Letters to the Editor

Silver Screen, Gold Disc


In response to “In 3-D” from The Escapist Forum: Allen, Thanks for taking the time to clarify [the questionable language]. However, the word “pussy” is so often used in a derogatory way towards women that it didn’t even cross my mind that you were going for a different image. The words “queer” and “bitch” also have harmless origins, but I would hope that, as a jounalist, you would use those words with a little more caution.

– mkt

In response to “In 3-D” from The Escapist Forum: Why are we discussing the word pussy more than 3D games?

– ReedRichards

In response to “Bittersweet Symphony” from The Escapist Forum: This is very resonant (music pun! har!) with me, as it was just Saturday I was in the audience at Video Games Live. Canceled out from under my feet twice, it was (and I’m still complaining), but it was well worth the wait.

I listen to a lot of video game music, and I relish any opportunity to go see an orchestra perform, so this was a sort of chocolate-and-peanut-butter combination.

– Bongo Bill

In response to “Play On” from The Escapist Forum: As a music composer from the “other side” (i.e. non mass-media related music) I am very excited about the possibilities in music for computer games. I believe music has always progressed in a manner parallel to the main expressive art forms of the times it was made in: The symphony at the age of the novel, modern scores (Stravinsky, Bartok etc.) at the age of cinema, post modern music at the age of T.V. I think computer games and other modular forms of dramatic narrative are the art-form of today.

The question is: how is music progression to follow? Consider film music for a moment: Film music has its start in the Piano accompanist for silent film, usually improvising music to the events on the screen, having to change style and mood on a dime as the action on the screen dictates. The progression of the music – the way the music “Goes” – has necessarily been re-configured radically. When sound came around, this new approach got necessarily blurred somewhat with the employment of “serious” composers, coming from Europe and landing jobs in the film industry, who were crafting scores that harkened back to their training and musical backgrounds, namely “common era” European music. The great majority of film scores, therefore, became instant imitations of great orchestral music from the late 19th century: Majestically orchestrated, with “big sound” and a slavish attitude towards the notion of “theme”- a theme for every character, a battle theme, a love theme and so on.

Those guys were NOT the only ones making scores for film, though; consider Carl Stalling, who composed the music for all the Looney Tunes animations: Sheer non-linear brilliance. Consider also Ennio Morricone, the composer of spaghetti westerns, whom, though usually theme based in his score writing due to professional necessity, still blurred the line between sound and music, ,making music that is equal parts sound effects and notes. There are many other examples.

In the gaming world, the piano accompanist equivalent is the guy who made music for Super Mario Land, say, or 1943, little loops of FM synthesized sound that changed on a dime, broke off, reconfigured and blended with the sound effects triggered by player actions.

Now, musicians are in on the deal, and the same process of copying occurs- only now it’s a copy of a copy: From late 19th century romantic scores, to film scores, to game scores. What’s missing is a composer that would take the form of interactive action and modular progression, and run with it. To make music that is wholly modular – bits that fit together any which way and make musical sense, short segments of music that operate well in the beginning, middle, and end of sections, and still sound beautiful. The potential is endless and could inform the music world at large.

I guess this is my main source of frustration: I believe computer games present the form of the now, and their music doesn’t follow.

– TrickllE

In response to “Reward Card” from The Escapist Daily: I enjoy the competitive side of Gamerscores amongst friends. Where a few of us have all downloaded Contra, for example, we are all trying to get an achievement that none of the others have for bragging rights. If I log on and see that one of them has just one-credited the first level, for example, competitive nature kicks in and I have to equal them.

– rjwtaylor

In response to “Reward Card” from The Escapist Daily: I can offer one reason why I don’t play a lot of games all the way through: at some level, they’re all the same. I stopped playing Oblivion because, after I got past the cool graphics and amazing world, it was just another finish-the-quest RPG. I could list other similar games that I stopped playing when I could no longer ignore the fact it was just another stock game, dressed up in cool graphics, storyline, game quirks, or whatever else it had.

To say it differently, my issue is not that there are not enough carrots, but that many of the carrots are as old as D&D: save the world, rescue the princess, live happily ever after, or whatever. Real carrots that are 25 years old are impossible to find: they’ve decomposed. Somehow, however, some people in the gaming industry believe that 25 year-old virtual carrots are still fresh. Those people, as far as I am concerned, are dead wrong.

I don’t want to save the world, or destroy it: I want to change it in small ways I can feel. I don’t want to rescue the princess: I want to see what she does to the kingdom after I save her. And sorry, but true heroes don’t live happily ever after: name any great hero that does, real or fictional. I can’t. All the ones I can name either die when they’re done, or they go on to do something else heroic.

– ZacQuickSilver

About the author