Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Bejeweled Blitz Sound Off. Why is BB harder to play without SFX?

I'm sure other folks have addressed the issue more thoroughly, but I've definitely noticed that I obtain much higher scores "sound FX on" than "mute" whilst playing Bejeweled Blitz.

Part of it must be that I'm getting additional information that I can somehow process in parallel to the visual stimuli I'm already paying attention to. I can tell a chain reaction is continuing while I scan for the next match; I know I need to speed up as the clock is about to run out.

But I also think that part of it has to do with the rythm and flow of the game. Successes are much more visceral and exciting when combined with the solid reinforcing crashing sound; matches made "to the beat" form chains that lead to greater points.

It's hard to believe that such a quick and simple matching game has captivated me... And though I am improving over time, I still feel like it has a lot more to teach me in terms of game design and gamer goals/expectations.

On a side note, it's interesting to consider the use of sound FX on websites. If I had been asked 5 years ago, I would have hastily concluded that sound FX on websites = bad. But I'm not sure this is a universal truth anymore.

Obviously some websites are dedicated to streaming media and require sound to be useful.

Well designed sound feedback could help give user interfaces a more solid "feel" when subtle (and well designed) cues are combined with mouseover and click events. We see this in games all the time.

The basic problem is that the bad apples spoil it for the well-intentioned sound designers. I need to mostly surf with the sound turned off because I hate annoying SFX, VO, and music. I wonder if there's a browser-based solution that defaults to "no sound please" but lets you permit specific sites to broadcast sound if they've earned your trust. It's kind of like the headset for Xbox Live. Great idea when I'm in a party with friends. Never going to use it otherwise.

And, on a completely unrelated note, I'll post some more on Sonic Chronicles in the next day or so. I forced myself to play some more -- with mixed results.

1 comment:

MATHIEU said...

I totally agree that sound is informative and crucial to complement the strategy with the visual experience of Bejeweled Blitz. I get frustrated because sometimes I see a three-pair-jewel link way before i have to drag my finger across the track pad, click on the jewel and then drag it in the direction of linkage. I feel it is grossly inefficient. I wish there was a way to streamline this process. good luck.