15 January, 2010


written by Blain Newport on Sunday, December 13, 2009

Back in the day game music was very simplistic: beeps, boops, and white noise. But because of that, it was also very distinctive. As didgeridoo is to Australia, the square wave is to the worlds created in early games. Those sounds are of a time, place, and culture. When the CD storage medium turned game soundtracks into the exact same scores we had in films, games lost that feel, that sense of a unique reality. They became wannabe movies instead of something else all their own.

The same can be said of graphics. Once they went past being symbols and started trying to look real, they became less than what they were. At least the reality of an 8-bit Mario game looked consistent. Today we have ragdoll weirdness and clipping problems everywhere, aliasing, obvious level of detail switches, polygonal silhouettes, animation hitches, and dozens of other small problems that make our game realities only look right at certain angles under meticulously placed lighting.

It's amazing, what the industry has accomplished. But sometimes I get the feeling they have no idea what they lost by chasing film. Video games had their own reality.

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