A tiny sound can make a big difference to a game.
I remember when the classic BioWare game Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic received an iPad release. I was thrilled—finally, this game was so portable that I could carry it around in my pocket. I could play it while on the bus, while waiting at the DMV… pretty much anywhere. I slipped my headphones into my iPad to get the full experience while travelling with the device, and played through the whole thing all over again.
It amazed me how much the gameplay changed when I was using headphones. The soundscape of the game made the entire experience feel more inhabited than it ever had when the noise was coming out of a speaker. In particular, I heard a few eerie whisperings while in caves and tombs that I’d never heard before—quiet speech that was too subtle to be heard through a television speaker. I got obsessed with trying to find out what all of the whispers were saying—the noises of the world sucked me in and made the entire digital world an even more intoxicating immersion than it had been before.