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Sound and Music for Games: Prokofiev to Pac-Man to Guitar Hero

[Feature] The recent AES 35th International Conference, Audio for Games, held in London in February, illustrated the way in which sounds and music for games are evolving in response to user expectations and changing game genres. The traditional film score, such as written by Prokoviev for Alexander Nevsky, was an essentially static creation designed to match the screen action. While the composer might have worked closely with the director to create a combined music/film entity that satisfied the viewer on a number of aesthetic levels, the sound track was fixed for all time in a single form. Games have many things in common with films but differ in the essential fact that they are unpredictable to some degree, and yet still have music and effects as an accompaniment. For this reason the sounds that accompany games cannot be entirely fixed and need to be allowed to change or evolve according to the current game state. How this has been dealt with to date, and what might be achieved in future, are tackled in a number of interesting papers from the conference.


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