Game Sound: An Introduction to the History, Theory, and Practice of Video Game Music and Sound Design

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Overview

A distinguishing feature of video games is their interactivity, and sound plays an important role in this: a player's actions can trigger dialogue, sound effects, ambient sound, and music. And yet game sound has been neglected in the growing literature on game studies. This book fills that gap, introducing readers to the many complex aspects of game audio, from its development in early games to theoretical discussions of immersion and realism. In Game Sound, Karen Collins draws on a range of sources—including composers, sound designers, voice-over actors and other industry professionals, Internet articles, fan sites, industry conferences, magazines, patent documents, and, of course, the games themselves—to offer a broad overview of the history, theory,and production practice of video game audio. Game Sound has two underlying themes: how and why games are different from or similar to film or other linear audiovisual media; and technology and the constraints it has placed on the production of game audio. Collins focuses first on the historical development of game audio, from penny arcades through the rise of home games and the recent rapid developments in the industry. She then examines the production process for a contemporary game at a large game company, discussing the roles of composers, sound designers, voice talent, and audio programmers; considers the growing presence of licensed intellectual property (particularly popular music and films) in games; and explores the function of audio in games in theoretical terms.

Finally, she discusses the difficulties posed by nonlinearity and interactivity for the composer of game music.

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What People Are Saying

George Sanger

"Game Audio may sound to the uninitiated to be a frivolous pursuit, but it is neither simple or trivial. Game Sound shows that this art/craft/business has an elegance and a freshly blossoming history that allow it to stand with dignity and legitimacy alongside any other human endeavor worthy of academic attention."--The Fat Man, George Alistair Sanger, Legendary Game Audio Guru

From the Publisher
"Game Audio may sound to the uninitiated to be a frivolous pursuit, but it is neither simple nor trivial. Game Sound shows that this art/craft/business has an elegance and a freshly blossoming history that allow it to stand with dignity and legitimacy alongside any other human endeavor worthy of academic attention." The Fat Man , GeorgeAlistair Sanger , Legendary Game Audio Guru
George Sanger
"Game Audio may sound to the uninitiated to be a frivolous pursuit, but it is neither simple or trivial. Game Sound shows that this art/craft/business has an elegance and a freshly blossoming history that allow it to stand with dignity and legitimacy alongside any other human endeavor worthy of academic attention."—The Fat Man, George Alistair Sanger, Legendary Game AudioGuru
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262033787
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 10/31/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 216
  • Sales rank: 1,209,345
  • Product dimensions: 8.20 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Karen Collins is Canada Research Chair in Interactive Audio at the University of Waterloo. She is the author of Game Sound: An Introduction to the History, Theory, and Practice of VideoGame Music and Sound Design (MIT Press).

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Table of Contents

Ch. 1 Introduction 1

Ch. 2 Push Start Button: The Rise of Video Games 7

Ch. 3 Insert Quarter to Continue: 16-BIT and the Death of the Arcade 37

Ch. 4 Press Reset: Video Game Music Comes of Age 63

Ch. 5 Game Audio Today: Technology, Process, and Aesthetic 85

Ch. 6 Synergy in Game Audio: Film, Popular Music, and Intellectual Property 107

Ch. 7 Gameplay, Genre, and the Functions of Game Audio 123

Ch. 8 Compositional Approaches to Dynamic Game Music 139

Ch. 9 Conclusion 167

Notes 173

Glossary 183

References 189

Index 197

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