Load up an Ableton set or mix samples, and you’re already in the domain of interactive music. With joysticks and arcade buttons and other controls, the blending of game and musical interface into generative compositional fusion is even clearer. It’s little wonder many electronic musicians take an interest in the nexus of gaming and music.
Any discussion of interactive music scores for games would be incomplete without Jonathan Mak. His self-produced title Everyday Shooter used classic top-down space combat as a musical experience: not only do sound effects in the game act as musical elements, but even the flow of the game itself fits into a generated song structure. Mak even imagined the title as an album. Playing through it, once you get into the groove of the action, the roles of gamer and listener merge into a single flow. (See video, at end.) Another nice feature – breaking from cliche, it’s a music game that employs guitar lacks in place of, say, a pounding trance soundtrack.
Now, Mak turns his attentions from space shooter to platformer, with SoundShapes, on the console Sony announced this week, the PlayStation Vita. It’s best to watch the video to see what’s going on. It’s just a taste; we’ll have to see the final title.
There’s more good news, too: on of our favorite artists, the inventive i am robot and proud, is the musical collaborator. And you can now look to Toronto as a hotbed of indie game action – take that, Montreal and New York – with i am robot and proud and the team behind iPad album-as-game-as-album Swords & Sworcery.
The effects of making ever game event musical can be cartoonish at times – though, perhaps in a game, that’s part of the pleasure and aesthetic. But in Mak’s best moments, it was as though he was composing with gameplay – canonical gameplay forms as a modern, digital parallel to musical forms like a sonata.
We’ll be watching. Thanks to Metehan Korkmazel for the tip!
Via GameSetWatch, who have some nice analysis. (One point of disagreement – they speculate this will be onstage “in the hands of at least one chiptunes performer.” I think that’s actually relatively unlikely; chip music artists continue to prefer dedicated music tools, not games. Laptop artists would occasionally feature an ElectroPlankton cameo. But I’ve been fiddling with some Processing sketches that try to make game interfaces for music. It’s fun, if really hard; I’ll keep trying. Seems a good airport layover project.)
Previously on CDM:
Portal 2′s Musical World, Available Free, in Non-Adaptive Form “For Testing” [ Also makes use of interactive musical accompaniment ]
Game Meets Album: Behind the Music and Design of the iPad Indie Blockbuster Swords & Sworcery