Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Blast from the Past

IMG_2414I visited the Orlando History Center this past weekend.  They are hosting a special exhibit called “Games People Play” going through the history of video games.  Sadly, I was disappointed by the latter half of the exhibit.  I was hoping for more detailed exhibits on significant moments in games past.  The first three exhibits were fun though.  They had a working pinball machine from 1966, called Central Park made by Gottlieb.

What does this have to do with game music analysis?  Well not much.  This game has two sounds produced acoustically (not electronically!).  There is a bell that rings every time you score points.  For every multiple of 100 pointes, the monkey on the backboard rings the bell you can see in the picture.  The two bells are tuned very dissonant to each other and both have a lot of overtones.

I was intrigued by the sound of the score reaching 100.  An score-hungry player would be focused on the playfield and the ball so much that he would not have much of a chance to see the score board.  The use of a sound indicator at every 100 point mark gave the player some indication as to his progress in the game.

It goes to show that sound has been used in games very early on as an indicator to the player of an event or situation the player would want to be made aware of.