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Beep: A Documentary History of Game Sound (2016)

Beep is a documentary history of game sound, from the Victorian penny arcades through pinball and the video games right up to 2015.

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Beep is a documentary history of game sound, from the Victorian penny arcades through pinball and the video games right up to 2015. Beep shows how technology and creativity combined to create some of the most memorable music of our time. Featuring major game composers, sound designers, programmers, and voice actors and directors, Beep explores all aspects of the auditory side of games.

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game | sound | pinball | arcade | designer | See All (12) »


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15 March 2016 (USA)  »

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CAD 60,000 (estimated)
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Best for those people already involved with making music for games.
17 December 2016 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Beep looks at the history of how sound has been used in arcade gaming. It reviews the experiences of the people who had to make the decisions, both technical and creative in order to get the best user experience they could from the hardware that was available at the time.

It uses an historical narrative starting with sound in arcade games even before electronics were used. It drills through the various platforms that became available to the industry as the technology and industry evolved. It interviews the very people who created some iconic games.

The film is divided into parts covering the various levels of computer hardware. In these parts, there seem to be two difference kinds of sequences.

At first, they briefly describe the era in question with some slides and graphics, then are a series of in-depth interviews with the people who worked on the games of that era.

These interviews are about 98% of the documentary.

The problem that I had, however, was that it seemed to be oriented toward those who had a deep knowledge of the games of these periods, the music that was in the games and which of these people worked on which games. The interviews are personal accounts of these creators experiences.

The presentation could have been greatly improved with some editing.

Suggestions:

Greatly expand the "intro / explanation" parts and provide some recognizable examples of the titles and how the music / sound of these games fits in with the interviews which will then be shown.

THEN, and this would be so easy, as the interviewees are shown talking, include in their "title" the games they worked on. This was perhaps the most frustrating part as I was tempted to just watch this on my PC and google stuff as the video played to look up these people and what they worked on. We needed to see more screens of the games played and examples of their music. There were some. I needed more.

In the end, if you're NOT actually in the business of making music for video games watching this doc is like finding yourself in the middle of conversation between two people deeply involved in a hobby and you're NOT into that much.

So while the subject and the interviews are interesting, the lack of other information to give it context makes it too dry for people outside of the business. I stopped watching after about 20 minutes.


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