Comments on

SKU'd perspectives

Original entry posted: Fri Sep 16 13:56:43 2005

Corvus @ Fri Sep 16 05:32:54 2005 EST

I've been thinking a lot about music in games lately. I think, like so many other design elements, we're (we being the industry) hindered by conventional, linear design thinking. It's as if we're still trying to make movies, only interactive.

Thomas @ Fri Sep 16 06:45:33 2005 EST

Exactly. I think someone else wrote it this week--maybe that "5 ways to save games" that got passed around--but the whole movie paradigm is killing us.

pseudonymous @ Fri Sep 16 09:56:43 2005 EST

I remember reading an article at about the Los Angeles Philharmonic playing the themes from various video games:
Overall, the compositions often sounded vaguely similar, alternately like Enya or Wagner. Either new-age-y, spooky, ethereal mellow, heavy on the string sections, or all-out mortal combat, with kettle drums beating like a racing heart and the brass players trumpeting the hunt. From the choir there was lots of aaaaa-hhhaaa Gregorian monk-type chanting in Latinesque gobbledygook.

pseudonymous @ Fri Sep 16 09:58:08 2005 EST

But I like the movie paradigm...?

Thomas @ Fri Sep 16 17:21:41 2005 EST

The problem with treating games like movies is that it ignores so much potential for a larger interactive world, and it tends to take control away from the player. That temporarily interrupts suspension of disbelief. I'm all for using the best of cinema, but I think that games could really have potential to reach farther. Screw remaking mob movies, I want to see the Metaverse.

Depends on the game, I guess. Nintendo's new controller is a step in the right direction.

Chris @ Sat Sep 17 12:01:10 2005 EST

"I've never played Tetsuya Mizuguchi's Rez"

*blinks* Why not? I thought this was required. :)

I feel you are a bit harsh with P.N.03, a game that obviously had to struggle through on a less than AAA budget. I really enjoyed it on its easy difficulty - there was a rhythm to the game (especially in the early levels) which was hypnotic and entrancing. The elegance with which one could traverse the environment (after a little practice) was really quite involving.

However, then I tried the Normal difficulty. Which increases the number of hits required to take out the targets. Which completely destroyed what made the game fun for me to play! On easy, the game wasn't about overcoming incredible opposition, but about planning your "dance routine" in order to complete the chain for the room. Once you get into this, it's tremendously satisfying.

This is the first game I felt captured some of the feel of dance - the music is static; you must interpret it with your movements. It's too repetitive, as you say - because they had to make substantial reuse of resources to come in under budget - but I feel this is a forgivable flaw in a game. As with any game, if you get into the core activity, you can tolerate some repitition.

But it's a completely different game on Normal. In my opinion, it only really works on Easy.

Thomas @ Sat Sep 17 13:46:12 2005 EST

Actually, it's funny. I enjoyed the game myself on easy, and then started feeling guilty for taking the low road. So I tried normal and had the exact same experience you did. I was so upset I sold it back. Maybe I'm just bitter. But I think it's odd that the slight sense of rhythm that was there in the easy game somehow just didn't transfer to normal, do you agree?

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