29 Jul 2011

Listen while you push on

Author: will | Filed under: game, LBC, memory, music, software, video, YouTube

The LBC’s topic this week is “Listen”. As much of a nerd that I am, I’ve already written about my favourite Google app, namely Google Listen. So instead I want to to listen to the music… of games.

Extra Credits is essentially the best, if not only, tutorial about video games and the video game industry. Including the small niggling fact that “games” are no longer playthings for children. Poke around Daniel Floyd’s archive of  videos, its well worth it. However this video about the music in video games touches quite a few things. Take time to listen to the music playing in the background as you take on a challenge on that screen. Be that screen in your hands on a phone or dedicated handheld gaming system, or on a larger screen as you sit behind the controller, or flail your arms around interacting with the screen.

Or listen to the sing-song rhymes chanted in the playground still. Usually to skipping or that elastic band game, that I never played.

The music here is supposed to add atmosphere to your actions on a screen. Setting the tone. Moving your mind set.

Listening is the only sensory input that we can use while doing something else without endangering yourself. (Talking is an output folks). You can’t read and drive (or text) safely. But you can listen to music.  Or listen to a podcast, or a lecture.

As the power of machines increase, their music ability increases. Now we have synaesthesia games. Child of Eden, by Tetsuya Mizuguchi, is the current star of these kind of games, and the industry is paying attention to them, partly in a “what the…” sense. Synaesthesia is an untreatable, but non fatal  medical condition. It happens because the sensory processing areas of the brain are very close to each other, so close that sometimes the areas overlap. And its surprisingly common. To someone with the condition music can sound blue or sharp. Looking at or thinking about numbers can have a colour or texture. Food can taste pointy. The music example shows just how common it might be. It might go further that that, some synaesthesia patients process emotional feelings as colour overlays over people. In short, they can pick up subtle clues on people and those people appear to have an aura around them. In short they listen to the other persons emotional state, or their own feeling about a person, and process it differently.

Child of Eden is played using the Xbox Kinect system, so the player literally conducts the action. Their actions change the visuals and it reacts with the music heard. The music and the beat are as integral as your motions in this game, and you end up moving in a rhythm to synchronise with the game. Its almost dancing about game playing. You can even use the normal controllers vibration functions to provide tactile feedback to add more to the experience.

If you want to hear the full versions of all the music in the Extra Credits video, I created a playlist on Youtube. Let that play in the background while you look at the other submissions of the LBC.

By the way, my video game favourites aren’t there. But that’s for another post.

This is a Loose Bloggers Consortium post on the theme of “Listen” chosen by Grannymar. To find out that the others in the consortium think, check out, in alphabetical order: Akanksha (Anki), Anu, Ashok, Conrad, Delirious, Gaelikaa, Grannymar, Magpie 11, Maria, Padmum and the GOM of LBC, Ramana Sir.

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3 Responses to “Listen while you push on”

  1. Rummuser Says:

    It has taken a nerd to bring my attention to something that I have taken for granted all these years. One can listen to music or lectures without taking away attention from one’s action. How true and obvious when pointed out!

  2. Grannymar Says:

    I like music but am not a game fan and although there is one household where I see them played (I think you know it), I prefer to let the sound pass over my head. You can put it down to my age! ;)

  3. will Says:

    Rummuser you can do most anything with a soundtrack, but lectures require a bit more attention.

    Something I remember was a Canadian show playing the same wildlife clip with two different soundtracks, seeing a snake chase a frog, once with a jaunty piece of music and again with a tense piece meant you viewed the same clip as two animals playing, or as a lunch seeker.

    And GM, next time ask them to play something with an interesting soundtrack for you to listen to, that might be a fun challenge for them (Rock Band does not count).

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