PLAY ALONG: VIDEO GAME MUSIC AS METAPHOR AND METONYMY By ZACHARY ...

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PLAY ALONG: VIDEO GAME MUSIC AS METAPHOR AND METONYMY By ZACHARY ...

Publié le : jeudi 21 juillet 2011
Lecture(s) : 80
Nombre de pages : 70
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 PLAY ALONG: VIDEO GAME MUSIC AS METAPHOR AND METONYMY              By  ZACHARY NATHAN WHALEN               A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS  UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA  2004
 
 
 
Copyright 2004  by  Zach Whalen
 
 
  
 
 
 
To Stacy—partner, friend, lover, wife.
 
 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
I thank Jane Douglas and Donald Ault for their tireless investment in this project;
the Graduate Game Studies group for moral support; and, most importantly, my wife for
her patience and cookies.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
  page  ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................................................................................. iv LIST OF FIGURES ........................................................................................................... vi LIST OF OBJECTS ......................................................................................................... viii ABSTRACT....................................................................................................................... ix CHAPTER 1 STUDYING VIDEO GAMES .....................................................................................1 Introduction...................................................................................................................1 Context..........................................................................................................................5  2 FRAMEWORK ..........................................................................................................12 Immersion, Engagement, and Flow ............................................................................12 A Linguistics Model ...................................................................................................16 Game Genre and Music..............................................................................................20  3 FORMS.......................................................................................................................23 Ancestral Forms..........................................................................................................23 Perspectives on Animation and Causality ..................................................................31 Examples.....................................................................................................................34 Super Mario Brothers..........................................................................................35 Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time......................................................................41 Silent Hill.............................................................................................................45  4 CONCLUSION...........................................................................................................54 LIST OF REFERENCES ...................................................................................................55 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .............................................................................................60
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 LIST OF FIGURES
Figure page  1 Relationship of the metaphoric (paradigmatic) axis of language to the metonymic (syntagmatic) axis demonstrating a reading of the first two levels ofSuper Mario Brothers....................................................................................................................17 2 An example of mickey mousing in Disney’sThe Skeleton Dance..........................28 3 Mickey rides into town on an ostrich inGallopin’ Gauchos...................................30 4 Mickey flips a cigarette into the air and catches it with his disembodied teeth to impress Minnie .........................................................................................................30 5 Regular (small) Mario jumping produces a musical phrase which is repeated continuously as one plays the game .........................................................................36 6 When “Super Mario” jumps, his mickey mousing effect becomes exactly one octave lower .............................................................................................................36 7 Mario dying”..........................................................................................................37 8 In the Underworld the music changes to match the shift of location that has occurred in the story-line..........................................................................................38 9 Excerpt from arrangement of Underworld theme for piano.....................................39 10 The space of the castle levels is even further compressed than the Underworld levels.........................................................................................................................40 11 Approximate score for castle level...........................................................................40 12 Playing the ocarina inThe Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. ...............................42 13 Scale of base Ocarina note positions........................................................................43 14 “Saria’s Song” fromLZ:OT.....................................................................................43 15 “Normal” school building.Silent Hill© 1999 Konami, Sony Computer Entertainment Japan .................................................................................................47 16 Same space in the school—radically altered ............................................................47
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Silence vs. “danger music” inRE:CV......................................................................48
“That’s strange. It’s getting darker”.........................................................................50
Further down the alley.Silent Hill...........................................................................50
Further still. Organ sound seems to trigger when Harry steps over puddle of blood50
End of the alley. “What’s going on here?”..............................................................51
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 LIST OF OBJECTS
Object page  1 Sound clip fromSkeleton Dancecorresponding to Figure 2. ..................................29 2 Sound clip of cigarette toss, corresponding to Figure 4 ...........................................31 3 Sound clip of “small Mario” jump effect .................................................................36 4 Sound clip Super Mario jump effect ........................................................................37 5 Sound clip of failure” cadence...............................................................................38 6 Musical excerpt from “Overworld Theme”..............................................................38 7 Sound clip from underworld ....................................................................................39 8 Sound clip of music in a castle level ........................................................................40 9 Lost Woods Theme”...............................................................................................44 10LZ:OT“Danger” theme— the blending of safety state/danger state musical metaphors.................................................................................................................44 11 Sound clip of ‘normal’ school with basic, ambient soundtrack ...............................47 12 Sound clip of altered school with aggressively threatening soundtrack ..................47 13 Sound clip corresponding to Figure 17 ....................................................................50 14 Sound clip to accompany Figure 18 .........................................................................50 15 Sound clip to accompany Figure 19 .........................................................................51 16 Final sound clip from alley sequence .......................................................................51  
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 Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts PLAY ALONG: VIDEO GAME MUSIC AS METAPHOR AND METONYMY By Zachary Nathan Whalen May 2004
Chair: J. Yellowlees Douglas Major Department: English This thesis argues for an approach to studying video game music such that video game music can be seen as an integral part of games’ overall semantic structure. The termsmetaphorandmetonymyare borrowed from linguistics to describe two key functions of video game music. First, the metaphoric function of video game music provides a sense of space, characterization, and atmosphere in a game. It is also the way music in games can be frightening or can evoke particular moods. Second, the metonymic function of video game music is that which upholds the syntactic structure of the game by compelling the player’s involvement in progressing the game’s narrative. For example, game music supplies readers with clues about approaching enemies, therefore giving the players an edge and an incentive to keep playing. These two functions are also explored in the context of a discussion about video game playing as a state of “immersion,” “engagement,” or “flow” (ideas derived from  schema theory and cognitive linguistics) which suggests that an ideal state of pleasurable gaming is something like an act of creation or empowerment. Also, these cognitive
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theories are supported with research and studies aimed at how viewers perceive and
interpret narrative information from basic shapes moving on a screen, and how different
musical accompaniments to those shapes relate to emotional interpolation or
anthropomorphism of the perceived actors.
Cartoon music is also a key context for video game music, especially in the way
that certain games use the same “mickey mousing” effect of synchronizing the
soundtrack with on-screen actions. Finally, three games are analyzed with the tools of
metaphor and metonymy to see how dominant game types relate to each other. One
conclusion drawn from this analysis is that Survival Horror games tend to exaggerate
conventions of older games to the point that the experience of playing games likeSilent
Hillmetaphor and metonymy, therefore, begins to shedcan be rather frightening.  Using
light on some of the implicit tensions between game genres that keep the field of games
interesting and exciting as an area of study.
 
