Has Listening to a Soundtrack Before Playing a Game Affected your Enjoyment

I am very excited about NieR: Replicant ver.1.22… coming out in a few weeks. I have never actually played the original NieR (outside of the first hour or so) but I have been familiar with the music and listen to the Gestalt/Replicant soundtrack all the time. I‘d say it’s probably my favorite game soundtrack ever honestly. Music is a very emotional thing to me, as it easily associates with memories. Listening to the NieR soundtrack makes me feel nostalgic for a game I haven‘t even played. I can’t quite put my finger on it… Currently, I‘ve been wondering if this emotional connection I’ve formed with the music will deepen my experience with the game. Sometimes hearing a familiar song at the perfect moment gives me chills, so I look forward to having those experiences when the game launches.

Have you ever experienced a game after being familiar with the soundtrack? What game, and what kind of effect did it have on you?

[“Has Listening to a Soundtrack Before Playing the Game Affected your Enjoyment”,“Has Listening to a Soundtrack Before Playing a Game Affected your Enjoyment”]

Link‘s Awakening [remake] OST had me in tears, listening a few months before playing it. The music didn’t hit the same during gameplay, but that's alright. This reminds me of another subject, which is that game demos have ruined my enjoyment of full games on multiple occasions where I was very hyped for the release, but the demo spoiled my apatite.

Was thinking about this (as I'm sure others were) while posting in the Yasunori Mitsuda Fan Club. In cases of my listening to a soundtrack before playing the game, I have usually not gone on to actually play the game.

_Except_ with Nier! I was part of some Facebook gaming group (lol) in which someone posted [a song I'm sure you've heard](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCKEXPXtrEU), which I liked so much I went and bought the game. It didn't quite live up to what I was expecting based on the music, although I was 15 then and didn't know at all the kind of game I was getting into. I was expecting it to be the greatest video game ever made, which according to my silly brain at the time would have been Final Fantasy VI + Metal Gear Solid.

Wait, actually Shadow of the Colossus was another one. That did live up to the hype I created for myself, but I still wouldn't recommend listening to the soundtrack first. Generally I avoid listening to music before playing the game specifically because I am afraid of it not hitting right if I know what to expect. Expectations are the killer.


Misc. thoughts:

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    Final Fantasy XV — [All](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJF3JDK7PL0) the [pieces](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LC7r5lLNizc) in the [trailers](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zxE_eZKIUyE) for this were better than the game they went on to be featured in. Still pleasantly surprised by some tracks in the final game, though.

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    Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory — Haven't played this or any of the pre-(or post-)Conviction Splinter Cell games for more than a few minutes. To me "Chaos Theory" is just the name of a [cool album by Amon Tobin](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u97vq-6tHXA&t=305s).

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    Doom 2016 etc. — I heard nothing but good things about the music in the Doom reboot before playing it. I listened to it before playing and didn't think much of it, but when I got around to playing it I enjoyed it a lot more. This gets into dynamic soundtrack design, a relatively new (I think? past ten years is what I'm thinking, but I dunno some Turbografx game probably has dynamic music for all I know) element of game soundtracks. Doom, Nier Automata, Portal 2, new Deus Ex, many more (even Chaos Theory, actually) aren't the same when listened to as fixed pieces of music. Sometimes the music is good in isolation, but other times you have to play the games to get what's interesting about the music.

  • EDIT Having said all this I am _still_ listening to Nier and its [remix](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXqRWkjLtBs) [albums](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cURX25GB9hw) ten years later, and am preparing to play the original and the remake at some point within the next year. This music is all unbelievably familiar to me now. In a weird sort of paradox it may actually surprise me now to hear it in context (haven't played it in 9 years). I'm avoiding listening to the remake's retooled songs until I play it, though!

    Whoooboy this is a philosophical question I struggled with circa 1999, especially when all those SquareSoft games came out so much earlier in Japan and some Japanese saint would just rip and host the mp3s. Sorry to Oematsu and Mitsuda for being a college student. I did make it right!

    Being overly familiar with a soundtrack before playing the game was always a bit of an out-of-body experience. Your imagination has to very swiftly recontextualize what it knows when it comes crashing into reality.

    “The One Who Bears Fangs at God” is my main offender here. It’s the wild final end boss theme to _Xenogears_ to this day in my brain when in reality, it doesn’t even get enough airtime to loop once!

    Finally, I’d like the forum to know while typing this post, my phone auto-suggested true correct styling of SquareSoft and the word _Xenogears_. I am a hit at parties.

