Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Playing Games: Twilight Princess

For the last couple of weeks, my game of choice has been Twilight Princess, and of course, as I play I've been thinking about the audio aspects of the game and of the Wii.  For instance, every time I play a Wii game, I remember that one of my favorite features of Wii audio is that the player holds a speaker in hand.  I absolutely love that the device I hold to control the game also makes sound!  Two desires for the future: 1- the audio quality of the handheld speaker needs to improve and 2- the volume of the handheld device needs to be in sync with the other audio experience.  For instance, if I turn the volume down on the TV, the handheld speaker doesn't adjust as well-- and often it can be several minutes after I've adjusted the volume of the TV before the handheld speaker makes a sound so much louder than the  stereo volume.  It is possible to adjust the Wiimote volume, but it's in a separate menu and really this experience should be streamlined rather than two separate adjustments.  And as for the audio quality from the handheld speaker-- I'd need to investigate the technical aspects, but is it better than GameBoy quality?

As with all the Zelda games, audio plays such an integral role.  While I'm enjoying immersing myself in this new world of FF XIII where games have spoken audio in addition to music, LoZ games are a bit of a throwback to the past because of their use of printed dialogue.  For better or for worse, this choice immediately puts the music into the driver's seat in a different way for a game with dialogue and visuals.  The music never has to duck below the spoken audio.  It predicts, supports, reacts, and coincides with the onscreen action so seamlessly and with such artistry.  With just a few voice actors providing a word, grunt, yell, or sigh, the music must tell the story so clearly.  The beauty of these moments is that the audio and visual really pull you through the dramatic narrative in much the way a silent movie does.  Superb!

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