Aural postcard – LANcouver

It’s been a little while for aural postcards for me … And I’ve actually collected some good ones but haven’t put any up. This weekend was LANcouver, a LAN gaming event at an old warehouse behind Great Northern Way campus…It was a rich and amazing aural atmosphere that included pretty much drag queen techno from the 90s blaring over the general hum-drum of excitement over various gaming events, mixing in with the muted soundscapes of each major game – Starcraft II being the, well, star of the show, Mario Cart, as well as the new Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter II. To the side were the magic and warhammer miniture figure battle games, encased in a curiously quiet, introspective soundscape broken only by the sound of flipping pages through large paper instruction manuals, measureing precise angles and moving around the change physical perspective.

One of the recordings I made on the last day (hear below) was inspired by the early morning atmosphere of a Counter Strike (or Halo or something rather) raid in the back of the space where one guy – the “leader” presumably periodically shouted either platitudes or colourful insults and exclamations at the game and his co-gamer friends. This organic soundscape was – from where i stood – mixing in with a front display of a Counter Strike walkthrough on a large projection screen, narrated live by a game commentator, amplified and played through speakers to a small audience, and at the same time being recorded for subsequent broadcast. The simultaneous naturalness of live-amplified speech and its redundancy only contributed to a uniquely gaming space sonic environment, in addition to the very particular vocal style of narrating a walkthrough. A unique and interesting acoustic community with obvious strain of power dynamics of voice in the case of co-op mission players, and an un-imposing style of game narration; the mixture of situated aurality and broadcast-ready voice; and a backdrop of techno, along with generous helpings of pure guarana energy drinks – errr..unforgettable! 🙂


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