When Melody and Graphics Converge: Background Music Congruency as Predictor of Game Enjoyment

Yihan Jia


This study investigates how background music congruency affects the overall gaming enjoyment using the framework of the Congruence-Association Model. An experiment with three music conditions (congruent music/ incongruent music/ no music) was conducted using the game Life is Strange. With N = 105 participants, the results show that compared to having no music or incongruent background music, having congruent background music during gameplay resulted in higher levels of identification with the game character and transportation into the game, which then translated into greater gaming enjoyment. However, the difference between having incongruent music and no music was not well established. The study contributes to the lack of literature linking game music and gaming experience. Future studies should consider examining other cognitive and affective factors that impact the effect of music congruency on the gaming experience. Implications for the gaming industry are also discussed.