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Games based on music


MK-1601
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This is an idea I've been toying with recently. There are lots of games based on films, books and fictional characters, but there are very few that are based on music - either existing albums/works or specially recorded soundtracks. (By comparison, there are lots of examples of music being used as the central element of films and musicals.)

The only games I can think of that attempt something like this are Michael Jackson's Moonwalker, Jeff Wayne's War of The Worlds RTS and (at a push) Rez.

The most obvious sources of material for something like this would be 'concept' albums where the artist has already sketched out characters and a narrative. But another option would be to interpret pieces of music that weren't necessarily created with a specific 'story' in mind (the way music was used in Magnolia and Fantasia) to set the mood.

The idea lends itself to lots of genres of game, depending on the source material. It could be very literal or very abstract. And we could assume that, if necessary, it wouldn't just mean having the rights to the original recording, it could be remixed, rearranged, stretched out, or made reactive to the action as required. (Alternatively, it would be a design challenge to sync up the game events with the music.)

What do people think? Are there any pieces of music that would lend themselves well to this, and what sort of games would they make?

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Well, theres lots of Bemani titles and all the 'timing' genres that have spread from that.

I'd love to see a game written to Philip Glasses 'koyaniquatsi' - like Delta was, but done properly and to the whole score.

A bit unorignal, but a similar Hori shooter that has features that fit with the music - Giant bosses during musical highlights and stuff.

A problem would be its linearity, but then its a shmup.

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Well, theres lots of Bemani titles and all the 'timing' genres that have spread from that.

I'd love to see a game written to Philip Glasses 'koyaniquatsi' - like Delta was, but done properly and to the whole score.

A bit unorignal, but a similar Hori shooter that has features that fit with the music - Giant bosses during musical highlights and stuff.

A problem would be its linearity, but then its a shmup.

Yeah, a shmup would definitely work well because you could choreograph it *exactly* to the music.

I'm thinking of some games that use the music as 'cues' like in a film score as well.

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There was the CRL version of blade runner, that was an interpretation of the vangelis score rather than the movie itself.

I think mel croucher was pretty much into this kind of deal - deus ex machina was based around a radio play kind of deal but seemed to fit into your idea of interpretation, i think he also attempted a laserdisc/ atari ST adaptation of 'the wall' (which looked oddly like breakout so it could have been a joke)

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I think it was based on the arcade initally (which came about from the film) but the MD could never do it properly so Sega turned it into one of their 'great' platformers.

I think music games are like ball games (i mean small ball styled stuff - ala Switchball) - the definative one has never been done, but theres certainly an idea thats just waiting to be thought up.

I think it would have to be score based with multipliers and the like but i've still never really been satified with whats been available in the past.

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Vib Ribbon, didn't you put your own CD in and it generated levels? Never got to play it but remember thinking it looked amazing. Actually, may have had a demo...

Rez was amazing though, it'd be nice to be more games like that, imagine how frantic it could get with Rez based on some proper orchestral stuff.

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This is an idea I've been toying with recently. There are lots of games based on films, books and fictional characters, but there are very few that are based on music - either existing albums/works or specially recorded soundtracks. (By comparison, there are lots of examples of music being used as the central element of films and musicals.)

The only games I can think of that attempt something like this are Michael Jackson's Moonwalker, Jeff Wayne's War of The Worlds RTS and (at a push) Rez.

revx_1.png

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Haha, yes, Frankie goes to Hollywood definitely counts. Strange how there were a lot of early 80s music-game tie-ins (Journey Escape, and those Shakin' Stevens, Thompson Twins, Frank Sidebottom (err, I think...) Spectrum games).

...

As for Moonwalker, didn't Jacko have a hand in designing the home console version? That would explain

at least.

...

Anyway, more new ideas plz :lol:

Are there any metal albums that wouldn't lend themselves to an over-the-top Golden Axe / God of War mythological hack-'em-up?

And surely hip-hop could be better served than just pasting the same old gangsta stuff over this month's GTA wannabe?

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Soundvoyager on the GBA. It wasn't a rhythm game, you could pretty much play it with your eyes closed as it was totally about the music and sound.

Yep, and if you finished it you unlocked a stage which was effectively a music creation (or remixing, at least) tool.

It's one of the most unique videogames I've ever played.

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There have been one or two indie games I've enjoyed where the gameplay was built specifically around the soundtrack: in Rektor's Princess, for example, the structure of the game's story fits perfectly with both the structure of the music (in terms of verse/bridge/etc) and the lyrics. Another one I like is Fire and Forget; not only does it tie the rhythm to the missile reloading of your ship, but there's also a great little gameplay shift in the chorous and outro that gives it some nice variety.

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I posted this recently in the dream game thread which kind of ties in with this.

I'll probably explain this badly, as I'm not sure if I've got it all sorted in my head, but I want a 2D upward scrolling rhythm action shoot 'em up. Frequency is essentially a shoot 'em up in my eyes, but I'd like to cross this with the prettiest light show dependant on chaining combos (maybe in a style similar to Ikaruga) which also rewards you with a gradually building thumping dance number.

I want it to be split into seperate tracks so you can concerntrate on on one song to really ramp up your score, but you can also play through all the levels which form into a concept album telling some kind of story open to plenty of interpretation. I also want it to reward you if you simply fancy chilling out as opposed to chasing after high scores, but only bringing out the big guns when you reach perfection.

It needs to be an intense, beautiful, in the zone macdaddy.

Any takers?

But yeah, the Koyanisqatsi soundtrack would be perfect for something you're suggesting.

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There was the CRL version of blade runner, that was an interpretation of the vangelis score rather than the movie itself.

Only for legal reasons. They'd written the game of the film, only to realise they didn't have the licence for it, and couldn't get the licence for it either. So they licenced the music from the film instead.

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There have been one or two indie games I've enjoyed where the gameplay was built specifically around the soundtrack: in Rektor's Princess, for example, the structure of the game's story fits perfectly with both the structure of the music (in terms of verse/bridge/etc) and the lyrics. Another one I like is Fire and Forget; not only does it tie the rhythm to the missile reloading of your ship, but there's also a great little gameplay shift in the chorous and outro that gives it some nice variety.

Ack, forgot about Quantized Blaze. It reminded me of Rez in a way, since each defeated enemy resulted in a drum hit, and each new wave of enemies introduced another layer of audio on the soundtrack. I really liked that game.

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Ack, forgot about Quantized Blaze. It reminded me of Rez in a way, since each defeated enemy resulted in a drum hit, and each new wave of enemies introduced another layer of audio on the soundtrack. I really liked that game.

That is awesome.

...

Actually reminds me of something I saw demonstrated a couple of weeks back: DIN. It's an electronic musical instrument sim, but gives some idea of how music can be generated from moving around a 2D space. Erm, although there doesn't appear to be any easy way for non-Unix people to get it at present.

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