links for 2006-11-07

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About the Gears of War ad - a few years ago with a prior computer I was sitting around playing Quake 2, or perhaps Half-Life. One of the features of this computer, which I accidentally destroyed by trying to be clever with CMOS, was its 4-slot CD drive, which was notable for switching disks whenever it felt like it and rarely switching disks when it might be useful.

So I penetrate into the heart of the monster compound, or whatever was going on, and as I drop into some trench for cover and start hoofing toward a nearby objective, the sound of the world changes; the effects continue, but instead of the grind and clank of whatever the background was, a few mournful acoustic guitar chords spill out, aimless, and lope ahead into a plucky rhythm. The moment was still, and feel of the game changed so completely that the hair on my arms tingled and pricked up. I think it's Starcraft that sets its opening invasion animation to an opera track? This was positively poignant, and I was amazed that a developer had taken such a fantastic risk, and succeeded with it so brilliantly.

It turned out to be the CD drive randomly realizing that there was a Professor and Maryann CD in there, and deciding to play it over the mayhem. It's an amazing effect, trying out calm and sweet and quiet music over the chaos of shooters - of a sudden, you feel almost like your character could actually be fighting for something worth saving, in the game frame.

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This page contains a single entry by Paul published on November 7, 2006 7:20 AM.

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