Game Analysis

 

Choose the subject of your analysis. You can choose from the curated list of games below, or propose a game of your choice with instructor approval. If you propose a game, its soundtrack should be about an hour or more in length.

Suggested games to choose from:

Fez, a pseudo-anthropological retro puzzle-platformer (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lHmoQIlNEkE)

Hollow Knight, a bug-infested melancholy metroidvania
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0HbnqjGirFg)

Journey , a desert-set wordless adventure story
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3hFN8UrBPw)

The Last of Us, a zombie survival horror drama
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLMsl9xhcBE)

Listen to the full duration of your chosen soundtrack, then listen to it again and take notes. You should also view footage of the game being played so that you know how the visuals and music complement each other, and seek out any relevant satellite sources. You are to write an analysis of no fewer than 1000 words in which you address the points below:

1.) Making so much music “hang together” and sound unified is one of the principal challenge of contemporary game music composition. For your chosen soundtrack, how does the composer or composers go about unifying the soundtrack? (i.e. is it through a melody that appears in multiple tracks? a distinctive instrumentation that most or all tracks share?)

2.) As with the chiptune album review, give context to your chosen soundtrack’s aesthetic by comparing it to videogame music you know from class or your own gaming experience. I expect you to mention at least two specific games by title. When drawing comparisons, be sure to use examples of how the elements of music are used to support your arguments.

3.) Describe the relationship between the aesthetics of the music and the visuals. Are they complementary? How so? What aspects of the visuals do you imagine the composer took into account when planning the soundtrack?

4.) *Optional* If satellite sources are available for your chosen soundtrack, what new perspective do they provide that’s not discoverable through the music alone?

!!Note!!: Please use track names when referring to specific parts of the soundtrack. Virtually any game’s soundtrack is findable on YouTube, and very often you can find track names in the video description, or in a pinned comment. Broad, general observations that don’t mention a specific part of the soundtrack aren’t acceptable in this assignment.

Your analysis should abide by the style guidelinesPreview the document discussed in class. Be sure to give your work a title, to format it nicely with double-spaced lines for readability, and to proofread it thoroughly! I recommend reading your paper out loud to catch grammar, spelling, and syntax issues. Whatever sounds or feels wrong to say will also read poorly.

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