For informal discussions, sharing work and community support, consider joining our network of folks interested in queer perspectives on game audio.
We welcome anyone who wishes to engage with game audio from a queer perspective. To join, please contact tim [dot] summers [at] rhul [dot] ac [dot] uk telling us your name and areas of interest.
We welcome those identifying under the LGBTQ+ umbrella and allies. On this page, you can find some brief information and resources. For more interactive discussion use the contact above to join our private discussion channel and mailing list.
Discussions and Plans
We plan to hold semi-regular sessions where we share work and discuss a piece of queer theory in the context of game sound. In our first session on 16th August, we plan to discuss Legacy Russell’s Glitch Feminism (2020) in the context of game audio. We also aim to schedule a symposium and methods workshops. Watch this space…!
Some Places to Start…
There is very little scholarship that pertains to queer studies and game audio. Here is a starter bibliography, but we hope it will grow. Please give us suggestions to add!
On music and queerness in games:
- Summers, Tim, The Queerness of Video Game Music [Cambridge Element] (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2023).
On music and queerness in Gone Home:
- Synder, Shane, “The Impossible Relationship: Deconstructing the Private Space in Gone Home’, Journal of Gaming & Virtual Worlds 10 (2018): 7–20.
- Tulloch, Rowan, Catherine Hoad and Helen Young, “Riot Grrrl Gaming,” Continuum, 33 (2019): 337–350.
On gender and sexuality in game music in the context of animation:
- Chapters by Karen M. Cook, T.J. Laws-Nicola and Brent Ferguson, Dana Plank and Ko On Chan in The Intersection of Animation, Video Games, and Music, edited by Lisa Scoggin and Dana Plank. New York: Routledge, 79–132. Karen M. Cook’s chapter on Xandir P. Wifflebottom explicily deals with queer themes.
On gender coding:
- Austin, Michael, “Orchestrating Difference: Representing Gender in Video Game Music.” In Masculinity at Play, edited by Nicholas Taylor and Gerald Voorhees (London: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2018): 165–183.
- Meléndez, Elisa, “For Those About to Rock: Gender Codes in the Rock Music Video Games Rock Band And Rocksmith,” PhD diss., Florida International University, 2018.
- Mera, Miguel, “Invention/Re-Invention,” Music, Sound and the Moving Image 3, no. 1 (2009): 1–20.
- Yee, Thomas B. “Feminine Themings: The Construction of Musical Gendering in the Final Fantasy Franchise” in The Music of Nobuo Uematsu in the Final Fantasy Series, edited by Richard Anatone (Bristol: Intellect, 2022): 261–290.
Broad ideas of game music, gender and identity:
- Cheng, William, Sound Play: Video Games and the Musical Imagination. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014. Chapter 5 on voice and identity in online games.
- Rietveld, Hillegonda C., and Andrew Lemon, “Female Credit: Excavating Recognition for the Capcom Sound Team,” in The Cambridge Companion to Video Game Music, edited by Melanie Fritsch and Tim Summers (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021), 376–388.
- Tonelli, Chris, “Game Music and Identity,” in The Cambridge Companion to Video Game Music, edited by Melanie Fritsch and Tim Summers (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021), 327–342.
On music, dance and gender in Dance Central:
- Miller, Kiri, Playable Bodies (New York: Oxford University Press, 2017) and “Gaming the System: Gender Performance in Dance Central”, New Media & Society 17 (2015): 829–1003.
With apologies for the late posting of this roundup, thank you firstly to all our Ludo 2018 delegates! Aside from some frustrating but unavoidable travel issues due to poor weather conditions, the conference was a great success! It’s been the first Ludo conference ever held in Germany, and with around 80 participants it was also the biggest!
A special thanks goes out to our wonderful hosts Christoph Hust (Zentrum für Musikwissenschaft Leipzig) and Martin Roth (JGames Initiative Leipzig) and their teams, our fantastic Keynote speakers Kristine Jørgensen, Adele Cutting and Michael Austin, as well as our generous sponsors EA Blog für digitale Spielkultur and Stiftung Digitale Spielekultur.
We’d like to thank all you fabulous people who came to Ludo2018 and helped to make it such a memorable event for us! Thank you for all the excellent talks, discussions, and overall for being a lovely community. We hope to see all of you next year in… well, we will reveal that very soon. Stay tuned!
We’re delighted to share links to the following articles related to Ludo2018.
