37 minutes ago
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
The Sounds of Gaming
I’ve seen other bloggers mention music at their gaming sessions. Sometimes it just seemed to be something that was playing in the background, other times people choose it as a sort of game soundtrack. I don’t know how widespread either of these practices are; Neither have been common in groups I’ve played in, but I don’t know that I have a big sample.
It would seem to me that music might break immersion in the game at times--at least popular music--as it might have very different associations for a person or take them out of the game at hand. Then again, immersion isn’t terribly important to all people or all games at all times--and it’s not like plenty of other distractions don’t present themselves that have no possiblity of game enhancement.
I can think of one game I ran where we did use music and sound effects where it very much enhanced everyone’s enjoyment. In a FASA Star Trek game back in the nineties (when dinosaurs ruled the Earth) we approached the sessions as if they were episodes of a Trek TV series. We would begin with a teaser or cold open to sort of get the adventure started, then my friend whose house we played at would cue up the theme song on his computer. Periodically, we’d also interject appropriate turbolift, transporter, or computer sounds--not always, but enough to remind us of the sensory environment of the world we were trying to emulate.
Those touches and a group of players who were all knowledgeable Star Trek fans made that the best media property based game I’ve played. I’ve dabbled in a fair number of licensed rpgs over the years, but none of the have ever come close.
So what about you guys: experiences good, bad, or otherwise with music and sound effects in games?