Up For Debate - How important is music in video games to you?

Written by Stuart Thomas on Sat, May 30, 2020 6:00 PM
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Video games are an art form, I think we can all agree on that, just as much as any movie, book, or painting can be considered art. But just like movies, video games have the opportunity to pull together a variety of different elements to complete the experience, one of which is music. But how important is video game music to you? Do you prefer games with a banging drum set, or maybe a more ambient soundtrack? Or maybe you prefer games to which you can just chuck on and listen to your favorite playlist/podcast? Whatever it is, we want to know how important music in video games is to you.

Let’s take two wildly different examples. First up we have the latest DOOM games, and forgetting all the recent controversy surrounding the DOOM Eternal soundtrack, DOOM (2016)’s music was pure eardrum porn. And the best part of it was that it felt like it was propelling the over-the-top violence on screen to a whole new level, guiding you on your violent rampage. After playing DOOM for a couple hours you feel like you could punch through a wall, and you probably could if you put on Mick Gordon’s incredible shredding soundtrack.

But then we have the complete opposite end of the spectrum, games like FTL: Faster than Light which so perfectly capture the ambience of a neverending universe. Passing by stars, docking next to space stations, or fighting for your life against enemy ships, the music is a composition of your journey, and never gets in your way. Whilst it may be entirely different to DOOM’s soundtrack, both games would feel somewhat lacking without their musical counterparts.

But there are other games too, much more relaxing ones which under no grounds will require you to listen to them, you can have just the same experience either way. I find myself sometimes listening to podcasts as I drive down icy roads in SnowRunner, there’s a certain transportive beauty to these kinds of games.

So how important is music in video games to you? Is it an essential part of the experience? Or just another feature to turn off? And what kind do you prefer? A handcrafted soundtrack? Or a transportive ambience? Let’s debate!

How Important is music in video games to you?

Which one do you prefer?

Our favourite comments:

It's quite important. And weather its music or ambient noise or any kind of sound, it should fit the game and it should fit the moment. I'd say that sound is way more important than graphics for example.

psychoman

This really depends on game, for some games music can really set right atmosphere and is really enjoyable. But some also benefit from just ambient sound, which can also set certain atmosphere. For me both can work, as long as it fits the game.

Seth22087

If I turn down the music in game no game just feels the same. For me, music is almost an essential part of an experience in any live medium, games included. It's an exceptional way to pull at peoples heartstrings and subtly influence their feelings, but it only works if done right.

TheEmperor96

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12:02 Jun-01-2020

The right music in a game can add so much. Done properly, it turns a great experience into an unforgettable one, and is forever etched into your memory.

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07:02 Jun-01-2020

It was what makes or breaks a game. SWTOR; Skyrim; Metro. A keen few examples.

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23:01 May-31-2020

mass effect series. everything about the music was pure gold for me, to be honest everything about the games was perfect to me. the only game series i have ever restarted all the was back at game one to save an NPC's life in game 3. mordin solus i still miss you and your rendition of Gilbert and Sullivan to this day.

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09:05 Jun-01-2020

I feel the same

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17:22 May-31-2020

When done correctly it's just beautiful. Music always played a important role not matter the genre and the feelings you get from it just stays with you example halo series still lingers in my mind even after so many decades.

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17:23 May-31-2020

Most recent game is divinity original sin 2 again with and amazing soundtrack

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16:04 May-31-2020

It's more important that graphics.

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15:35 May-31-2020

Remember how badass you felt when "BFG Division" started playing in DOOM 2016? Yeah, that's important.
Plenty of great examples everywhere, showing how important and memorable the scores can be.


GTA VC/SA/IV soundtrack, even ignoring the radio stations themselves, will forever be burnt into my brain :)

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20:07 May-31-2020

Man that rising beat as you slowly approach the heart spawner thingy followed by a scream and explosion of heavy metal is a thing of absolute brilliance. Even though I really love Doom Eternal, the music in that game is a real step down from the 2016 and is one of my biggest gripes with that game overall. Its still good, but 2016 definitely did it way better.

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14:51 May-31-2020

I didn't think it was that important before Nier Automata.
Nevertheless, I still don't think its critical. Like a good game and a good story will still be a great game even if the music is mediocre. But great music cant save a bad game. Although its probably unlikely a game with great music will be bad.

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14:11 May-31-2020

I'd probably miss it if it was gone, but I don't really pay much attention to it. I don't think I'd ever listen to a game soundtrack out of game.

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14:08 May-31-2020

Game Music is very important, as it gives credence and depth to a scene/moment, elevating beyond a button mash-pit. Im surprised the author forgot Dark Souls, a hack n slash that is dramatically elevated by both sounds and music to new heights and a prime example of how and why games can be considered as art. The boss fights of Freya/Ariandel or Gywn or Gael or even the Soul of Cinder fight, each made you feel something through the music alone, inspite of amped difficulty

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14:13 May-31-2020

hell even the White Phosporous scene in Spec Ops the Line uses the background Score to really hit home the atrocity and horror the player just committed. and obviously most of every indie game uses game music to elevate the game such as to compete with AAA titles like Celeste, Darkest Dungeon, Outer Wilds.Even the best moments in juggernauts like Assasins Creed, Need For Speed, Fallout or Skyrim are attached to the music in-game

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13:31 May-31-2020

Well, lets put it this way. Lyrics of a song is understadable in certain meaning, whereas, music forces you to find meaning. When playing games especially like Skyrim or witcher for example, the music sets the right tone for whatever going around and just makes it more immersive. So yeah, music is very important in games in my opinion.

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08:46 May-31-2020

it's rare that games include music in the genre i like so i don't really care for ir

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08:18 May-31-2020

Square Enix, Sega, Nintendo and Atlus learned the importance of music and sound in general, long time ago

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07:52 May-31-2020

Decent to good music makes a game nice. Bad music just makes the game look cheap. Amazing music makes the game atmospheric and memorable.

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15:54 May-31-2020

Well said.

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06:18 May-31-2020

Its >>> very important

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03:51 May-31-2020

It's super important. I'm playing the Wipeout HD on RPCS3 at the mo and the music is central to this series. This time around, i would say half the tracks do the franchise justice, which is saying something, but the other half grate on my ears. It's so annoying. I must say, though, that those less smooth tracks do suit the more violent and hectic style of HD. I can't remember the last game i laughed out loud this much after being blown to pieces in a storm of bombs, missiles, and rockets.

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03:34 May-31-2020

Extremely important

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03:13 May-31-2020

I havent noticed music being very important till i played RDR2, boy is that a complete musical masterpiece, the end touched me really hard with the music i started crying, and i dont think i have ever cried because of a videogame, well i have cried of laughter with the buggy mess 2k20 was at release and fallout 76 fail

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02:48 May-31-2020

It's very difficult to choose between ambient and music. To me, story is most important and music combined with ambient makes the experience a whole.

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02:23 May-31-2020

Very important, I remember the first time finishing CoD 4: Modern Warfare and Modern Warfare 2, the credits music at the museum grabbed me, coupled with the reminders of characters in each level, great way to end a fast-paced game with a reflection.

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00:53 May-31-2020

Very but it depends on the game, Uncharted 2 and 3 had incredible music, original metal gear solid and shenmue dude as well.

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