Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Importance of Sound

     Sound design is something a lot of people take no notice of. Whether it be the soundtrack accompanying your epic journey through space, or the sound that is made when chipping away at a stone block. The eerie sound of disembodied footsteps following you down a narrow hallway, or a sinister voice, sounds can make or break a game.

     Video game sound is more important than you may think when it comes to ambiance. Setting a mood is a big part of devs portraying what they want. Playing a horror game without sound is completely different. No haunting groans, no creaky doors, or no squeaky floorboards would take a lot of the panic out of the game. PT is a good example of a game that utilizes sound in a good way, the baby crying, the footsteps, the slightly-staticky radio playing, the creaking doors. The sounds come together in a way that helps set a tone, it develops a creepy atmosphere. The music in a game can also have a huge effect on the player, a great musical accompaniment to an epic boss battle, again, can help set a mood. It can be associative too, just hearing the music of Zelda: Ocarina of Time brings back memories, whether it be working my way through the Lost Woods, or grabbing the Master Sword for the first time. Narration and voice acting also falls under sound design. Bad voice acting can ruin the immersion of a game (unless, of course, the voice acting is so laughably bad that it is just something to make fun of, in which case bad voice acting is good) while good voice acting can pull you into a story and help the experience. Take Bastion, for example, the narration of that game is genuinely cool, it helps set a mood that couldn't be reached with text-based dialog.

     Sound design helps a lot of games set a mood and establish an atmosphere, whether it be via music, ambient noises, or voice acting, sound can contribute a lot to a video game.

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