How Important Is Music in Gaming?


When we define digital games today, one phrase that often appears is “audiovisual”. Of course, this means that the graphics and sounds employed within the games blend together to create one overall, cohesive experience. Although the visual aspect of games undoubtedly receives more attention, without sound a lot of games just wouldn’t have the same impact on audiences.

One excellent example of extraordinary audiovisual prowess can be found in the Mass Effect series. All Mass Effect games have impeccable scores which are complimented by powerful sound effects, both of which blend into the visuals seamlessly. In the clip below, you can hear how the music builds while the two characters are talking, then swells with the introduction of Normandy creating a powerful, moving set of scenes. However, if you were to mute the video and watch The Normandy Reborn, it’d just be some dudes walking around and then a spaceship is there too. Not really that exciting if you think about it.

Of course, games don’t necessarily need big-budget musicians or epic scores to help their players get immersed in the action. This is particularly obvious in iGaming titles, specifically slot games which often require diverse yet simplistic music. This is because the majority of slots games focus on just one screen featuring automated reels, so sound effects become the most important part of the audio. However, if there are mini games and bonus screens then background music is also needed for them, and they must also compliment the sound effects. Unfortunately, not all audiovisual slots are created equal, and so it often worth browsing different software developers and sites to find the right one and maybe even to get a bonus. The slots you can rarely go wrong with are branded such as The Dark Knight slot, which uses the movie’s music perfectly.


Ultimately, music and other audio aspects are important in all sorts of games because they establish moods and tones in an entirely different way to visuals. While images evoke our just one of our senses, music can employ all of them and stay with us in our minds. Another great example of this is the score of Fallout 3, which has been described in the past as “eerie” and “isolated” to name just a few comments. While the visuals are indeed dreary, it is the music that really bring this feeling to life. Just by listening to the soundtrack featured below you can imagine scenes of desolation, the desperation to survive and conquer a strange and isolated world with hope.

Not all gaming music is dramatic and dark though, in fact many retro game music evokes pleasant feelings of nostalgia and victory. This is the case with Super Mario Bros. and Sonic the Hedgehog, even more serious titles like Modern Warfare 2 and Final Fantasy VII. Chances are, if you played the latter you still get psyched whenever you hear this triumphant victory fanfare.

Though visuals can waver over time, going from retro games to HD before returning back to chunky pixels, music must always be perfect because at the end of the day, it is music that truly defines a game. 


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