Are sounds and music in gaming important?

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Posted by armyman_22 (1492 posts) -

As we all know games are reviewed in sections and for good reason. Games more so than movie hinge on a lot of elements coming together to make it worth the 59.99$ USD price tag. One of those areas is music and sound. Is sound in gaming as important as some of us think? Well let me ask you this have you ever turned of the sound in a Smack down game? If you answered yes then you might have an idea of why the sound of a game is needed. A lot of people wouldn’t even look at sound as a factor, but a true gamer knows its value. Still some could make a good argument that sound isn’t necessary to enjoy a game. The Xbox 360 offered gamers the option to turn on whatever music you wanted while playing your favorite games (which was a stroke of genius). Some games don’t really even have music while your playing for example most sports games like Madden or 2K basket ball. Lets explore this idea of music being an option or not.

Pros—With the right type of music playing at the right time…so much feeling and power can be achieved. You can probably remember some of your favorite game’s music right now if you tried. The theme form Mario Bros., Mega Man 2 Crash man’s stage, The Street Fighter 2 theme or Ken’s stage, or how about any tune from Final Fantasy 7? These and more games can cause you to hum tunes uncontrollably or even have a buddy join in with you. I remember playing Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross with the music giving me a certain feeling of awe. It pulled me into the story and had me invest interest in the adventure before me. Cut away from great music to Voices used in gaming. I remember when you had to just imagine how your favorite character sounded like. When you played Final Fantasy 7 or Metal Gear you had no voice to talk to you or comfort you. The dialogue had to be that intriguing to get you wrapped up into the game. Then Final Fantasy 10 and Metal Gear Solid came along and solidified what you already knew to be true. These characters sounded as awesome as they looked. With the proper voice actors a game can take you to new heights. Madden wouldn’t have been Madden if you didn’t hear John Madden and Pat Summeral. Finally What about the plain old sound effects? Every gun blasting, creek and cracks of floor boards, or the clang of steal as two weapons hit in a fighting game like Soul Calibur matters. It’s undeniable that these things wouldn’t be the same if sound weren’t present. When Call of Duty Modern Warfare arrived I lost count at how many people were astounded by how the weapons sounded. The realism was very much alive in those guns. Yes there is no doubt about it that sound effects can bring things full circle

When it comes down to sounds and music in a game might not be necessary, but without them gaming could be changed, and for the worst. Could you picture Halo with no theme music? Imagine for a second no realistic weapon sounds in a Call of Duty series. Would you buy a Rock band games with songs mad by your local garage band? If the answers to these questions were yes then you’d have to agree that Music/Sound in games is not only needed, but also definitely warranted and unacceptable if it isn’t good. I don’t want to envision a gaming world with no music, sound effects, or voices, as these things are much need to bring the experience full circle. With that being said if you don’t agree; turn on your favorite game and mute the TV…. then come back and let me know how it worked out. Just in case you do disagree with this point use the comments section below and let me know why. Until next time if you can’t be GOOD, be GOOD at it. PEACE!

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#1 Posted by Shmiity (6099 posts) -

It just makes it that much better. Sound design definitely. There are a lot of good games with bad video game scores, so I would say music is less important than the sound design. But when a game has a great music score? Damn, dude.

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#3 Posted by Lulu_Lulu (19564 posts) -

Ofcourse its important.... But music is hardly used interactively.

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#5 Edited by ptrpedrohung (189 posts) -

@Lulu_Lulu: well in games like Proteus music is used somewhat interactively. And maybe this is a new area that devs can experiment on in the future?

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#7 Edited by jun_aka_pekto (23423 posts) -

Some people play games and compare them to watching a movie with its accompanying musical scores and sound cues.

Not me. When I play a game, I pretend it's me in the game world. I like to tune in to the environment around me, listening for certain sounds that might indicate danger. Hearing music is the biggest immersion-killer to me.

The only exception would those games with an "arcade" atmosphere, be it an arcade FPS or a platformer. Those games I don't mind if music are playing.

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#9 Posted by sukraj (27501 posts) -

yes its very important.

