Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Halloween, and music in games

So Halloween is come again, bring with it many things, chocolate, pumpkins and all that. Unfortunately I have a mild case of food poisoning, so I can't indulge in all that :(

It also means a yearly surge of traffic for one of my older flash game, Graverobber. I did this back in 2002 and it was one of my first attempts at flash programming, being an alteration of another game for which I had only done the artwork for. It's showing it's age and the highscore table broke when my hosting provided upgraded my database, something I haven't gotten around to fixing yet. Despite this it still has a real attraction, and my stats have already shown a jump in the number of people viewing it over the past few days as it get linked for it's Halloween theme.

The gameplay is fairly sluggish and the art isn't my best work. What make the game in my opinion is the music, which is a loop of 'Monster Mash' by 'Boris' Pickett and the Crypt-kickers. It's a loop I shamelessly stole, which has meant I haven't been able to try to market the game and make any money off of it myself, and it makes the game far more fun than it would otherwise be. You can see the same effect with another of my games, Sperms which is really jus t a one-liner with the music as it's pivot.

The throwaway nature of flash games means that a good/catchy soundtrack can easily make or break a game. (Indeed, a bad or obnoxious soundtrack combined with the absence of a mute button will have people closing the game quicker than nearly anything else, and for the last few years I've made sure that there is a sound toggle on every single game I produce.) You only need one aspect of the game to appeal to people for it so be successful, be that the main character or the gameplay or the sound. To be playable a game needs coding and artwork, but the sound is an extra. Because of this it is often left till last, but it shouldn't be.

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