The slot machines’ power to lure players in is a fascinating topic. How do game developers get you excited about winning money? Modern slots have progressed a long way from the early mechanical games, particularly since video technology was introduced during the mid-1970s. Developers suddenly had the tools to incorporate other elements into slots to make them more appealing such as nudges, gamble features and so on. They were also able to use music and sound effects to much greater effect, creating a backdrop to the games that made them much more fun to play. The shift towards online slot machine games has not diminished the use of music and sound effects in any way, with all modern slots benefiting from their incorporation since it makes it more exciting. Some developers have expertly leveraged society’s love of music to their advantage, creating music-themed slots that have proved to be hugely successful. Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix, Kiss and Motorhead are amongst a plethora of music acts who have been used as the theme for popular slots games. But why are music and sound effects such an important part of slots? Read on as we look at the reasons why those elements play an integral role in each game.
Triggering your emotions
According to a recent survey, over 70% of players believe that the level of ambient sound and music combined with realistic sound effects significantly increase the excitement and enjoyment of slots games. This is designed to build the illusion that playing the game is a positive experience, regardless of whether the player is winning or losing. By triggering pleasurable emotions within the player, this causes them to suspend their usual judgement traits and focus solely on the positives. By blending music and sounds with the game theme, bonus features and other game elements, developers generate what players perceive to be a positive environment. The sound effects in slots games are generally played in the ‘C’ key, which has been proven to generate feelings of positivity within humans. Other effects such as coins dropping or flashing lights all add to a general sense of accomplishment, irrespective of whether the player is actually making a profit.
Let’s see the music, sound effects and psychology
The sounds that slot machines make when they trigger a reward are in fact subtle, high-frequency tones. We built games with these tones into the gameplay to create hype, and then we backed it with sounds that triggered when players were actually rewarded. From coins dropping into a metal tray on the earliest mechanical machines to the immersive effects used in modern online slots, sounds play a hugely important role in the gameplay experience. As recently as the 1990s slots had just fifteen sound effects, but advancements in technology have completely transformed the landscape. A wide range of music and ‘winning sounds’ are used by slots developers to get a player’s competitive juices flowing and take their mind to a different place. Research has shown that the way people react to modern slots bears more than a passing resemblance to their behavior when playing video games. In some cases this results in physiological arousal, which can manifest itself as sweaty palms, faster heart rate or dilation of pupils. A recent study by researchers at the University of Alberta demonstrated the vital role played by music and sound effects in slots games. They discovered that players are much more attracted to slots that have these elements in abundance rather than quieter or silent games. Wins on slots with a vast array of music and sound effects become more memorable, thus making the game far more appealing to the player. One of the most bizarre findings from the study was the importance some players placed on music and sound effects above their actual chances of winning on the game. The researchers discovered that some players were unconcerned with the risk element on certain games if the sounds provided a pleasurable gameplay experience. Study co-author Christopher Madan, who currently works as an assistant professor at the University of Nottingham, confirmed that sounds can often be the determining factor in why someone chooses to play a slots game. “Attraction to slot machines and memory for winning can be influenced by factors other than the amount of money won on a slot machine,” said Madan. “People should be aware that their attraction and sense of winning may be biased.”
The games are now far more than just a series of reels with the traditional symbols on the front. Slots gaming has become big business, and unsurprisingly, the games have been created to exploit the weaknesses in the human mind. The use of music and sounds, whether as the game theme or sound effects, makes a massive difference to a player’s enjoyment of slots. By establishing a pleasurable environment, music and sounds have the power to suspend a player’s sense of reality while playing slot machines. On that basis, online casinos become a form of escapism – somewhere a player can forget about daily life and entertain themselves for a few hours. While for a small percentage of players this suspension of reality can become an issue in the form of addiction, most are able to see slots for what they are – a form of entertainment. Music and sound effects have clearly played an essential role in helping online slots become one of the biggest success stories of the past couple of decades.