The world of video game music has blossomed in recent years, enough to support live concert tours
and bestselling albums
. But while most such work is licensed or contracted out to third-party composers, a rare breed make their living at a single company, imbuing entire franchises with their unique sound. And apart from Nintendo's venerable Koji Kondo
, there is perhaps no dedicated gaming composer more renowned than Martin O'Donnell
. From humble beginnings writing the jingle for Flintstones Vitamins
, O'Donnell and longtime collaborator Michael Salvatori
joined developer Bungie in 1997, penning music for Myth
, and most notably the Halo trilogy
-- an iconic blend
of sweeping orchestral bombast
, haunting choirs
, and electronic ambience
that became one of the most acclaimed and successful gaming soundtracks of all time. O'Donnell also helmed Bungie's audio department, managing voice actors
, sound effects
, and an innovative dynamic music engine
, and was most recently working with Paul McCartney
on the score for the upcoming Destiny
. So it came as a surprise today when it was announced MartyTheElder was being terminated without cause
(flabbergasted reaction: HBO
). With O'Donnell following Joseph Staten
, Frank O'Connor
, Marcus Lehto
, and other Bungie veterans out the door, what might this mean for the company and its decade-long plan for Destiny? [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi
on Apr 16, 2014 -
The generic war game has come under fire from many sides, prompting more thoughtful games, such as the recent Spec Ops: The Line (previously
) and others. However, short of post-apocalyptic zombie-type games, no one has thought to make a game about the civilians - survivors living in the cities that other people battle over. Until now.
In This War of Mine, the focus is shifted away from military operations portrayed in most games. Instead, it is a dark survival game where players control a group of civilians trying to stay alive in a besieged city. During the day snipers outside stop you from leaving your refuge, offering players time to craft, trade, upgrade their shelter, feed and cure their people. At night they must scavenge nearby areas in search for food, medicines, weapons and other useful items.
This War of Mine was inspired by real-life events and delivers a message. "This can happen in your city, in your country."
posted by corb
on Mar 13, 2014 -
Shamus Young examines the idea of "story collapse" (the moment where a story reaches a critical point of ridiculousness and causes you to question every other aspect of it) by deconstructing the Thieves Guild quest-line in Skyrim: Part 1
, Part 2
, Part 3
, Part 4
and Part 5
. Entertaining reading for writers, designers and gamers alike.
posted by codacorolla
on Mar 4, 2014 -
The first issue of the new EVE Online comic book
from Dark Horse comics is now available for free download
(free registration required). What's particularly interesting about the "EVE: True Stories" comic series is that the stories are retellings of actual player-driven game events. The first story to be adapted is the downfall of the Band of Brothers alliance, which we talked about previously
posted by 256
on Feb 21, 2014 -
Archive.org is known for archiving a great number of things, broadly classified in terms of the web
, written and printed text
, studio audio
and live music
, and video
. The most recent addition comes in various realms of software, as outlined by Jason Scott
(MeFi's own jscott
). But the newest addition is notable because it brings old software back through online emulation - behold, the Historical Software collection
, from productivity software like VisiCalc
(1981 Osborne 1 version
), and The Print Shop
(1984, NYT review
) to vintage games including Eastern Front 1941
), The Hobbit
), and Karateka
). If you're interested in the way this all works, you can read more on the Archive.org blog
posted by filthy light thief
on Feb 13, 2014 -
"So why should a singer get to profit from a recording of his doing some work thirty-five years ago? The answer “because it’s his song” just isn’t good enough. It was PC Ironburns’ arrest. “But creating that song may have taken years!” PC Ironburns spent years investigating the crimes before he caught that pesky crim! The electrician had to study for years to become proficient enough to rig up lighting. The doctor spent seven years in medical school! Imagine if this system we wholly accept from creative industries were accepted elsewhere – the ensuing chaos would be extraordianry. Take Broussard’s claim above, that “Creatives have a right to be paid indefinitely on their work”, and switch out “Creatives” for any other job. “Dentists”, “teachers”, “librarians”, “palaeontologists”… It starts to appear a little ludicrous." -- Rock Paper Shotgun's John Walker on copyright and the need for videogames to enter the public domain
posted by MartinWisse
on Feb 3, 2014 -
Street Fighter 2 is one of the game industry's biggest success stories, but its history is often told secondhand... In an effort to remedy that, over the past year we tracked down more than 20 former Capcom employees and business partners and asked them to tell it in their own words.Street Fighter 2: An Oral History
posted by griphus
on Feb 3, 2014 -
A Dolphin's Tale: The Story of GameCube
The company discovered that many gamers became personally attached to their consoles. They would take their consoles over to a friend’s house to play, or they would move their console from one room to another. Nintendo decided to include a handle on the GameCube to give it portability and a more personal, friendly look.
