Pelimusiikin käyttötavat ja funktiot suomalaisten arjessa
The uses and functions of game music in everyday life
The premise of this article is the idea that games and their music do not only relate to playing, but are also part of people’s musical practices outside of the actual gameplay situation. However, so far very little research has been done on the meanings of game music outside of gaming. In this study, we aim for a broader understanding of people’s relationship with game music by examining how game music is used outside of the context of gaming. The empirical analysis of the article is based on two datasets collected in Finland. The primary material consists of written stories (N=183) about personally meaningful game music memories. In addition to this, we use survey data (N=785) concerning people’s activities with their favorite game music outside of the game. In the study, we investigated (1) how varied and common the activities of using game music are, (2) what different types of game music use can be discerned, and (3) what psychological functions of game music are disclosed in the personal stories.
According to both datasets, musical practices with game music in people’s everyday life were common. The ways of using game music were also diverse. In general, digital games appear to be a viable resource for engaging in musical practices and acquiring musical experiences. Through cluster analysis, three different types of game music use were outlined from the survey answers: performing/reproducing, reminiscing and appreciating the game experience, which refer to preferences for interacting with game music. Regarding the functions of music, the results imply that the functions of music documented in music psychology literature (mood management, aesthetic pleasure, self-enhancement, memory connection, social bonding) are well suited for analyzing the personal meanings of game music. In all, from the results, it can be established that the aesthetic value of game music for people, at least to some extent, seems to be conditioned by the gameplay experience, even if the music is separated from gaming.