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#10 Posted by Lulu_Lulu (19564 posts) -

@ ptrpedrohung

Hopefully... But its not really an issue because even the non-intetactive of music doesn't hinder gameplay.... Not like cutscenes.

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#11 Posted by loafofgame (1742 posts) -

Sound (including music) diminishes the distance between the player and what happens on the screen. It connects the game world to the player's surroundings. Sound is important for creating a sense of space that goes beyond what you can see on the screen. It is vital in creating a convincing game world (and with convincing I do not mean realistic or believable).

Music is used to create atmosphere, to reinforce emotion, to convey meaning and to provide structure. It borrows many techniques from film, but in games it can also aid the player (just like sound does). It can also be culturally and socially significant, providing an experience that can be enjoyed and shared outside of the games themselves. The fact that so many games have constant musical accompaniment shows the importance of music in videogames, although I think it is often used too much. I still don't understand why so many games have constant background music. It gets repetitive fairly quickly, which in turn can lead to music fatigue, at which point it often loses its purpose.

I think music can have a much greater impact if it is used more sporadically and is attached to unique events, characters or locations. However, game composers often have to work based on early concepts of in-game events or designs, rather than a largely finished product (which is often the case in film), and they also have to deal with the interactive nature of a game. Music in film can often convey much more meaning and can also follow the images in much more detail. But I feel more can be done with videogame music than what's being done now (also in the procedural music department).

@armyman_22 said:

With that being said if you don’t agree;

Did you ever encounter anyone who disagreed?

@Lulu_Lulu said:

Ofcourse its important.... But music is hardly used interactively.

Define interactive. Strictly speaking when the music reacts to the player's actions it is interactive. And music reacting to gameplay happens a lot in games.

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#12 Edited by Lulu_Lulu (19564 posts) -

@ loafofgame

The Music would Change depending on what the player is doing.... Like in Assassin's Creed there certain music that only plays when you're being chased. Music that adapts not only to the context of the situation but also the player trigering that context.

Then theres games entirely built around music... Like Rez.

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#13 Posted by jasean79 (2593 posts) -

@Lulu_Lulu said:

@ loafofgame

The Music would Change depending on what the player is doing.... Like in Assassin's Creed there certain music that only plays when you're being chased. Music that adapts not only to the context of the situation but also the player trigering that context.

Then theres games entirely built around music... Like Rez.

Ah yes, Rez. Awesome game indeed. Probably my favorite of the PS2 era.

other games worth mentioning that use music as the primary force in the game: Lumines and Child of Eden (Rez sequel)

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#14 Posted by Lulu_Lulu (19564 posts) -

@ jasean79

Theres an indie game I've heard of recently... I never played it but I like the idea. Its called Fract OSC.

fractgame.com/

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#17 Edited by lumzi32 (378 posts) -

I have become a bit audio crazy lately, so I have to say yup.

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#20 Edited by maynardburger (187 posts) -

@ptrpedrohung said:

@Lulu_Lulu: well in games like Proteus music is used somewhat interactively. And maybe this is a new area that devs can experiment on in the future?

There's quite a few music-based indie games on the PC that are basically part of the gameplay.

Circuits, Fract OSC, Audiosurf, Sequence, Soundodger, Melody's Escape, Auditorium, Symphony, Bit Trip Beat, Aquaria, etc

But yea, a good soundtrack can really take a good game into greatness. I think its something a lot of developers overlook for some reason.

And good sound design can really make a game feel alive, so yes, totally important.

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#22 Edited by Jacanuk (13053 posts) -

Music

@armyman_22 said:

As we all know games are reviewed in sections and for good reason. Games more so than movie hinge on a lot of elements coming together to make it worth the 59.99$ USD price tag. One of those areas is music and sound. Is sound in gaming as important as some of us think? Well let me ask you this have you ever turned of the sound in a Smack down game? If you answered yes then you might have an idea of why the sound of a game is needed. A lot of people wouldn’t even look at sound as a factor, but a true gamer knows its value. Still some could make a good argument that sound isn’t necessary to enjoy a game. The Xbox 360 offered gamers the option to turn on whatever music you wanted while playing your favorite games (which was a stroke of genius). Some games don’t really even have music while your playing for example most sports games like Madden or 2K basket ball. Lets explore this idea of music being an option or not.

