So I’m addicted to a new little game – a pretty, catchy ‘farming’ game. The graphics and joyful atmosphere do a lot to draw one in, and if I may add, the game mechanics are clever and do a lot to hook you. Before I knew it, I had been playing for 4 hours and had spent $20 of my own dollars on in iOS game!
But this is about the game soundscape. I have been fascinated for a little while by the soundscapes of farming games. Like the brightly colourful graphics, naive world in which happy workers plow fields and the sun is always shining, the sound usually contains matching elements – a mellow, uplifting melody in some form of polyphonic orchestration in major tonality; the sound effects are sparse and typically triggered by click or touch. They are usually a variation between representational sound (e.g. liquid sound for interacting with water) and a timbral riff or blimp – some sort of abstract short sample that affectively represents the game action. What hasn’t clearly been given much thought is the flow of game sound – since sound samples are triggered in close succession in farming games this results at times in a bit of a harsh cacophony of interrupted sound samples. Some of the sounds that are likely to be most common are most shrill-sounding by nature, which again isn’t the smartest design. That said, the overall feel is addictively joyful and uplifting.