    I was super hyped for Super Smash Bros Brawl in the few months or so before it came out, and I‘d regularly check out the website for the game where they were always posting updates. One of the things they would post were samples of the game’s soundtrack. We still had dial-up at the time, so I remember waiting like 30 minutes for a 1 minute mp3 to download. The uploads were always accompanied by a little description, written by Sakurai I think. This experience helped me appreciate the game more, as I paid way more attention to the soundtrack than I otherwise would have. There‘s a lot of good tracks in Brawl, even if they’re all from other games. I spent a lot of time in the game‘s soundtest mode listening to all of these songs from games I hadn’t played. Notably Brawl was my first experience with the amazing theme of Solid Snake.

    Just this week I had this experience. I was listening to a PSX playlist on youtube and the songs that really stuck out to me were from R4 Ridge Racer Type 4. So I ended up listening to the R4 Ridge Racer Type 4 soundtrack a few times over the next couple of days and last night I decided I needed to actually try out the game.

    I don't think pre-listening to the ost had much of an effect on my enjoyment. I really liked the game so maybe it lived up to my expectations. But i also found that in game I never would hear the whole song either becuase it was cut off as I exited the menu or because I was too focused on the racing. The ending music did make me question who the Ridge Racer was, I ultimately decided that the player character (me) is the Ridge Racer. I'm the Ridge Racer.

    listening to falcom synth soundtracks have 100% primed me to love their old ass games yes

    @recorder#25863 I remember doing this too! Guess I used to preview soundtracks more often. I spent enough time on that website that I sort of spoiled the surprise for myself of actually playing the game, and so I associate hearing the music in advance with that feeling. But the encyclopedic/production information on that site was cool. And agreed, those tracks are pretty good.

    checking out game soundtracks has been a good strategy for just figuring out the games that i want to play, and also…the games that i don‘t want to play. for whatever reason music that i perceive to be boring is like the number one turn-off for me. but i’ll stick with a mechanically boring game if the music is good. and if both are on point………oh BABY!!

    basically i need melody and i cannot abide tunes that are directionless, even if it's on purpose to establish a certain mood. in checking out a genesis playlist yesterday i'm now very interested in Ys III and am never going to play Beyond Oasis

    Entrain Odyssey IV. At the time I was buying every 3DS rpg (and before that PSP rpg) that had character creation. I bought the collector’s edition for some reason? Even though I had never played a game in that series before. I think I just liked the box and the art, and also I vaguely remembered seeing ads for the first to games in the Shonen Jump mags I had as a kid.

    Anyway, it came with the soundtrack and I put the CD in my car to listen to on the way to work and school and my god was it beautiful.

    Every single track is anthemic and gorgeous, while playing strongly on the conventions of RPG and anime soundtracks so it evokes these real feelings of adventure and just having a grand time with a rag tag group of adventures who are all good homies. Had I only or first been exposed to those songs through my little 3DS speakers muffled with game sfx, I don’t think it would have resonated so heavily with me. But it was already so impactful that when I booted the game up for my first sesh, I was really swayed into believing in this whole grand adventure with non-speaking stock character templates that to me now had all the personality of a Tales game ensemble cast because soundtrack was able to guide and inspire my imagination so well. Damn, I really do love that game.

    @jaws#25996That‘s the Yuzo Koshiro magic, baby! I haven’t played any of them all the way through but I put a bunch of time into 3 and 5 and the soundtracks are always superb.

    Aside - the _Etrian Odyssey_ are very "Insert Credit games". A hardcore genre with new and modernized quality of life updates that simultaneously consciously rejects implementing certain features in the name of invoking a mood or overcoming an obstacle.

    i think the soundtrack for a game sells me on the game more than anything else nowadays (i do not recommend this). the soundtrack for a game normally becomes the highlight of the game for me and hey, if the game fails in every category, the soundtrack at least saves it (hopefully)


    @“tapevulture”#p25969 checking out a genesis playlist yesterday i’m now very interested in Ys III and am never going to play Beyond Oasis

    No way man, I would much rather listen to Oasis than Genesis...
    Sorry, that's my bad joke.

    What a niche thread, but I knew it was either mentioned on the show or the forum!
    I'm playing Super Mario 3D World for the first time. After playing Odyssey I started listening to the soundtrack while working, and eventually got into the 3D World / Bowser's Fury OST. It rules!
    It is a weird feeling to load up a level and think, hey it's that banger!
    Can't compare the feeling to more weighty emotional soundtracks discussed here, but it just makes me a little more excited to play certain levels when I recognize it as a fav song. I'm gonna go bonkers when I get to Hands On Hall.


    I totally remember this!! I would get home from work and put on the rocked out metroid theme they had on repeat for days after they posted it.

    Around the time Sonic Adventure was coming out in Japan, I was following the development and release pretty closely. A Sonic fan site around then was posting Japanese commercials for the game which I would download and watch with realplayer. As a 12 year old who was discovering my taste in music, hearing that the soundtrack was gonna be mostly hard rock stuff got me so much more excited than I already was for that darn game. It really couldn't have happened at a better time in my life.