In most games, a soundtrack will occupy the background of the sonic environment.

Fast-paced, beat-driven music can provide additional energy and excitement in racing games. 

Orchestral, composition heavy pieces reinforce the genre in epics such as Halo and atmospheric, atonal pieces are fundamental to the dark mood of horror games such as Silent Hill.

Essentially, a good soundtrack enhances the emotion of a video game, making it a more absorbing experience. For example, tense music might bump up your adrenaline, making you more inclined to remain locked into the game. This effect on the player ultimately increases the game’s playability and popularity. 

Cult classics such as The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the Halo series, the Final Fantasy series, Zelda and even Minecraft have become synonymous with their soundtracks. 

For many games, the OST is purchasable through digital or vinyl formats. For some, the music has become so popular that dedicated symphony orchestras perform the soundtrack to paying crowds.

Overall, a good OST can make a game. In much the same way, a bad soundtrack can break one. 

Take Nintendo’s 2014 title Yoshi’s New Island, for example. The soundtrack has been named by Reddit users as the “worst video game [soundtrack] of the past decade” and Eurogamer lambasted the soundtrack as “bewilderingly poor with a series of feeble variations on a lacklustre main theme and several duff jingles”. 

Unsurprisingly, the game received extremely poor overall ratings from critics across the board.