There is a short list of perfectly brilliant things in this world. This is one of them.
I need something explained to me, because it is infuriating. I continuously encounter people who wholly disregard music from games like Journey or Assassin’s Creed or Uncharted, so on, so forth, just because it’s “video game music”. Most of them then proceed to crank some kind of techno or dubstep garbage that arguably sounds more like stereotypical “video game music” than anything that’s actually been in most games for the last 20 years. Hell, a lot of what they then put on actually samples old video games.
I way listening to the track linked above. It’s “I Was Born For This” by Austin Wintory from the game Journey. Someone asked what it was when it finished. They seemed genuinely interested, so I obliged. When I mentioned it’s origin, they immediately said “Oh, it’s from a video game, it’s not real music.” They then proceeded to blast “ZenZero” by Thriftworks. Go ahead and listen.
Music is highly personal, I understand that. I’m not even opposed to music like Thriftworks (though, arguably, some of it is pretty terrible but that’s true of anything), but to totally discount entire works of brilliantly arranged, composed, and performed music just because it appeared in a video game, regardless of it’s content or merits, especially when the argument is backed by the music linked above, is so asinine to me it defies description.
There was recently an article published on Kotaku.com, a video game website, written by Nathan Peters. It was a description of his experience as a contract employee in the video game industry; specifically in the QA department of Certain Affinity, a studio that worked on multiplayer aspects of Halo 4. The summary of the article is that if you’re looking to be involved in the video game industry you should never be a contract employee. In fact, it goes so far as state that “It’s time for gaming’s contractors to strike.” Never mind that this statement is immediately preceded by a sentence that starts with “I freelanced…” Yeah. In any case, you can read the entire article here.
So here’s another viewpoint.
I’ve been a freelancer in the video game industry for over ten years, primarily in special events and experience marketing. In that time, I have worked alongside some of the most talented and influential people in the industry, helped produce some of the most amazing shows the industry has ever seen, and launched some of the products and brands that have reshaped the modern video game experience. I don’t think I need to go into crazy detail here. (You can jump over to the Work section of this site and take a look if you’re interested.) In nearly all of these instances I was the same kind of contract worker described by Nathan. I have experienced a lot of the same frustrations that he describes, a lot of the same situations, the difficulties, the contributions, the promises, and so on. I believe there are a few fundamental differences in our attitudes towards those experiences, but these are attitudes that only develop over time.