Joel Corelitz drops in to discuss his work on GOROGOA, TumbleSeed, The Unfinished Swan, and Eastward, along with the broader design philosophies behind those games. Even more broadly than that, we talk about the layers of audience engagement in music, in games, and especially in music in games—not to mention the good, bad, and ugly of conservatory culture, the (excellent) reasons why TumbleSeed doesn’t have motion controls, and the as-yet-unrealized dream of a truly procedural videogame score.
It keeps coming back to Dark Souls and the original Zelda, as these discussions are so often wont to do.
For the especially spoiler-cautious, there is a significant Demon’s Souls SPOILER (albeit one that may not even be a spoiler anymore by the time you hear this) at 00:49:54.
• InBFlat.Net is a bizarre and lovely thing.
• If you don’t know Wendy Carlos’ Switched-On Bach, then you might know her scores to A Clockwork Orange, The Shining, and Tron.
• Here’s Joel on the process of creating the GOROGOA soundtrack.
• Here’s Joel talking about his score for The Unfinished Swan (and Wendy Carlos, and lots else, with a lovely collage of music from the game underneath).
• Small correction: In Demon’s Souls, the Storm King is the boss; the Storm Ruler is the weapon that you use to kill the boss. And the stark, is-that-music-or-is-it-the-monsters scoring when you begin the fight does take my breath away.
• As mentioned, Joel did the music for two “art explainers” for The Art Institute of Chicago. Here’s the first, and here’s the second. They’re exactly the kind of inclusive, playful introductions to museum-going that we need so much more of.
• At long last, an excuse to link you fine folks to John Berger’s Ways of Seeing series for the BBC.
• What you (and I, and lots of people) think of as “the Star Wars theme” is more properly called “The Force Theme.”
• If you’ve never heard Gustav Holst’s The Planets, then please do so and enjoy its status as proto-Star Wars, as well as its own unique charms.
• GOROGOA’s visuals echo a lot—from aniconic Muslim art, to Byzantine architecture, to Egyptian hieroglyphs, to Chinese dragons, to Aztec gods—without explicitly referencing much. It’s a feast of allusion.
• Here’s the video wherein Mikey of Movies with Mikey fame got me thinking about hitboxes and other forms of collision. And yes, hitboxes are necessarily square, which is pretty precisely why Dark Souls, for example, doesn’t use them.
• Yep, it’s a bummer to see and Ice Cold Beer machine but not be able to try it.
• As Joel points out, the absolutely wonderful score to Celeste was written and performed by Lena Raine. (Thanks much for not letting me off the hook on that one, Joel).
• And nope, Disasterpiece didn’t do any of the excellent Celeste B-Sides. (So yeah, no I’m on the hook. The hook is my home).
• George Carlin did say that “there are too many fuckin’ songs”. I didn’t remember the bit getting quite as dark as it does, but hey, I don’t have much of a right to be surprised, really.
• Last but not least, ZHAIF 4 LAIF.