Pros—With the right type of music playing at the right time…so much feeling and power can be achieved. You can probably remember some of your favorite game’s music right now if you tried. The theme form Mario Bros., Mega Man 2 Crash man’s stage, The Street Fighter 2 theme or Ken’s stage, or how about any tune from Final Fantasy 7? These and more games can cause you to hum tunes uncontrollably or even have a buddy join in with you. I remember playing Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross with the music giving me a certain feeling of awe. It pulled me into the story and had me invest interest in the adventure before me. Cut away from great music to Voices used in gaming. I remember when you had to just imagine how your favorite character sounded like. When you played Final Fantasy 7 or Metal Gear you had no voice to talk to you or comfort you. The dialogue had to be that intriguing to get you wrapped up into the game. Then Final Fantasy 10 and Metal Gear Solid came along and solidified what you already knew to be true. These characters sounded as awesome as they looked. With the proper voice actors a game can take you to new heights. Madden wouldn’t have been Madden if you didn’t hear John Madden and Pat Summeral. Finally What about the plain old sound effects? Every gun blasting, creek and cracks of floor boards, or the clang of steal as two weapons hit in a fighting game like Soul Calibur matters. It’s undeniable that these things wouldn’t be the same if sound weren’t present. When Call of Duty Modern Warfare arrived I lost count at how many people were astounded by how the weapons sounded. The realism was very much alive in those guns. Yes there is no doubt about it that sound effects can bring things full circle

When it comes down to sounds and music in a game might not be necessary, but without them gaming could be changed, and for the worst. Could you picture Halo with no theme music? Imagine for a second no realistic weapon sounds in a Call of Duty series. Would you buy a Rock band games with songs mad by your local garage band? If the answers to these questions were yes then you’d have to agree that Music/Sound in games is not only needed, but also definitely warranted and unacceptable if it isn’t good. I don’t want to envision a gaming world with no music, sound effects, or voices, as these things are much need to bring the experience full circle. With that being said if you don’t agree; turn on your favorite game and mute the TV…. then come back and let me know how it worked out. Just in case you do disagree with this point use the comments section below and let me know why. Until next time if you can’t be GOOD, be GOOD at it. PEACE!

You have the answer right there.

Music adds to the emotion a viewer find in a scene, the wrong music can make the whole experience bad beyond belief and the right can make it the best.

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#23 Edited by Lulu_Lulu (19564 posts) -

@ Jacanuk

Remember the Music from Prince of Persia 2: Warrior Within ? LOL Epic Disaster !

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#24 Edited by PowPowNinja (25 posts) -

It's important when I want to prepare for oncoming attacks. So.. sound effects yes but music not so much... I prefer to listen to my own playlist.

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#25 Posted by jun_aka_pekto (23423 posts) -

There's very few games where I have music on. If a game depends on visual cues such as most RTS games, I might have the music on. For example, Hell March in the original Red Alert.

Classic.....

Loading Video...

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#26 Posted by loafofgame (1742 posts) -

@Lulu_Lulu
said:

@ loafofgame

The Music would Change depending on what the player is doing.... Like in Assassin's Creed there certain music that only plays when you're being chased. Music that adapts not only to the context of the situation but also the player trigering that context.

Well, that happens a lot in videogames.

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#27 Posted by Lulu_Lulu (19564 posts) -

@ loafofgame

Sometimes the Context is not always triggered by the player..... Its scripted... So no it doesn't happen alot.

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#28 Edited by loafofgame (1742 posts) -

@Lulu_Lulu
said:

@ loafofgame

Sometimes the Context is not always triggered by the player..... Its scripted... So no it doesn't happen alot.

That's why I asked for a definition. If the music reacts to the player during gameplay (not cutscenes) it's interactive. That happens a lot. Off the top of my head: Mass Effect 3, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Portal 2, Skyrim, Dead Space, The Last of Us, Red Dead Redemption, a lot of RTS games. It depends a bit on which games you like to play, but I wouldn't say it is 'hardly used interactively'...

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#29 Posted by jasean79 (2593 posts) -

Music played a big part in the Silent Hill and Tomb Raider games. It almost acted as a prompt for what was to come.

