Time-Shift Crystals in Skyward Sword



I know I’m always goddess-harping on about Zelda but here is a really good example of dynamic musical layering.

[Spoiler Alert]

In The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword the level design for the third temple centers around a timeshift mechanic where link can hit crystals that shift the immediate vicinity to a time where the Lanayru Mining Facility flourished. In the present time the land is a desert inhabited by crustaceans and the remains of the old mining robots. In the past it was a working industrial facility.

When in the present the music has a much blander texture and is as arid and desolate as the desert for which this music is representing. When link moves into the area that is timeshifted the music takes on a much richer texture gaining new instruments and more details.

Although this is not a new feature it is really done to the highest standard I have yet seen in a videogame.

You can check out the musical differences ingame on any one of the links on this page:
http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=lanayru+mine

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Osmos Time-Shift

Osmos has been around for a little while but I only just managed to give it a good play (Yes, it is a slow day in the library).

The game is a nice standard eat ‘em up taking place in an ambiant space-style pond.

The game features a solid ambient soundtrack to match and with one particularly interesting dynamic feature: The player has the ability to slow the level of play down which makes every action take longer to complete and the competition life-forms move slower. With this the soundtrack is time-shifted to match the new speed of game. This musical immersion in a game mechanic designed to make the game easier (or harder) really makes the slower movement of play stand out.

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RMA Study Day – Call For Papers

Royal Musical Association
Call for Papers: Royal Musical Association Study Day


Ludomusicology: Game Music Research – Approaches and Aesthetics

 

The inaugural Ludomusicology conference will be held at St Catherine’s College, Oxford, on 16th April 2012.  Please click above for details.

Zelda 25th Anniversary Symphony London

Last night [Tuesday] I went to the Legend of Zelda 25th Anniversary concert.

I don’t think I’ve ever been to a video games concert with better production value that worked to my sometimes overly awkward classical ear. This was something else! The quality of the sound was phenomenal. I couldn’t believe that the sound engineer managed to mic up the full orchestra and still get them to sound balanced with such consistency throughout the performance. Nailed it!

For those of you who didn’t manage to see the Tokyo, LA or London showing I’ll just mention that the CD will be well worth the buy when it comes out. All I’m going to say about the music is the obvious: it brought up so many memories from my child(adult)hood that at times I was very moved. By far my favourite of the night was the Wind Waker Medley, so look out for it!

Another great feature of this night was the host, Zelda Williams. For those of you that don’t know the story, she is the daughter of the actor Robin Williams, who named his daughter after [Princess] Zelda in 1989. At most video-game concerts I’ve seen, the host has usually been someone hired for their looks rather than for their knowledge about games. This girl knew her stuff!, and even admitted to being moved by the music as much as any other member of the audience there that night. She later posted on twitter that the London crowd were awesome, so well done team-UK!

I must say that as a trained classical musician I’ve never ever, ever seen a crowd get more behind, and emotionally involved in the music as I saw last night. So much cheering, so much applause, so much silence when the music required it! In fact, the sheer gravity of Koji Kondo himself coming out to play had the entire crowd holding their breath so as to let the master do his work. He commanded so much respect in that room that he literally could have played ‘chopsticks’ and everyone would have stopped their breathing to hear better.

In closing the concert, the orchestra played us the new theme from Skyward Sword. This piece uses the retrograde of the well known Zelda theme Zelda’s Lullaby as its main melody. Check it out on youtube.

Although I had the special edition of the game ordered a while ago I almost felt like I should order another copy just to metaphorically kneel before the new heir to the throne; the king of all games series: The Legend of Zelda.

May you reign for another 25 years.

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@Quixatocs

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