Can Music Make the Game?

With as many games as I’ve played, one might think that I’d be more into gaming soundtracks than I am. Which is to say I’m not at all into gaming soundtracks. At least not to the point that I have them filling up my iPod. But the soundtrack to Fable breaks that mold. And as I round up work on Fable Anniversary, I’m reminded why it’s one of the only game soundtracks that I do own. More on this and other musical recollections are here in this United We Game post.


We all know how important music is in video games. Sometimes, a game’s soundtrack is a character in and of itself, bringing life to a game in ways that a character can’t. Sometimes, a game’s soundtrack plays a supporting role by imbuing scenes with emotion, being a presence without overwhelming the action. Sometimes, a game’s soundtrack can be nearly nonexistent, popping up only when absolutely necessary in order to make the players react. And, no doubt, there are games without soundtracks. When done right, the lack of music plays a key role in forcing the player to focus on the game itself. When done wrong, lack of music in a game can make it feel hollow and incomplete.

So a game and its soundtrack often go hand in hand. We play great games and are rewarded by great soundtracks. But could it ever be that the soundtrack itself is the…

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    • If that’s what you like, then listen all you want! Personally, I could put the Super Metroid theme on repeat and be perfectly happy to never listen to another game soundtrack.


  1. Yes. So much yes.

    And even later, if you haven’t played a game in a while, if you hear a song from that game, it can transport you back to memories of the time when you did play the game. Sometimes a song inspires me to pick a game back up, even.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s an excellent point! Some gaming music is powerful enough to invoke that need to revisit the game in question. And sometimes, returning to the music is even more of a draw than the actual game. Music works in mysteriously happy ways! 🙂


  2. Great post again! I want to support but don’t want to repeat myself 🙂 but I absolutely agree with you that soundtracks and music can have a profound effect on our experience and can subtly manipulate how we feel (and even how we act) in games!

    Liked by 1 person

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