I started thinking about this when I saw a forum topic discussing the task of grinding. Grinding can apply to any game where levels and skills are used, but there are those who enjoy grinding, and those who really can’t stand the mere thought of it. Personally? I love grinding. There are few things I enjoy more than spending hours on a rainy day beefing up my favourite characters for an epic battle. I know, it’s really sad, but I’ve always loved it.
I think what you are forced to listen to whilst carrying out said grinding is very important though. This all depends on personal music preference of course, but it does help if there is a catchy little ditty going on in the background to keep you amused. No one enjoys a 30 second loop of some dismall song. That kind of thing makes you want to give up the grind entirely.
For sake of argument, I know when I’m grinding on World of Warcraft, the last thing I want to do is just sit there and listen to the chirping of wildlife and other characters nattering away, so I stick on a bit of Reel Big Fish or New Found Glory to soothe the silence and give me the incentive to just get on with it. Having a bit of a sing song and a bop around really takes away the monotony of the dull task, and actually gives me the energy to go on for hours if my playlist is long enough.
Some games don’t require muting so you can add your own personal soundtrack though. I’ve spent a lot of time playing Persona 3 in my desire for completion recently. This is one of the few games that I can actually play without putting on some of my own music. The battle music is certainly not to everyone’s taste, but you would be surprised how often you can listen to this and not get bored. Even Fallout 3 never bored me when I was grinding or just wandering around. Galaxy News Radio is one of the best things I have ever heard. Who needs the stations on GTA when you have 1920’s and beyond tunes to perform headshots along to? They may have been limited, but they really did get into your head, in a good way.
There are definitely times when your own music is not better than in game music though. I can confirm through a recent incident that The Streets is not a good choice of background music when grinding. Although it would have been nice to have had anything other than this to listen to, repeatedly, for every single boss battle in Blue Dragon.