The Korean girl-group Girls’ Generation brings together 8-bit games, delicious noodle soup, and flouncy skirts in the above commercial for a Korean ramen brand, whose ad agency had the genius idea to use the music from the addictive video game Bubble Bobble as its bed. I have listened to this commercial multiple times since it first crossed my transom, and it’s making me think about how I think someone should just put out a CD of the Wii’s weather music, which is some of the best music to doze by ever. More »
Sure, last year, people were scooping up Guitar Hero and Rock Band like crazy, and those who weren’t helped the cause by writing pieces about how the wild success of those games would swoop in and save the music industry from file-sharing oblivion. But in 2009, things are slowing down for plastic instruments, possibly because in this dismal economy, $200 doesn’t seem like as insignificant an amount of money as it did a year ago.
It’s been a bad week in the video game world, what with the announcement that sales of Guitar Hero and Rock Band may have peaked, the dissolution of the industry’s leading magazine, Electronic Gaming Monthly (it had 600,000 subscribers!), and the layoffs at EGM‘s sister web portal 1up.com (which ain’t even loading for me today). From Penny Arcade comes news that’s somehow even worse: Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber is getting into this gaming fad he’s been hearing so much about.
Like any self-respecting gamer, I’ve played a lot of Fallout 3 since its release (80 hours and counting, sigh) Though the game has its own soundtrack (in Fallout 3’s case, it’s très X-Files), the player can forgo that and listen to a number of radio stations that broadcast across the nuclear war-devastated landscape. I prefer Galaxy News Radio, the station run by raconteur Three Dog, who comments on your in-game progress in between spins of great pre-rock and roll tunes.
I’m an avid gamer, and I’m tired of the idea that videogaming is some sort of niche media populated by pimply Internet trolls who haven’t seen the sun since World Of Warcraft came out. Sure, those guys actually exist, but Nintendo’s strategy toward more casual games like Wii Sports–not to mention the whole rise in popularity of music games–proves that gaming’s audience has a lot more room to grow. Nintendo’s Reggie Fils-Aime once asked this pertinent question:
Do you know anyone who has never watched TV, never seen a movie, never read a book? Of course not. Now, do you know someone, maybe even in your own family, who has never played a video game? I bet you do. If we want to consider ourselves a true mass media, if we want to grow as an industry, this has to change.
While gaming is mainstream for the first time since the release of the original Nintendo Entertainment System, there is still plenty of room to expand. Video games are also surprisingly recession-proof, racking up big sales while most other major media, such as network TV or the music biz, struggle with declining revenue. Consequently, we’ve been treated to a lot of “Gaming Is Bigger Than Hollywood/Music Biz” stories recently.
Just today, the BBC reports that games are on pace to outsell music and video in the UK. Let’s everybody take a deep breath.
In embargoed news that seems to be a secret to… More »
Every week in the “Shhhh-it!” AnonIMous Super-Secret Music-Biz Interview Series (S-I!AS-SM-BIS for, uh, short) we interview a grizzled music industry veteran via the stream-of-consciousness power of instant messaging. We talk about the person’s job, the state of the industry, and whatever else comes to mind. This week, we bring you music/rhythm game programmer GeorgeTardasin. Tardasin worked with a big-time music game developer on an iteration of a big-time music game (hint: you use plastic guitars to play it). Tardasin worked as a Gem Author, which is the name for the programmer who encodes the songs into the program, aligning the colored circles, or “gems,” that correspond with the buttons on the controller. In this interview, Tardasin discusses the challenges of transposing the songs, how long the process takes, and the joys of lighting and animations:
StumpyPete1975: you did the lights and the animations?
StumpyPete1975: that seems to me like it would be lots of fun
GeorgeTardasin: yeah… you get to choose what animation is going to show…so if you have like a really dramatic part of the song… there is an option to flare the lights out on the crowd.
GeorgeTardasin: ha ha
GeorgeTardasin: Its kinda cheesy but in a really awesome way.
GeorgeTardasin: and change the colors of the lights and make the characters do funny tricks while they are playing.
The whole thing after the jump!
It seems like just a few months ago when we complimented Harmonix audio director Eric Brosious for his company’s stance against artist exclusive deals. Back in those halcyon days of August, Brosious said of the possibility of bands signing exclusive deals with Rock Band, “We prefer not to sign exclusive deals with artists because while it seems like the competitive ‘business’ thing to do, in the long run, it’s really not good for anyone. We think we should be working to get more music out to more people.” Well, August was a long time ago, and when Angus Young calls, you pick up the phone.
Anyone who’s spent any amount of time around the Christian retail industry can tell you that the genesis of most ideas within that business come from the following formula: “Let’s make a Christian version of [fill in the blank]”. Which is why this generation of youth group children can now put down their Rock Band instruments and cleanse their ears of all that secular claptrap that game calls “music,” and instead start praising God while pressing buttons on plastic guitars hooked into the new game Guitar Praise.