Video games have changed a lot since the days of Pac-Man, Pong, Super Mario Bros, and the Megaman/Rockman early years. Many video games worlds include realistic and fantastic worlds of amazing quality, and sound design is a big part of some of the most popular and immersive game worlds. To understand what you may be missing, here are a few ways that sound design and a powerful home audio setup can change the way you enjoy games.
What Is Immersion?
In many of the newer video game console (PS4, Xbox One, Wii U, and Nintendo Switch) and computer games, the term immersion is thrown around as a quality that dedicated gamers seek. Immersion in this case means having a deep, mental involvement with the game as if you were brought into the game world itself.
Usually, immersion is discussed as a wish, or brought up when something breaks immersion. It's a subjective term, as some people are able to be pulled into a mindset where they feel like they're in the game world and relaxed by the digital flora and fauna as if they stepped into the real life outdoors on an alien world.
Breaking immersion can be just as subjective. If you're playing a game such as Skyrim, where magical spells and swords are being used, a keyboard and mouse should be immersion-breaking by some. Thankfully, the keyboard and mouse combo can become like an extension of the human body and forgotten about as tools, meaning that the major immersion-breaking issues are how the game reacts to a player's input.
There are many ways to get immersion wrong, and most ways involve a lack of consistency without how the game should react. Another way to lack immersion is to lack a proper soundscape that delivers the game world to your ears as well as your eyes.
Sound Systems For Deeper Immersion
There are many games that make sound design a full, dedicated science with as much effort (if not more) given to sound as the programming, graphic design, networking, and social aspects.
Unfortunately, these sound benefits can be completely lost if the player doesn't have the right equipment. High-definition televisions are often sought after for their visuals, but speaker systems are sometimes ignored because most players don't know what the game has to offer.
Game audio is different from popular music. Although many musicians take advantage of 5.1, 7.1, and other surround sound technologies that put specific sounds to specific speakers at different volumes, it isn't something that many people understand or are raised to appreciate. After all, it costs money to buy surround sound systems, and getting the speaker placement just right take audio engineering expertise.
You can, however, get a "close enough" sound experience by placing the speakers roughly around your gaming area. Whether it's a computer chair or a sofa, placing speakers in their general labeled areas such as front-left/right, rear-left/right and center can help you hear a dragon roar above the skies to your right, or the rustling of an enemy in the bushes behind your left leg.
Speak to a home theater system professional to discuss the right sound system for your games, and ask for a professional installation to get a great, immersive soundscape. Visit a site like http://www.atechels.com for more information.