Dec 21, 2010

[Video Games/Music] Video Games Utilizing Music

It's been a long while since I bothered to write one of these things. I have many games in which I have played, as well as music. I doubt I'll write about them anytime soon, however my new-years resolution is to write in this thing at least once a month. Hopefully it will go well.

Anyways, something that has grabbed my attention recently is how video games are using unique methods in gameplay as well as musical direction to enhance musical experience. Not just the usual method of DDR and guitar hero, but other forms of gameplay which you wouldn't think could be music based. Here we go!


The bit trip series has been out for quite a while, but only recently has it been released for Mac/PC. As you see from the video all you do is a basic pong game where you hit the balls coming towards you. However, the game uses this in a musical way. Each time you hit a ball it makes a pitch as well as a rhythm, which adds more to the music. Getting a perfect score (which is really hard) would get you essentially the full "song". As you see from the video, the actually rhythm of the background music is very minimal, but with the player hitting all the balls correctly you get a version of a full piece of music.


Chime is a game I haven't played, but it looks like a semi-rhythmic tetris based puzzle game. The piece you put down do have some sort of corrolation with sounds played, but I don't know to what extent your play influences or adds to the music. I know the game's been out a while as well and it's on sale right now. I might pick it up eventually.

The Polynomial

I would have never expected a 3d quasi-space sim to work with music but it kinda does. While not as influential on the music you play, the music effects the gameplay arena depending. It's quite a relaxing game to just fly around, listen to music, and enjoy looking at the nebula-style surroundings bounce around. It's quite enjoyable, and I'm pretty sure I'm still one of the top scores on the high score list.

Beat Hazard

A 2d area shooter which uses the music to gauge the intensity of the enemies as well as the power of your shots. While it's quite fun, it's also pretty difficult due the the fact quieter music is harder. Also, it's pretty easy to beat the bosses, and the overall difficulty, while can be hard, just doesn't lack the creativity as some other games. On the other hand, you don't need to copy your MP3s into a specific playlist folder so at least in that way it's easier to use. Also on Xbox.

Everyday Shooter

Yet another 2s shooter! However, the game play is much different. Each level has a different scoring system for you to figure out. Also, the enemies when shot play sound effects, which sometimes can add to the music and in other ways really detract from it, depending on how in-sync with the music the other tones are. The background music is pretty generic and boring anyways so I don't find it too bad, but there are complaints about it. Over a fun and challenging game.

I believe everyone knows what audiosurf is. For those who don't, here's a video:

There are many other video games which I didn't go over (DJ hero, Guitar hero, DDR, ITG, that keyboard game, some drumming game, probably some others) But I was specifically looking for games where music effects gameplay and gameplay effects music, not just playing to the music.

These games are where the gameplay effects music. This is becoming a more and more common theme in modern music with audience participation, either purposely or unwittingly. For example, the cellphone symphony:

This is for a commercial, but this has been used in actual music. I just can't find a video of it right now.

Another example is the classic piece known as "O Superman" where Laurie Anderson just uses her voice and a modulator to create a form of music.

There are other examples where non-musicians can use technology to create music, but I really can't find them right now. Either way, electronique music is getting more popular with audiences and users since it needs audience participation, which makes people more likely to join those concerts. People like being a part of something, not just to watch but to participate. Classical styles were once also based heavily on participation and social cliques, but in modern times since Berlioz and programme music, music is now made to be listen to and analyzed, and less about the popular. Because of this, there is a hole in the industry where the latest group of crap is shoved at huge prices so that companies can make money.

This post was inspired by BIT.TRIP BEAT and youtube's current link to super popular music with 111 million views, which after listening to I found myself disgusted.

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