Why You Should Listen to Video Game Soundtracks at Work (Updated)

Aiva Strelca 11.04.2016

Even if you’re not a gamer, there’s a good reason why you should listen to the music that plays in the background of video games:

It can improve your focus, motivation, and productivity.

Scientific research confirms that music stimulates the brain. Listening to music helps pass the time at work and  it keeps people energized and motivated. One study even found that nine out of 10 workers perform better when listening to music.

Video game soundtracks are especially good at keeping up motivation – here’s why.

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What does listening to music do to your brain?

There is a plethora of research out there that examines how and why music impacts the brain.

Listening to music has been linked to improved memory, creativity, and cognitive ability. It’s a vast field of research, and there’s still more to discover.

When it comes to the workplace, listening to music can help you stay productive. That’s because music releases dopamine in your brain, which makes you happier. When you’re in a good mood, it’s easier to think of new ideas, come up with solutions to problems, and be more open to alternative suggestions.

This release of dopamine and good mood also makes boring, repetitive tasks seem more fun.

Research shows that people get through repetitive tasks more quickly with music in the background.

So, the next time you have a long list of mundane to-dos to finish, put on some music to get through it quicker.

Essentially, listening to music makes you happy, which makes you more open to challenges and makes tedious tasks pass by quickly.

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Why is video game music particularly beneficial?

The music in video games is specifically designed to motivate players while staying in the background. It sets the mood and the tone of the game, keeps up a good rhythm, but never distracts from the game’s objectives. It fosters a sense of achievement while motivating players to reach the next level and keep moving forward.

Video game soundtracks have a similar effect on people in the workplace. Listening while you’re working keeps you focused and motivated to finish your tasks. 

Video game music won’t overwhelm or distract you; it’ll motivate you and foster a “get it done” mentality.

Whether you’re playing a video game or clearing your email inbox, listening to a video game soundtrack can inspire action in the same way. You’ll feel inspired to keep going and reach the next level (ie. finish whatever work you’re doing).

Top video game soundtracks for getting things done

If you’re not sure where to start or which soundtracks to listen to, here’s a starter list of video games with exceptional accompanying music:


Reddit user danceswithronin suggests HALO:

”Music like this is awesome for getting through work, it makes you feel like you’re managing to accomplish something epic even if you’re just rearranging spreadsheets.”

Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door

Micah Bond, SEO Team Lead at Geek Powered Studios, says Paper Mario boosts creativity and makes mundane tasks less boring:

”I find this soundtrack useful for tasks that require a lot of creative thinking or problem solving. It also tends to take the boredom out of mundane tasks like data entry.

The lack of lyrics prevents too much distraction, and the simple, almost danceable beats keep my feet tapping and head bobbing. Tasks that are hard to stay focused on become a lot easier to knock out.”

FTL: Faster Than Light

Reddit user ZePlatyguy recommends FTL when you need to focus:

”The FTL soundtrack is absolutely amazing. It really helps me focus because the game requires a large amount of focus.”

Legend of Zelda: 25th Anniversary Orchestra

Brandon Carter, Senior Content Manager at SquareFoot, listens to Legend of Zelda when he’s writing or trying to get inspired:

”A large part of my day is spent writing or trying to get inspired to write. The Legend of Zelda: 25th Anniversary Orchestra, which gives all those classic Zelda themes a rousing, cinematic treatment, helps me get in a nice creative headspace. And, most importantly, helps me stay there.”

Animal Crossing

Reddit user Lady-Desdemona says listening to Animal Crossing helps her with tasks that require patience and focus:

”The tunes from [Animal Crossing] are great for when I’m retouching photos. Especially on those day when I have zero concentration because I’m just too antsy. They’re very soothing.”


Reddit user SubcommanderShran suggests Megaman:

”As an accountant, I can confirm Megaman 2 helps me get through my day so much faster.”

Video game soundtracks just aren’t for you?

Listening to music you enjoy is key to a positive impact on productivity, so it’s OK if video game soundtracks aren’t your thing. Find something else you that you like and makes you happy.

Generally music without lyrics is best, as it’s least distracting. If you’re looking for creative inspiration, put on some ambient background noise; it’s the sweet spot for getting your creative juices flowing. 

Some people may also prefer total silence and consider music distracting. And there are instances where music hinders cognitive performance.

For example, when learning a complex, new concept, it’s best to do so with no outside distractions (including music).

Ultimately, you should listen to whatever motivates you, whether it’s classical music, the latest pop hits, or complete silence. If you like listening to music as a productivity tool, then give video game soundtracks a try!

Or better – try listening to different types of music when you work and measure your performance with a productivity tracker like DeskTime. You may discover which music makes you work the most efficiently. And that, my dear reader, can help you level up in your career.

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