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Music as a Mood Setter in Games

Music has long been used in media to create an atmosphere and set the mood. Movies and TV shows use music to increase tension, make a scene feel more light-hearted or signal that something is about to happen. Music is also a popular choice in video games for similar reasons. Most gamers know that when a certain piece of music starts playing, it means there’s an enemy around, or a big battle is about to start.

A video game designer’s goal is for the player to become entirely immersed in the game they’re playing. For this reason, developers will always look to add the right music to captivate players and encourage them to keep playing. Retro games used simple electro beat soundtracks, but modern games use a wide variety of music, including original soundtracks and licenced music from the biggest artists in the world. Background music, according to a study, causes immersion in the game, which is a state of complete concentration and focus.

Video games aren’t the only type of game to include music, of course. Online casino games such as slots usually feature a soundtrack too. Just like with video games, this music is designed to increase immersion and signal when something important is happening, such as a bonus game. Free spins at casino games usually feature a change of music to something more upbeat and livelier, for example.

Why Does Music Affect Our Mood?

Music affects our mood and makes gaming a more enjoyable experience because of the effect it has on our brains. Each time a person listens to music, their brain responds in several different ways, affecting their mood and responses. Different types of music can have different effects, but the overall effect is clear.

If there’s one thing that distinguishes music from noise, it’s the fact that it activates many different areas of the brain. These are areas that are important in our ability to process speech, coordinate our bodies, and regulate our emotions, to name a few. The temporal lobe, the amygdala, and the hippocampus are just a few examples.

The brain’s ability to change its structure to retain patterns for behaviour, learning, and memory, among other vital activities, is referred to as neuroplasticity. Listening to music has been shown to influence neuroplasticity, creating memories, and helping us remember things more clearly. This is an area of current research, with scientists looking into how music can shape our memories and experiences.

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Neuroplasticity also helps to explain why we all have distinct musical tastes and react differently to music that brings back memories. Because our brain physically stores those memories for us, we are significantly more emotionally engaged to songs we’ve loved and listened to as children.

Dopamine is another reason why music affects our mood. This is a neurotransmitter in our brain, a special chemical that helps us to feel emotions such as happiness. Research has shown that listening to certain types of music can release dopamine in our brains, helping us to feel relaxed and happy. Therefore, so many people enjoy listening to music, although the type of music that triggers this response varies depending on the person.

The reason why music taste is so subjective is that different styles of music affect everyone differently. This is most likely linked to the kind of music we listened to while children, as this is when our brains were at their most sensitive in terms of neuroplasticity. Still, people are also more likely to enjoy music that triggers happy memories or that they associate with their favourite game or movie.

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