Sunday, May 5, 2013

Music Making in Video Games: Actraiser

I downloaded an old favorite on my Wii today, Actraiser, and have almost played through the whole game.  Super cool to refer to gameplay as research now!  This game is a combination of platform fighting and SimCity-esque civilization development.

Of course, I'm always interested in how music is used in games.  I'd forgotten that in the desert town of Kasandora, when one of the townsfolk dies, the leaders are inspired to create "music" in response to his passing.  This results in a new theme playing when you're in the SimCity portion of this town.  Also, you need to take the music to an adjacent town where the people have gotten frustrated.  The music soothes them, they continue to build their town, and then this same music plays in that town as well.  

Check out this video from 7:51-10:10.  You can hear a complete loop (plus a bit) of the normal town development music before the townsfolk create music and then the theme changes and you can hear through that theme as well.  The music does seem a bit more expressive than the normal Baroque music, at least in part because it slows down at the end of the loop, giving a sense of phrase structure and shape.