Microtransactions: Custom Soundtracks and Chip Tunes

June 23rd, 2009


Managing Custom Soundtracks in WipEout HD

Some months ago I discussed games in relation to music and music videos, attaching similarities between particular game titles and music tracks. Recently I’ve been engaging again in this activity for an entirely different reason. WipEout HD is the first game I own which allows for custom soundtracks, creating a phenomena into itself.

The WipEout HD playlist is unfortunately only nine tracks long. They’re good tunes but become repetitive rather quickly, meaning that you’ll want to swiftly import your own playlist. When I reached this stage I thought long and hard about the music that would best be appropriate for the WipEout play experience. That is, which songs evoked the same feelings as the feeling I get when playing Wipeout. I intially created a playlist of mostly manufactured dance/electronica music, some gelled nicely, others didn’t. I tried again and added a bunch of random favourites and found that all genres worked depending on the context. For example uplifting rock songs boded well with the plush UberMall and Sol 2 levels while not so much with the tracks that had a more industrial aestetic.

I just find it ammusing how this blog post I wrote a while ago actually attributes to a process external but relating to my gaming experience.

Chip Tunes – Tainted or Resurrected?

Wow, I’ve let this idea lie and rot for too long.

There’s an Australian TV show on the ABC called Collectors. Sure, I’m a collector myself but the usual selection of stamps and antiques featured don’t usually interest me. The show seems to be stepping up into pop culture goods. A few months ago, the show tickled my fancy, featuring the games collection of an Australian DJ. This guy also dabbles in chip tunes and although the show made viewers aware, it only discussed his profession to limited degree.

Out of sheer curiosity I tracked down some more information about this guy and realized that he’s in fact prominent Adelaide DJ, DJTr!p, and one of Australia’s leading chip tunes artist. You can sample some of his collection here.

While moseying through Tr!p’s MySpace page I scanned over his event listings and noted a series of gigs around Adelaide and the country. I then sat for a good while and tried to figure out why I honestly didn’t really care about attending any of these gigs. I thought it was cool that this local guy got featured on the show and I promote classic video games music, but I had no desire to attend any of his performances and I couldn’t figure out why.

I’m still not perfectly sure actually. My conclusion was going to be while I like classic games music, most of this new music fails to capture the elusive retro gaming appeal. I watched a segment on Good Game that previously covered Aussie chip tunes artists and to my accord it all sounded kinda ‘meh’. These guys fail to capture quality loops of retro tunes, that or like Tr!p, they are actually pretty skilled but the merging with electronica and other forms of music perhaps detracts from my personal enjoyment. I still can’t put my finger on it, perhaps like OC Remix music, I only enjoy listening to it in particularly random instances. ie. when I want to feel like “a child of the digital age” – if that makes sense. What are your thoughts on chip tunes music? Please, lemme know.