- Preview on Ludo2018: http://www.gamesweekberlin.com/www-feature-melanie-fritsch/
- The German media education institution Grimme-Institut (a non-profit research and service institution that deals with media and communication) has launched a full dossier on Games and Music (all articles in German language), including:
- A short article and audio interview with Melanie about the Ludo2018 conference conducted by Martin Lorber of the EA Blog für Digitale Spielkultur (German language): https://spielkultur.ea.de/allgemein/8267/
- Ludo2018 conference review by Trevor Rawbone (Melodrive): http://melodrive.com/blog/ludo2018-journey-video-game-music/
- This podcast discusses Ludo2018 and music in games on the basis of Daniel Heinz’ Grimme-Game review: http://pixeldiskurs.de/2018/07/15/pixeldiskurs-podcast-103-das-grosse-audio-quiz-teil-2/.
Other links not directly related to the conference to recent media features:
- Overview: https://www.grimme-game.de/category/musik-sound/
- Radio-feature by Tobias Nowak (WDR 5) about the Grimme-Institut workshop conducted by Jan-Torge Claussen dealing with games and music education during gamescom congress (German language): https://www1.wdr.de/mediathek/audio/wdr5/wdr5-scala-netzkultur/audio-service-netzkultur-spiel-mit-musik-100.html
- Report by Daniel Heinz on the Grimme-Institut workshop conducted by Jan Torge Claussen dealing with games and music education during Gamescom congress (German language): https://www.grimme-game.de/2018/08/29/spiel-mit-musik-workshop-auf-dem-gamescom-congress/
- Interview with Melanie Fritsch and the Sound Architect on Ludomusicology: https://www.thesoundarchitect.co.uk/ludomusicology-melanie-fritsch/
- Tim Summers and other guests on BBC Radio 3’s The Listening Service: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0b0wrpd
- Radio feature with Melanie about game music on Deutschlandfunk (German language): https://www.deutschlandfunkkultur.de/computerspielemusik-wie-man-gute-musik-fuer-ein-pc-spiel.2156.de.html?dram%3Aarticle_id=415928.
We are very excited to announce the official launch of The Society for the Study of Sound and Music in Games (SSSMG)!
The SSSMG is a network that’s been developed by the Ludomusicology Research Group, the North American Conference on Video Game Music, Audio Mostly, and an extensive advisory board of leading academics and practitioners. The aim is to provide a hub to connect together people working on game audio and to support advances in the understanding of sound and music in games.
The SSSMG helps anyone who investigates game sound and music, whether in an academic or professional setting, to discuss the topic together, exchange ideas and information, and keep up-to-date with new research. Anyone can join, and the members are always looking for new approaches to the subject.
SSSMG will make publicly available:
- General news
- General Society contact info
- Links to other affiliated societies/groups
- Events Calendar (view only)
- Newly revised, keyworded and searchable Bibliography
Registered members will have additional access to:
- Network with searchable, keyworded members’ directory
- Submit events for publication on the Calendar
- Share conference presentations and Green OA publications in a subject repository
- Compose and submit news posts
- Contribute to Bibliography Project
Further member benefits and services will be added in the future. Visit www.sssmg.org to find out more!
Contributor: Ryan Thompson (University of Minnesota)
First and foremost, this blog post is announcing the creation of an online forum where we might communicate in a public space about the work that we do, and the things surrounding that work that are of interest to us. I was recently named as the moderator for such a space graciously hosted by the folks at OverClocked ReMix, an “organization dedicated to the appreciation and promotion of video game music as an art form.” While of course we are not specifically dedicated to that end, OCR’s goals certainly intertwine and meet our own goals of developing research and facilitating a greater understanding of audio in digital media.
In addition to having a space for two way discussion of current events in our field, I am hoping to utilize the new forum to maintain active databases of resources, including literature specifically dedicated to game audio (whether written by scholars or industry professionals) and conference announcements, among other things. This helps both researchers focus on research instead of scouring lists of books and articles looking for these types of resources in the first place. Together, we can create a space to discuss game audio in a way that invites people who approach the topic both from academia and from the industry, who have a different set of skills and insights to contribute to discussions surrounding digital media. Game studies of all types are interdisciplinary by definition we can help find those places where music intersects with gameplay, artistic design, computer programming, and countless other aspects of video games. Having a space for people with all of those skill sets to engage in discussion will prove fruitful for everyone involved.
Lastly, as a field, we currently don’t have a well designated space for interested people not specifically connected to academic research to communicate and reach out to us. As OverClocked ReMix has proved over the more than 15 years it has been operating, fan interest in game music continues to be a powerful force both online and at conventions. There are useful ways that researchers can tap into that body of knowledge researchers looking for obscure games or obscure events in game audio could ask questions to a much larger group of game players than their academic peers.
It’s my hope that this new forum helps drive conversations about game audio between all sorts of people who wouldn’t have been in touch as readily before, and that it is just the beginning of how we can partner with organizations larger than ourselves. Come join the conversation about game audio at OverClocked ReMix, and all of us might learn a thing or two from each other in the process.