of the most beautiful I've experienced in this medium, reaching the heights because of Austin Wintroy's song "Apotheosis." Again, this OST is one of the best I've heard.

I can't remember what year it was, but a couple years back I went to the Final Fantasy: Distant Worlds concert. Saw Nobuo Uematsu himself and experienced so many melodies that have helped create the memories I hold close.

Music and sound design are such an important factor. It's what captures the magic of Kingdom Hearts, the atmosphere of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, the fun in Persona 4 Golden and the incredible journey of Chrono Trigger. Music can make a game a timeless masterpiece.

#19 Posted by Newhopes (4699 posts) -

Music is pretty important to me games with a great sound tracks are the ones I tend to remember the most.

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#20 Posted by Spartan070 (16388 posts) -

@Zassimick said:

I have never felt more like a hero in a video game than on the last level in Halo 4 facing off against countless Knights, racing to stop the Didact. This moment was made in large part due to the song "Arrival." In fact, Neil Davidge's work on Halo 4 has easily been some of my favorite in the industry.

The final moments in Journey were some of the most beautiful I've experienced in this medium, reaching the heights because of Austin Wintroy's song "Apotheosis." Again, this OST is one of the best I've heard.

I can't remember what year it was, but a couple years back I went to the Final Fantasy: Distant Worlds concert. Saw Nobuo Uematsu himself and experienced so many melodies that have helped create the memories I hold close.

Music and sound design are such an important factor. It's what captures the magic of Kingdom Hearts, the atmosphere of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, the fun in Persona 4 Golden and the incredible journey of Chrono Trigger. Music can make a game a timeless masterpiece.

This post is full of so many feels, great examples. Neil stepped into some massive shoes Marty left behind and did a fantastic job.

#21 Posted by jg4xchamp (51933 posts) -

Very little. I'm very indifferent towards Videogame music.

I have my favorites, and I can easily identify the stuff I think handles it's soundtrack better than the rest, but all in all it always comes down to one thing: Do I enjoy playing the game.

#22 Edited by Gue1 (11634 posts) -

today I was looking for some JRPG from the Snes era to play but most of the ones I found looked fun but the music was so bad I ended up playing FFIV because even though it looked like shit at least the music was good.

#23 Posted by cainetao11 (20760 posts) -

@charizard1605: You know my buddy Robbie and I agree. Halo's music was always one of the best parts of the games imo. And MGR had music that so complimented the frenzied combat, especially on harder difficulties. My buddy has even gone to orchestral concerts at Madison Square Garden that were focused on a night of gaming music!! Great thread and points Char

#24 Posted by finalfantasy94 (27024 posts) -

Its not make or break for me.Some sticks and some doesint but its never a gamechanger for me.

#25 Posted by foxhound_fox (91387 posts) -

@LegatoSkyheart said:
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#26 Posted by PrincessGomez92 (3899 posts) -

When I play Guitar Hero, I mute the game.

#27 Edited by Sweenix (5957 posts) -

The most important aspect of a video game.

#28 Edited by mems_1224 (49313 posts) -

I enjoy lots of video game music but I cant think of a time it ruined the experience for me

#29 Posted by Shmiity (5388 posts) -

Its one of those things that isn't a HUGE deal. But when it's GOOD, like REALLY GOOD, it really makes the game that much better. Yeah, Zelda would still be Zelda, but think about how many killer theme songs it has, that just make it so much better. Why? Because they are singable. The Singable nintendo melodies have made those games unforgettable. Mario would still be Mario, but that melody is what makes it that much better.

Does that make sense? What Im saying is, if the music is meh, it's not a huge deal, but if it's good, it really ups the game.

#30 Posted by Spartan070 (16388 posts) -

@princessgomez92 said:

When I play Guitar Hero, I mute the game.

Skill level = BOSS

#31 Edited by Shmiity (5388 posts) -

Also: these big, bloated orchestral video game scores of the 2000's have done nothing but hold video game music back. They are so shitty. Call of duty, battlefield, Gears, you name it. These AAA games have horrible soundtracks. Terrible. Why? Because they aren't singable. These themes suck total ass hole.

#32 Edited by 10854 (116 posts) -

I can't say exactly since the enjoyment of music as with other art forms is a highly subjective one, and therefore abstract.

#33 Edited by seanmcloughlin (38219 posts) -

I enjoy and appreciate really good videogame music but it's different for each game. Something like Journey is absolutely lost without its music, it's literally shit without its music. But something like the souls games, while having great music isn't really changed a whole lot without it. Boss fights would be kinda weird without it but the music isn't that important despite being really good

#34 Posted by PrincessGomez92 (3899 posts) -

@Spartan070 said:

@princessgomez92 said:

When I play Guitar Hero, I mute the game.

Skill level = BOSS

I'm surrounded by casuals.

#35 Posted by seanmcloughlin (38219 posts) -

@Sweenix said:

The most important aspect of a video game.

That's a load of crap and you know it. Just think about what it is you're actually saying.

#36 Posted by Spartan070 (16388 posts) -

@princessgomez92 said:

@Spartan070 said:

@princessgomez92 said:

When I play Guitar Hero, I mute the game.

Skill level = BOSS

I'm surrounded by casuals.

I've never even played Guitar Hero unless you mean a beat down Joe Satriani Ibanez at a friends birthday party 14 years ago...

