Do sound effects and music belong in interactive fiction? First off, let’s separate the two. Despite both subjects being of the aural variety, they are very different. It can be argued that sound effects make the experience “more real.”
> close door. (Slam!)
> jump in lake (Splash!)
> kick walter (“Oww! What the–???”)
It could then be argued that music makes the experience less real (unless the protagonist in the game has just turned on a cd player or walked into a dance club). People just don’t go about their ordinary (or extraordinary) lives with a personal soundtrack playing.
Some people feel that sound is jarring, and depletes the “immersion factor” of IF. IF is another form of literature, after all. Audio books aside, literature doesn’t make noise.
Simply put, I find it entertaining. I could do with or without graphics, but for some reason, I just love sound. It takes IF up a notch. You didn’t just read about killing that ogre, you heard it’s death cry. Or there’s an avalanche, and you can hear the din of falling rocks getting louder. Entertainment and drama can greatly benefit from sound effects if used effectively (no pun intended). That goes for music as well. Some suspenseful music can really leave you on the edge of your seat. A light, airy tune can amuse you. A dramatic theme could tug at the heartstrings just a bit more during a sad or profound moment. Sound, in general, is something that I feature (and will continue to feature) in my games.
But what do you think? Sound effects and/or music: yea or nay? Do they enhance Interactive Fiction or detract from it? Entertaining? Or just annoying? I’m interested in hearing your views.