UDC 78.04 + 004.42
LBC 85.318 + 77.056с.я92
Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg
TU Dortmund University
A GAME WITH MUSIC OR MUSIC WITH A GAME? ABOUT THE VIDEO GAME KARMAFLOW
Abstract. Over 70 years ago, Theodor W. Adorno and Hanns Eisler philosophized about functional music in their programmatic script Composing for the Films. In spite of all the social criticism that the authors practiced with relish, it was already about the essential—the determination of a meaningful coexistence of synergetically connected art events. With the spread of video games, the question arises again and again: how to combine action and sound without falling prey to Mickey Mousing effect? As one of the youngest branches of music studies, ludomusicology describes a number of musical application scenarios, systematized according to effects and techniques. Their principles are comprehensible—under normal circumstances. With the Karmaflow—The Rock Opera Videogame, however, a project was started that leads to a new configuration between the media: in this game you play, in a manner of speaking, with or against the music itself. Because of its design, Karmaflow deserves to be considered on its own. Additionally, outside the subgroup of “music-based games”, heavy metal music is an exception among video games. The present essay illustrates the specific concept of the game which indeed can be placed in a range between video games and rock operas. The insights gained through (self-) observation are compared with the results of an exploratory survey. The survey was aimed at revealing the influence of sound on the gaming experience. The majority of respondents confirmed the connection between music and gameplay and the effect of musical characterization on some specific decisions. Test subjects, who, due to their preferences, belonged to the target group of game developers, judged differently than the other experiment participants.
Keywords: Karmaflow—The Rock Opera Videogame, Dragonforce, Cradle of Filth, Epica, functional music, video game music, heavy metal, symphonic metal, rock opera, gameplay, effects of music