posted by porn in the woods
on Jan 24, 2014 -
When Jason Rohrer's Castle Doctrine hits Steam later this month, it will be on release sale for 12 dollars. After that, it will be 16 dollars. Forever. Rohrer talks to Giant Bomb
about why he thinks constant sales are bad for games. (previously
posted by graventy
on Jan 23, 2014 -
The Cult of the Peacock. It’s easy to forget that at one time all videogames had manuals. I used to like reading manuals. Manuals were cool. Now, instead of manuals, we have interactive tutorials. They take about fifty times longer to produce, three times longer to consume, and players hate them so much that their highest aspiration is to become completely transparent. Currently I spend most of my waking hours developing them. It should come as no surprise that I hate them too.
posted by Sebmojo
on Jan 12, 2014 -
This tech demo video
from Pillow Castle Games (of Carnegie Mellon) showcases an innovative first person puzzler using the optical illusion of forced perspective.
posted by codacorolla
on Jan 9, 2014 -
The Internet Archive Console Living Room harkens back to the revolution of the change in the hearth of the home, when the fireplace and later television were transformed by gaming consoles into a center of videogame entertainment... Simply click on a system below to browse through available games and cartridges and try them out. Where possible, links to manuals and additional information are available for reference.
posted by griphus
on Dec 27, 2013 -
Strategy guides, then. Some were official. Some were... less official. Unauthorized, even, free to explore a game's mysteries without the nagging presence of the developers hanging over them. Of course, being unofficial meant these guides couldn't use official artwork for their covers. They had to produce their own alternate, non-copyright-infringing cover art. Can you see where I'm going with this? That's right, here are some unofficial strategy guide covers and boy howdy are they a mess.
posted by timshel
on Dec 23, 2013 -
Video Game Foliage.
"Making spaces for games is a strange and interesting art. Not being bound by physical limitations makes it possible to create impossible structures, but being bound by the technical limitations of modern computer graphics makes it difficult to create accurate simulacra of even simple objects. So video games cheat, using approximations to create the desired aesthetic result.
Plant approximations are especially hard, since organic structures tend to be difficult to describe in terms that graphics cards understand. This creates an interesting design constraint.
How do you create representations of plants given the limitations of realtime rendering?
I plan to use this blog to show a bunch of games that choose different answers to this question. I hope you’ll join me in looking into the weird world of video game foliage." [more inside]
posted by kmz
on Dec 19, 2013 -
" is a fake trailer, for a movie that, for now, is not going to be made, about the incredible power of its characters to defy the physics of the world they live in, almost as if they were cheating a videogame.
posted by Lorc
on Dec 18, 2013 -
Twenty years ago tonight, id Software uploaded Doom
to an FTP server at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and completely changed the video gaming industry. [more inside]
posted by Pope Guilty
on Dec 9, 2013 -
Despite a customer base that crosses many demographics
, a large part of the video game industry has remained resolutely focused on appealing and marketing to male players in the 18-24 age group. It wasn't always this way. Although early coin-op and console game development was male-dominated, titles in the 1970s were either marketed for entire families or for adults in bars and later arcades. What changed? Polygon investigates
posted by figurant
on Dec 4, 2013 -