How music is used in games and films to influence mood

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Even though we go to the cinema to see a story unfold before our eyes or select a game to have some hands-on fun in another world, when deployed well, music can have a huge influence on our entertainment experience. We may not focus on it while shooting aliens, spinning for symbols, or watching some of Hollywood’s finest perform acts of heroism, but the music that plays throughout movies and games has a huge influence on our mood.

There have been many superb uses of music tracks and scores throughout the history of gaming and cinema, but here we’ll be touching on some of the more interesting ways in which music has been used to influence our mood.

Book of Dead: changing the tempo of Egyptian tunes

Showing just how important music is to all forms of gaming, even online slot games can deliver a very real mood-influencing soundtrack to make the gameplay more exciting. In theory, the only purpose of a slot game is to win money, so while the imagery, gameplay, and music are enticing, it doesn’t change the player’s experience too much. However, across the world of online slot gaming, it’s clear to see which slots have decided to lean into other elements outside of the remit of money-winning, as they feature prominently as popular games at sites like

Book of Dead is one of the most popular slots in the world because it adds an extra level of excitement and anticipation through its soundtrack. It begins with moderate-paced, almost calm but still exotic Egyptian music to immerse players in the theme. But then, when the free spins are in play, it all gets a lot more upbeat and exciting to ramp up the anticipation and get the adrenaline pumping.

Gears of War 3: impact of one well-chosen track

Gears of War 3 Dom's Death Cutscene1080p

The one-minute trailer for Gears of War 3 that eerily plays Gary Jules’ Mad World is as haunting as it is captivating and memorable. The track has become so synonymous with the game, in fact, that reported that Gears of War went back to its roots by using the song for the campaign of its re-release.

As powerful as the trailer was, the actual implementation of Mad World in the game was incredible. After three huge storylines in the Gears of War series, the protagonist’s best friend decides to sacrifice himself, to which all of the gunfire and explosions take a back seat to the instrumental version of Mad World. Due to it being in stark contrast to the fast-paced, gore-ridden, kill-everything-in-sight style of play, Mad World truly brought home the scene as very meaningful.

Avengers: Endgame: the team over the individual stars

Alan Silvestri - Portals (From "Avengers: Endgame"/Audio Only)

Avengers: Endgame builds up to a huge moment where Captain America squares off with Thanos, with the fate of the universe on the line. The score changes from a sole bugle playing, showing how it’s one versus all odds, but as other heroes join the fight, the music swells and becomes more uplifting. Then, the score switches again to a focused and driven beat to be rid of the joy and focus on the task at hand.

Speaking to Avengers composer Alan Silvestri, reports that the score was going to focus on each returning hero as they all have their own tracks. Instead, they went with an overview approach, changing keys to make it bigger and grander as the score plays through the iconic scene. Then, once Cap delivers the “Avengers, assemble” line, Silvestri goes in full bore with the original Avengers theme, creating a feeling of a collective team of superheroes rather than individuals. 

These interesting choices along the way have greatly influenced the mood of the viewer and player, making important moments even more powerful. 

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