#37 Posted by GameMediator (75 posts) -

Very important. The OST in DK tropical freeze is amazing... its not wonder gamespot reviewed that game 6/10, they didn't even touch on the audio, biased mofos.

Anyway, just re-listening to a few songs in that game brings me back to my childhood of playing donkey kong country 2 on SNES.

Music psychologically triggers thoughts and emotions that enhance the atmosphere in a game. For example, being spotted in a Metal Gear Solid game and that awesome alert track starts playing. Snake Eater had some awesome tracks, the caution one in the jungle just made me wanna stalk my enemies and crawl through the grass all cool and stuff lol.

Oh, while I was playing pokemon X.. my friend told me to turn down the audio... we got into an argument lol... point is, music matters more than what most people think... I say music>graphics.

The new killer instinct track title screen gets you right amped up for a fight.

#38 Posted by Sweenix (5957 posts) -
@seanmcloughlin said:

@Sweenix said:

The most important aspect of a video game.

That's a load of crap and you know it. Just think about what it is you're actually saying.

No it's not. A musical score is supposed to set the mood, a sad event or a heroic event in a video game is nothing with out the OST to back it up.

I wouldn't have even liked final fantasy ix half as much, if it wasn't for the OST

For me it's. OST > Gameplay > Story > The Rest.

#39 Posted by Spartan070 (16388 posts) -

@gamemediator said:

Very important. The OST in DK tropical freeze is amazing... its not wonder gamespot reviewed that game 6/10, they didn't even touch on the audio, biased mofos.

Anyway, just re-listening to a few songs in that game brings me back to my childhood of playing donkey kong country 2 on SNES.

Music psychologically triggers thoughts and emotions that enhance the atmosphere in a game. For example, being spotted in a Metal Gear Solid game and that awesome alert track starts playing. Snake Eater had some awesome tracks, the caution one in the jungle just made me wanna stalk my enemies and crawl through the grass all cool and stuff lol.

Oh, while I was playing pokemon X.. my friend told me to turn down the audio... we got into an argument lol... point is, music matters more than what most people think... I say music>graphics.

The new killer instinct track title screen gets you right amped up for a fight.

That entire OST is GODLIKE, Mick Gordon did a helluva job. Fav track right here.

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#40 Posted by yokofox33 (30519 posts) -

It's not a deal breaker, but video game music can make a game much more enjoyable.

#41 Posted by getyeryayasout (8743 posts) -

It's not that important to me. I usually only notice it if it's really good or really bad, consequently most of it slips between the cracks. I'm usually surprised to see that people buy and listen to game soundtracks independent of the games (not that there is anything wrong with that).

#43 Posted by VendettaRed07 (14012 posts) -

Music can make the difference.

The best example l can think of is Wind Waker.. l really love that game, but without that soundtrack.. l don't think its the same experience, or end up nearly as well as it did. l think the atmosphere the music and graphics create smooth over a lot of the issues that it has and make the flaws less apparent.

#44 Edited by IgGy621985 (5217 posts) -

It's ONE of the most important elements in the game, but not THE most important, imho. Also, it depends on the genre.

I turn it off in sports games, but music is crucial when I play RPG games, and also some action games. For example, music was one of the best elements in GTA games, Mafia, LA Noire and Max Payne.

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This game just wouldn't be the same without this soundtrack.

#45 Posted by Ribstaylor1 (1770 posts) -

In single player games ya music is a must and one of the most important things. Even not much of it like the last of us did is even great when it adds atmosphere and tension. The games that stick out the most and come back to mind again and again are the ones that on top of it all had that mind blowing soundtrack.

#46 Posted by Lucianu (9664 posts) -

Sound design and music are two criminally underrated elements as far as importance goes. Most games would suffer with bad sound design or inappropriate music.

#47 Edited by HalcyonScarlet (5535 posts) -

There are some games I turn the music off completely and it makes you more effective like in certain shooters. And it sports games I turn off the music and commentary. If I'm playing Fifa or Fight Night, I don't want that shit when I'm playing.

As good as the music is in Ace Combat, I don't have that on when I'm playing either. You'll be surprised at what games are like when you turn certain things like that off. Same in certain racing games. I get a bit more focus.

Try it with the Crysis games, your just hearing the environment. It's better imo.

Other games sure I leave it on.

I've found that environmental sounds can be just as powerful, but can be buried by music.

#48 Posted by DJ-Lafleur (34376 posts) -

I'd say music and sound are both pretty important things to enhance the mood. Enhance the mood and atmosphere in a game, it will leave more of an impact, and become more memorable.

#49 Edited by SolidTy (46569 posts) -

Considering I've been to Video Games Live Concerts(AMAZING EXPERIENCE!!!) twice in my life, including once earlier this year, I can easily say that music is very vital part of the gaming experience.

Orchestral Symphony Music from Metal Gear Solid 2/3, Shadow of the Colossus, Kingdom Hearts, Streetfighter, Zelda (various), World of Warcraft, Castlevania, Megaman, Starcraft, Halo, Mario, Earthworm Jim, Final Fantasy (Various), and so many more. It's like a Rock Concert mixed with Orchestra and Video games...it sounds grand live. I met Tommy Tallarico, got two CDs signed, one Blu-ray signed, and I had a blast both times. Highly recommended for game sound track lovers if you ever live somewhere where they visit as they tour the world.

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Audio in general is huge in my home.

#50 Posted by finalstar2007 (26219 posts) -

VERY IMPORTANT! i can buy a game mainly for its music