 
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CHAPTER 1 STUDYING VIDEO GAMES As recent attention in Associated Press stories1and a New York Times article attest,2is beginning to emerge from its murky status as a “an academicvideo game study ghetto.” Video games provide rich opportunity for interdisciplinary study, but at least one aspect of video games remains to a large extent undiscovered. Music in video games has thus far remained a tangential footnote to studies that attempt to totalize the medium. While game studies is becoming increasingly assimilated into current strains of academic discourse, “grand unified theories” of games fail to account for the processes by which the musical soundtrack of a game affects the user’s experience. Introduction In this thesis, I attempt to develop a workable theory of video game music that avoids certain formalist structures of game analysis, and instead approaches the question of music as a part of the narrative component of games. While I intend to steer clear of the ludology vs. narratology debate, certain assumptions and allowances must be made in my approach that will ultimately state a position; but as the necessarily limited scope of this inquiry requires a certain focus, I hope to move quickly beyond the metacritical questions paralyzing certain conversations in the field.3 Accordingly, my conclusion is
                                                 1 Wadhams, Nick. “Of ludology and narratology.”Associated Press.14 February 2004. 2Erard, Michael. “The Ivy-Covered Console.”New York Times.26 February 2004: G1. 3Some examples of this paralysis can be seen in the volumeFirst Person Shooter: New Media as Story, Performance, and Gamewhere much ink is spilled defending certain approaches to studying video games. The fact that these metacritical questions still relate to political biases within the academy currently
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