David Reviews

 "You're not an artist, Peggy. You solve problems." Don Draper.

CONDUCTOR MEETS CONTROLLER.
1 October 2021

There have been several music creation games over the years, from MTV Music Generator and Electroplankton to Rocksmith and Electronauts. However, few have tackled the rigours of classical music until now.

The&Partnership Nordics and Swedish electronics retailer Webhallen have developed a game that turns button presses and keystrokes into musical notes. Thanks to composer Max Kiusalaas, the result is more harmonious than the chaotic in-game footage would suggest.



"In this experiment, the game becomes the instrument and the gamers our musicians," Kiusalaas says. "A classically educated musician has incredible hand to eye coordination, so it was interesting to see whether a gamer could measure up to that".

Webhallen reckon players' capabilities have been underestimated for too long: "We know that gamers have fast reaction abilities. Still, there are a lot of prejudices about gaming being something for children or a waste of time."

Nintendo Switch is just one of the platforms used in the project.  

"By putting gaming in a traditionally 'high culture' setting, we were able to show that good gamers are like good musicians – creators who spent a huge amount of time and energy towards becoming the technically most skilled in their genre. As with musicians, there's pride in showing off your abilities in gaming. That's something we want to highlight and endorse."

Given the popularity of video game soundtracks performed by orchestras, it's understandable why the brand have nipped to the local concert hall. What Kiusalaas's regular musicians make of this remains to be seen, but it's a neat bid to open more eyes and ears to gaming's cultural potential.

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