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Published April 16, 2018

It has been of said of music that listeners may not know much about music, but they do know what they like. When listening to music, our brains responds with emotion, and that is just as true in video games as in any other medium. A game’s soundtrack can make or break the experience. So, let’s take a look at a couple of instances in games on Nintendo consoles where music made the difference in the experience.

The first, and most recent example we will discuss today, is the opening scene of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. This iconic moment in gaming begins in silence, nothing but the voice of Zelda echoing in your mind. After a couple minutes of silence in a dark cave, the player is blessed with a beautiful melody as a panoramic view of all Hyrule is shown. The use of music and silence in this scene adds to the feeling of the moment. With out it, Link seeing all of Hyrule would have had a much smaller impact, leaving the player feel like that view is nothing special.

Chrono Trigger is one of the best JRPGs of all time. It achieved this feat by having solid gameplay, story, and overall presentation. But, beyond that, the music is amazing. It adds so much to story moments that otherwise would have felt less impactful or lame even. The perfect example of this take place in 2300 AD, when Crono and friends figure out why the world had been destroyed. The music in this moment feels the player with despair and then hope. Such a disparity in feeling creates one of the most powerful moments video games have to offer.

Music can change the moods and feelings the player experiences to fit the feelings that the story is trying to convey. Next time you are playing your favorite game, pay attention to what you are listening to. It just may be the reason you like that game so much.

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