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Composing For Casinos: Creating The Perfect Atmosphere

posted Apr 20, 2015, 10:24 AM by Kaya Savas
Article By: Emilia Cooper

Games need good scoring to reel players in and keep them hooked

If there’s anything that the past few years of Classic FM’s Hall of Fame has taught us, it’s that video game music has certainly made its mark on the world. With famed composer Nobuo Uematsu, the man who scored the soundtracks of most of the games in the Final Fantasy series, finding his way to the Top 10 three years in a row, it’s clear that critics have become more accommodating of game music and scores.

Could the same be said for the music played at casinos and in the background of slot machines and casino games online? Unfortunately, over the years, not much has changed in the casino music industry, and it’s not without reason. Most of the time, the music in slot machines can be rather repetitive and predictable, meant to fade into the background of general casino ambient sounds, and many people are wont to think that more effort is placed into sound effects like those used to announce Jackpots than the scoring of the games themselves.

The results of a study done by Mark Griffiths and Jonathan Park, however, beg to differ. They claim that the music produced by sound machines are instrumental to the draw of the machines themselves. Daniel Lee, a renowned composer who’s worked with big names such as IGT, has said that the job of a composer for slot machines could be quite complicated. “Video games are very different, because the only thing on the line there is people’s time,” he explained to SFGate. “In a slot machine, a person may be losing, and you want to write music that helps them feel like they’re having fun so they’ll stick around.” He explains that the basic idea is to draw people in, but once they’ve started playing the game, he has to make sure that they stay engaged.

The task is more complicated than you might think. As a blog post by Intercasino explains, “Live casinos usually have a festive and pretty active atmosphere. This usually keeps the gamblers and the people inside awake,” and as such, casino can be rather noisy environments. Composers for the music of slot machines need to find a way to create engaging music that’s able to rise above the crowd, especially as hundreds of other slot machines try to do the same. One gaming floor can have hundreds of different machines, each with its own music and sound effects, and the task of rising above the “noise” can be harrowing.

With casino games now becoming even more popular, it’s not unlikely that we’ll see more people begin to look into their music and what makes them work. We may not see the scores by Daniel Lee and his peers appear on Classic FM’s Hall of Fame, but they’re certainly worth looking into.