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#30 Posted by Lulu_Lulu (19564 posts) -

@ loafofgame

You miss understood me... Have you ever played NFS Carbon ? In a canyon Race the music adjusts to the position of your opponent. In Mass Effect and Portal and The Last Of Us theres no way to stop the music from happening in a specific context because that context is inevitable. In Assassin's Creed the chase music is triggered by the player when they enter a chase, but the chase can be avoided all together hence the music won't play. Its a subtle difference, hell its got nothing to do with the music at all.

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#31 Posted by loafofgame (1742 posts) -
@Lulu_Lulu said:

You miss understood me... Have you ever played NFS Carbon ? In a canyon Race the music adjusts to the position of your opponent. In Mass Effect and Portal and The Last Of Us theres no way to stop the music from happening in a specific context because that context is inevitable. In Assassin's Creed the chase music is triggered by the player when they enter a chase, but the chase can be avoided all together hence the music won't play. Its a subtle difference, hell its got nothing to do with the music at all.

That's cool, but then you shouldn't use the word interactive in such a general way. In Portal 2 the player can directly control the music when, for example, hitting sockets with beams (each beam hitting a socket adds a musical layer). In The Last of Us the music will adapt to the combat situation the player is in (either stealth or direct confrontation). In Mass Effect the default background music switches to battle music when combat commences and switches back to the default soundtrack when the enemies are defeated. These instances are all triggered and shaped by the player and they happen in-game. The player can choose when to enter and end a fight and the music will react accordingly. Just because the player can't avoid the confrontation at all costs doesn't mean the music isn't used interactively. I have not played NFS Carbon, but the use of music sounds very similar to Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Dead Space, in which the music changes based on the distance between the player and enemies. Red Dead Redemption and GTA 5 also have a soundtrack in which musical layers are added or subtracted based on the situation the player gets into...

These are all examples of interactive music. They are all triggered and shaped in-game by the player, just like your Assassin's Creed and NFS Carbon examples. And there are much more examples.

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#32 Edited by Jacanuk (13053 posts) -

@Lulu_Lulu said:

@ Jacanuk

Remember the Music from Prince of Persia 2: Warrior Within ? LOL Epic Disaster !

Yep that was not a good call there.

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#33 Posted by Jacanuk (13053 posts) -

@Lulu_Lulu said:

@ Jacanuk

Remember the Music from Prince of Persia 2: Warrior Within ? LOL Epic Disaster !

Yep that was not a good call there.

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#34 Edited by SovietsUnited (2457 posts) -

A truly memorable game needs a memorable soundtrack, or at least a memorable main theme. Good sound design is essential these days, especially in multiplayer FPS

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#36 Posted by platinumking320 (668 posts) -

@armyman_22: HELL YEAH! It's context man.

Helps with the feedback loop and gives weapons character in FPS. It establishes the brutality and authenticity in The Last of Us and Spec Ops the Line.

Contextualizes certain parts of an adventure. MGS, Half-life, Final Fantasy, Resident Evil, Silent Hill series's were all exceptional with their soundtracks and drawing contrasts between character drama, personal moments, long travel, encounters, battles, fear, tension and surprise in game.

Plus in horror its good for distracting you towards threats that aren't there.

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#37 Posted by Lulu_Lulu (19564 posts) -

@ loafofgame

The Last Of Us had music for enemy encounters ? Didn't hear it.... All I heard was sound effects for being spotted and dying.

As for your other Example (besided dead space) those are boring. They gotta do better.

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#38 Edited by loafofgame (1742 posts) -

@Lulu_Lulu: Well, that's a matter of taste and beside the point. In a technical sense those examples aren't done any better or worse than Assassin's Creed (which uses music interactively in a pretty standard way). Personally, I think Portal 2 uses music in a more original and subtle way.

And in the Last of Us it's rather subtle and it also isn't done in every potential combat situation. Sometimes there's no music at all.

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#40 Posted by groowagon (4623 posts) -

is audio important in an audio-visual experience? um, well, yeah.

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#41 Edited by Jag85 (11368 posts) -

Yes, the sound and music are important.