Forget Hollywood blockbusters and smash hit pop songs, gaming is now the major part of the global entertainment industry.
From a light-hearted fun game of slingo bingo to an all-night live streaming poker tournament, playing games has become one of the world’s most popular pastimes.
It’s all about fun and is now enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds. But there’s one part of gaming that is rarely celebrated – the music.
Music in gaming
Music plays a significant part in the design and appeal of many games. It has the power to enhance the gaming experience, convey emotions, set the tone, and immerse players in the game world.
Game music can set the mood for a themed slot game or create tension leading up to a battle against zombies. It can evoke nostalgia in a retro casino game or provide a calming atmosphere in a fantasy exploration sequence.
The best soundtracks can help players become more immersed in the game. It can convey a wide range of emotions, from excitement and joy to sadness and fear.
The more complex the game the more powerful tool music is for connecting players to the narrative and characters. Changes in the music can signal a change in the game's intensity, the approach of an enemy, or the successful completion of an objective.
Iconic game music, such as the Super Mario theme or the Legend of Zelda overworld theme, is instantly recognizable. It helps with branding and marketing.
Composers and sound designers work closely with game developers to create music that aligns with the game's themes and objectives. The relationship between music and gameplay is an important aspect of game design, and the right musical score can significantly impact a game's appeal, making it a more engaging and memorable experience for players.
What is the best music for gamers to listen to?
Games might have their own built-in music but sometimes you want to create your own soundtrack. The best type of music to listen to while playing can vary greatly depending on preferences and the genre you're playing.
Different music can complement different games. Here are some expert suggestions for matching music to gaming genres:
• Epic orchestral or cinematic music with a lot of intensity and grandeur can enhance the feeling of embarking on a heroic adventure. Try the soundtrack from westerns like A Fistful of Dollars or the grandeur of The Lord of the Rings.
• High-energy music, like fast rock, metal, or electronic genres, can get your adrenaline pumping. Try something like the Beastie Boys, Metallica or Daft Punk.
• Fantasy-themed music or epic orchestral compositions can match the fantasy settings often found in RPGs.
Try classical or instrumental music to create a relaxed and immersive atmosphere during exploration and questing. Suggestions could include Elgar’s Enigma Variations or Tangerine Dream.
• Minimalistic, eerie, and atmospheric soundscapes can heighten the tension and fear in horror games. Find some dark ambient music or eerie instrumental tracks.
How about Aphex Twin, Atrium Carceri or Joy Division?
• Upbeat and energetic music, such as electronic dance, techno, or rock, can enhance the excitement of racing games.
Good fast-paced, rhythmic music that matches the tempo of the race can be motivating. That could be everything from Mozart’s 40th to AC/DC and Status Quo.
• Soothing, ambient, or instrumental music can be relaxing and conducive to focused gameplay.
Some opt for nature sounds, others for chilled background music. Try Enya, Bach or Chet Baker.
• Strategy games often benefit from instrumental music that can help you think and plan, like classical, jazz, or instrumental rock. Jeff Beck’s Blow by Blow, Eno’s Ambient or Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue are great possibles.
• Calm and instrumental music can help you focus and think clearly while solving puzzles.
Again, classical, acoustic, or ambient tracks can work. Try Tubular Bells, Segovia or Michael Hedges.
• Upbeat music that keeps you energized can be ideal for competitive gaming, whether it’s blackjack or Slingo.
For fun games like Slingo many players enjoy playing their favourite playlists. If you want to try something new try a bit of happy chart pop or seventies funk.
• Light and cheerful music or your favourite songs can add to the casual and relaxed gaming experience. More upbeat pop or sing-along acoustic can be a good fit. What about the Carpenters, the Beatles or a Tamla Motown selection?
Ultimately, the best gaming music is a personal preference. Some prefer in-game music and sound effects, while others enjoy their favourite tracks or playlists.
Experiment with genres and styles to find what enhances your gaming experience and helps you concentrate, relax or play better.
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