Posted July 10, 2018 by Mike Mineo in Features

The Influence Of Music and Sound In Slot Games

Music and Sound in video games play a major role, they assist the interactive process and immerse the player in approximating them to a more realistic experience, needless to say that it aids the process of comprehension in several games as to what you should do, to advice you or aid you or even warn you of enemies in action games for example, or makes the process of reading more pleasuring in visual novels and add momentum or context to the scenario or simply to make it more fun or entertaining. As there are many categories and genres in games, we will discuss the importance of music and sound effects in online slot games.

First of all, Slot games / slot machines are one of the oldest luck-based games out there, they have evolved with technology, the passing of time and the introduction of gambling sites worldwide such as casinos in hotels, plazas, restaurants, malls, entertainment centers and stand alone machines in the streets or small stores, the evolution of these games in other platforms is astounding.

Let’s be honest, have all tried gambling and luck-based games from time to time, to pass the time or give our luck a shot and make some extra cash out of spare change even, whether it is on your phone while you wait in line at the bank through a mobile app, in your free time at your office or even at home, in an online platform with real or free money, the real pleasure within these games is the satisfaction of victory and the sense of luck that surrounds this game genre, it is by no means an exaggeration that the internet and mobile telephony have given slot games a boost in reach and platforming, including recently VR (Virtual Reality) platforms, but how many of us take in consideration that this games would not be any fun or just plain boring without sound design and appropriate thematic music or no sound at all? And why would that be now that you are considering it? let’s analyze this in more detail.

As far as sound design goes, its purpose is to make the experience of virtual games more realistic or exciting, for online slot games we require bright vivid online slots sounds, such as coins raining from the sky, the lever being pulled and the slots rolling like crazy and slowly stopping, there is where we have momentum, it enhances the experience, building up a spontaneous anxiety to see the final result.

As for music production or melody we have two categories:

1.- Thematic Music: Many slot machine games are based in a theme, such as Egypt, Irish, Oriental or Sci – Fi. Animals, or historical moments (or even important characters throughout history), with a variation in visual design, color theme and the most important here, the music itself, let us take for example a Sci – Fi themed Slot Machine, the music itself should contain a set of alien or robotic sounds, extraterrestrial instrumentation that can be easily identifiable for the player through pop culture reference we have to keep in mind that the rule is to keep it fun and simple to avoid making the listener tired and avoid the game or even uninstall or never visit the platform again.

2.- Immersive Music: This one is a bit more simple as it has the same purpose of keeping things fun and random, it does not go by any guidelines of theme, even so it plays the same role as to be very light to listen to, accompanying properly the sound design of the game and try to simulate the classic Slot Machine as close as possible and give that sense of thrill and excitement to the player.

And you may be asking at this point “Is sound such a key factor in a mostly visual game,with very little interaction and/or simple principles?”, let us explain further on a few examples of emotions and reactions this game should generate and aid the players flow with it:

3.- Enjoyment: When have you watched a movie without sound? Guessing the dialogue and an action packed scene? It just all looks like a jumble of randomly running around characters, the comprehension of the dialogue is as valuable as the comprehension of sound, sound itself is a language and we understand it perfectly! Of course that if you play a Farm-Themed Slot game you expect to hear a fresh sound of chickens and cows running around and even a banjo or a beer bottle whistle, it can make it fun, it can make it exhilarating or pull a good laugh out of you, and of course that makes the player feel a sense of comfort for a while.

4.- Anxiousness: This is more focused in the sound design interaction levered by the music, the anxiety builds the moment you pull the lever, if the sound is realistic it aids the player to take it a step further in seriousness, as for the slots rolling you might have a thematic based sound but even so visually it blends together and forms a realistic fun picture.

5.- Relaxation: It’s a game! don’t forget that! The most important thing is to have fun and keep going at it! Games help relax the mind and disconnect you for a while from reality, why do it only visually pleasing when you have the whole spectrum of sound to help you take it a level up!

And last but not the least although it is not an emotion but a key factor is:

6.- Momentum: Momentum is the final result, the culmination of victory or loss, sound plays a major role! Of course a victory calls for a never ending rain of coins and blasting sounds! And loss has to be very subtle with the sound influence to keep the player intrigued in trying again and feel the thrill to keep going.

Knowing this, we might see the game as simple, but all betting and luck-based and probability-based games require to play with psychological and emotional factors with the sole purpose of entertainment and fun, this kind of games require thorough examination by testers and even further feedback from their audience.

Not all video game developers or designers take these key factor of sound and music in consideration, many assume that the psychological influence of sound in gambling is non-existent or not really that important and focus a 90.0% in all visual aspects, many slot games are not properly tested or certified and cease to reach an audience eventually, as for others take a proper testing period or feedback stage to improve it as far as they can, as for an example of properly designed and tested Slot Machine platform there is a good example, Money Reels, a platform 500+ variation of Slot Machine games with very well designed sound and music that goes almost perfect with it, there are a few other sites that have all these requisites and can be found online with a simple search, all of these sites have their certifications of legal terms, testing and approval usually at the bottom of the website or announce them before you enter the site to prove their legitimacy.

It is undoubtedly that Slot Machine games have come a far way in history and time and have adapted impressively to the modern era, acquiring an amount of new requisites to be built in the digital world properly, knowing all this, wouldn’t it be fun to go test it out by yourself? See how much sound influences in the process of fun and entertainment? We believe it’s a test worth trying!

Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound. I used to write for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine. Send your music to [email protected].