Understanding Game Scoring : The Evolution of Compositional Practice for and through Gaming book cover
1st Edition

Understanding Game Scoring
The Evolution of Compositional Practice for and through Gaming

ISBN 9780367492816
Published November 22, 2021 by Focal Press
160 Pages 104 B/W Illustrations

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USD $51.95

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Book Description

Understanding Game Scoring explores the unique collaboration between gameplay and composition that defines musical scoring for video games.

Using an array of case studies reaching back into the canon of classic video games, this book illuminates the musical flexibility, user interactivity and sound programming that make game scoring so different from traditional modes of composition. Mack Enns explores the collaboration between game scorers and players to produce the final score for a game, through case studies of the Nintendo Entertainment System sound hardware configuration, and game scores, including the canonic scores for Super Mario Bros. (1985) and The Legend of Zelda (1986).

This book is recommended reading for students and researchers interested in the composition and production of video game scores, as well as those interested in ludo-musicology.

Table of Contents


List of Figures

List of Tables

Chapter 1

An Introduction to Game Scoring

Disasterpeace and FEZ: A Case Study of Game Scoring

Music System Overview: Sequence Context Menu

Music System Overview: Scripts Browser

Music System Overview: Main Composition Sequencer

Game Scoring as an Unique Mode of Musical Composition

Methodology and Outline

Chapter 2

Game Scoring’s Interactive Multimedia Context

Spatial Emulation, the "Gaming Diegesis" and Game Scoring

Interactivity: A New Element

Audial Responsibility in the Interactive Multimedia Text: A Case Study of the Score for The Legend of Zelda (1987)

Case Study Conclusions: John Cage and Game Scoring as Aleatoric Composition

Game Scoring Taxonomy: Title Music

Game Scoring Taxonomy: Source Music

Source Music Case Study: Kondo’s "Lost Woods" Vs. Vreeland’s "Reflection"

Game Scoring Taxonomy: Results Music

Chapter Conclusions

Chapter 3

Game Scoring and Gaming Technology

Case Study: The Nintendo Entertainment System’s Sound Hardware Configuration

Channel Overview: Pulse Wave Channels

Channel Overview: Triangle Wave Channel

Channel Overview: Noise Channel

Channel Overview: Delta Modulation Channel

NES Game Scoring Techniques

NES Game Scoring Techniques: 2-Channel Echo

NES Game Scoring Techniques: Single Channel Echo

NES Game Scoring Techniques: Arpeggio and Psychoacoustic Block Chords

NES Game Scoring Techniques: TWC Kick Drum Sounds

NES Game Scoring Techniques: Melodic Samples

Putting It All Together: The APU Mixer

Case Study Summary

Game Scoring Taxonomy: Logo Jingles

Game Scoring Taxonomy: Loading Music

Game Scoring Taxonomy: Voice Acting and Vocals

Chapter Conclusions

Chapter 4

Game Design and Game Scoring as Software Programming

Game Scoring Taxonomy: Introduction Music

Game Scoring Taxonomy: Demo Music

Game Scoring Taxonomy: Gameplay Music

Gameplay Music: Hub Music

Gameplay Music: Area Music

Area Music Case Study: Game Scoring as Mimetic Music Technology in Tetris (1984) and Guitar Hero (2005)

Gameplay Music: Area Music, cont.

Gameplay Music: Time System Jingles

Gameplay Music: Battle Music

Gameplay Music: Rest Music

Gameplay Music: Dialogue Music

Dialogue Music Case Study: The Owl and Link’s Awakening (1993)

Gameplay Music: Challenge Music

Chapter Conclusions

Chapter 5

Game Scoring: Gameplay as Performance of Aleatoric Composition

Before Video Games: The Aleatoric Tradition

A Note on Sound Effects

Case Study: Super Mario Bros. (World 6-2)

Game Scores Vs. Game Soundtracks: Super Mario Bros. on CD

Case Study Conclusions

Game Scoring Taxonomy: Menu Sound Effects

Mario Menus: A Case Study of Menu Sound Effects in Two Super Mario Games

Menu Sound Effects, Cont.

Game Scoring Taxonomy: Menu Music

Game Scoring Taxonomy: Status Music (Gameplay Music, Cont.)

Game Scoring Taxonomy: Gameplay Sound Effects

Game Scoring Taxonomy: "Ambiences" or Ambient Sound Effects

Chapter Conclusions

Chapter 6

Game Scoring: Conclusion

Future Directions





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Mack Enns is a Research Assistant Professor at Hong Kong Baptist University, specializing in music design and programming for video games and interactive media, music technology and popular music studies.