Sound in Games

This past Wednesday we discussed the use of sound in games, from soundtracks to sound effects. The focus was on games that used noises instead of words to allow players to communicate, such as Journey and Don’t Starve.


Journey allows players to communicate only through randomized chirping sounds. The jury is out on whether this is the most adorable form of player interaction.

Was the lack of direct player communication a good or bad game design decision? Most felt that it helped endear players to the game by creating a sense of uniqueness, while some thought that it made it somewhat frustrating in a multiplayer setting.

Soundtracks were also discussed, as well as their significance to setting a certain ambiance in a game. The Elder Scrolls series by Bethesda was a popular example of how a soundtrack could help change the tone of a game. What is it about the Morrowind soundtrack that makes it sound more fantastical, while the Skyrim soundtrack brings to mind an epic adventure, considering that many of the songs are the same? Compare for yourself:

Morrowind Theme:

Skyrim Theme:

Other topics covered were Deep Sea, a game that removes your sense of sight and forces you to rely on the sounds you hear to navigate through the terrain, and fan-made, game-centered music. For anyone interested in fan-made music, check out Miracle of Sound on youtube ( for some interesting tributes to popular video games.


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