It takes a lot of components to make a successful video game: the environment, the gameplay, the story and even the way grass looks as you walk through it! But a big component that is needed in any and all video games, is music.
Music in video games can set or completely overhaul the tone of a level in a mere instant, it can change a scene from that of a light-hearted walk around to a dark, gritty spectacle. What I’m here to bring light to however, is the effect it can have on a person.
Speaking of music generally, research has shown that listening to music creates an increase of dopamine in the brain which in turn makes you happier. People in happier, more upbeat, moods tend to be more motivated and driven to finish tasks. Research has also shown that listening to music can also make seemingly monotonous and tedious tasks more fun to do.
One key aspect of music in video games is that it is never meant to overwhelm or distract the player, it is meant to exist in the background as you go about finishing that quest you’ve been embarking on, or slaying the dragon you’ve been training for days to defeat. Video game music has the ability to inspire a ‘get it done’ attitude without alerting the player to its presence. Which not a lot of forms of music can do.
They are specifically designed to help assist progress and reflect the mood of the situation the player is presented with. Take action-adventure parkour games Mirror’s Edge and Mirror’s Edge Catalyst, developed by EA VICE. The developer enlisted the help of Swedish electronic musician Magnus Birgersson, also known as Solar Fields to create the soundtrack for the game. His distinctive style of music is what changed the Mirror’s Edge games from a run-of-the-mill platformer into a cut above all other platformers (and games as a whole) available on the market.
How could such a thing be extrapolated to an ASE event? Imagine having a scenario where you need the music to truly reflect the work that is being done by the participants. Imagine you have 15 minutes left and you want to indicate the growing need to get work done in a short space of time. Imagine wanting to create a calm atmosphere while participants are having a discussion about the work to come.
In all of these scenarios, there is a video game soundtrack that has that covered. Whether you want the grand orchestra that created the music to Skyrim to set the high intensity mood of a task, or slow, relaxed electronic vibes of Mirror’s Edge to reflect the quiet calm discussions being had amongst groups. There’s a soundtrack to cater to every need. We just need to look!