Thursday, May 9, 2013

My Gaming Audio History: Duck Hunt (1985)

Today's blog is on the NES title Duck Hunt.  I owned this as part of a double release in 1988 for the NES as an introductory console of Super Mario Bros and Duck Hunt.  It was the only game we owned that took the NES Zapper, but I played it a lot.

Who composed the audio?  Hirokazu "Hip" Tanaka is the composer of this series.  He also composed Metroid, which I never played, but I had a friend, Harris, in college who raved about the music.  From him, I came to know that the Metroid soundtrack is very well done and now see is very well known.

What is the audio experience?  There's title screen music, music at the beginning of each game, music when you kill the two ducks successfully in the round, and music at the end of each level of gameplay.  In terms of sound effects: there's the dog barking as he smells the ducks to start the round, the ducks quacking as they fly away, the gunshots, the sound of the dog laughing at your poor shooting.  In the clay shooting game, there's the sound of the clay shots leaving and the sound of you shooting them.  In both games, there's the sound of your "score" being tallied at the end of the round.  Pretty simplistic, this game audio is more in line with the audio from the Atari games than a continuous audio that's already been seen in Super Mario Bros and is just around the corner in most NES games.

How does the audio experience draw the player more deeply into the game?  Obviously, the sound of the shooting, dog barking, and ducks quacking make the game more realistic.  The music at the beginning of the game and in between the rounds of gameplay serve as punctuations to the game.  Certainly not the best and most integrated audio we've heard yet, but in reality, this gameplay was more about the innovation of using the NES Zapper for a different gaming experience than it was about the audio.

Key relationship?  The title screen music is in Db major, the every two duck fanfare is in Ab, and the beginning game music in C major, so there's a bit of a disconnect tonally there, but I don't really connect all this music yet since there are huge silences in the music.  In the clay shooting game, the music initial music in E major.  Still here, the fanfare at the end of the levels in in C major.

Fun game, I played it a lot.  Never really paid much mind to the audio, but it's cool to know it's from from a composer who'd become well know for his game audio composition.  All in all, only about 30 seconds of game audio!

No comments:

Post a Comment