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Koji Kondo keynote

by rawmeatcowboy
07 March 2007
GN 1.0 / 2.0

I am going to do my best to live blog this keynote. I am using my Verizon Wireless Everywhere card, and I have a crappy signal. Keynote hasn’t started yet, and I only have half of my battery left. If I die out, it’s either because of low battery, or no wifi!

Mr. Kondo is speaking about rhythm, balance, and interactivity in video game music. He is starting with rhythms that are easily recognizable. It is important to work with these rhythms and time them with the gameplay as well.

Clips of Super Mario Bros. are being shown to futher main points of game music. Mario’s running and jumping were taken into consideration when creating the main tune. It is important for the music to reflect the unique ideas of the game. Gameplay progression and music progression go hand in hand. Once main details of a game are recognized, music can begin to be created. It is extremely important to create a rhythm that doesn’t get tiresome.

Mario music is action based, Zelda music is focused on heightening your surroundings. A main goal is to make the music in each game easily recognizable. Music should tell the player where they have travelled, and what to expect.

Mr. Kondo is moving onto balance. The balance between sound effects and music. Left and right positioning balance. Sound effects in the level dictate the notes used in a song. Important sound effects should be the most clear, other sound effects should blend more. Musical pieces have to blend from one area to the next. Game select music is much more simple than that found in the main game. It is supposed to be something short and sweet, and with a good loop. Different arrangements on the same theme help tell the player they have recieved a power up. The star theme is being used as an example.

Music has to be pictured as one giant song for the game. Game music doesn’t follow the necessary beginning middle and end of most traditional music. Elements from songs translate to other portions of levels, as well as boss fights and more. Mr. Kondo finishes four or five songs before he turns in his work. He wants a group of song to represent a theme for the game. It’s important to see how one song plays off of another.

Interactivity is the last main point of game music composition. The real time nature of games directly relates to the music. This relates directly to the media of video games. Mr. Kondo is showing clips from Mario to showcase direct relationships, Yoshi riding Mario.

Mr. Kondo is showing examples of adding elements to music depending on the situation. We have seen Mario 64’s cavern theme as an example, and Twilight Princess’ town setting as well.

Now Mr. Kondo is showing how music originates from the position of an important character, such as Skull Kid or Shadow Mario.

Mr. Kondo is talking about the random arrangements of the Hyrule Field theme. His purpose of changing the song so many different times during gameplay was to keep things fresh, seeing that you will visit the same main area many times. Character conditions also change musical arrangements. Such as an enemy coming into play.

Music can also effect gameplay, such as the enemies in New Super Mario Bros. The enemies will jump to the chorus parts in the game. We are being shown an example.

Interactive gameplay music can added multiple layers to game soundtracks. They can effect the way the game plays, feels, and reacts to you. This reaction to what the player does is unique to video games.

That’s the end, back to the show floor! In an hour or two we will get back to the hotel and get as many updates done as we can. Then off to EA’s party to see their Wii ideas!