1. Musician Chris Schlarb, based in Long Beach California, became involved with the independent gaming scene through his record label Asthmatic Kitty. Swedish designer Nicklas "Nifflas" Nygren had been sent a copy of the musician's experimental album Twilight and Ghost Stories, leading to a collaboration that quickly ballooned in scope.

    Though Nifflas typically writes his own music using synthetic instruments, "Night Game" was intended to feature live acoustic recordings. Centering on a glowing, rolling ball that the player guided past obstacles in nocturnal, outdoor settings, the concept became the basis for a multi-year project. Following its nomination at the Independent Games Festival Awards, it was renamed NightSky and was recently published by Nicalis Inc. for the PC.

    In this interview, the musician takes a look back at the making of the puzzle game with an emphasis on the design decisions underlying the score. The soundtrack album, which received an honorable mention in this year's IGF Excellence in Audio category, can be streamed in full on Bandcamp. It appears together with the composer's both highly personal and collaborative original albums Psychic Temple and Twilight and Ghost Stories.

    Chris Schlarb

    Nifflas Games

    Videogame Music in Context

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  2. Conversation with Josh Nuernberger on Gemini Rue. Part of an Indie Games Podcast installment with Matt Gilgenbach and Mark Essen (Messhof).

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  3. Conversation with Mark Essen (Messhof) on Nidhogg and Flywrench. Part of an Indie Games Podcast installment with Matt Gilgenbach and Josh Nuernburger.

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  4. Videogame Music in Context on Kickstarter

    Q&A on

    Southend Interactive is an independently financed game studio based in Malmö, Sweden. According to manager Fredrik Erlandsson, the company has refrained from entering their products in the Independent Games Festival because they see it more as a forum for less experienced devs. However the design methodologies underlying Windows Phone 7 and Xbox Live Arcade puzzler ilomilo have embodied an independent spirit.

    "Someone comes up with an idea and presents it to the team," says composer Daniel Olsén. "If people like it, we’ll start working on a pitch to show to publishers. We also have something called “hippie day” when we sit down in small groups and try to come up with ideas for pitches. Usually, whoever comes up with the idea is the one who stays in charge of the project later on. That’s pretty much it."

    Close to one hour (not all of it is used for the mobile version) of music has been written for the game, which is out now for the Windows mobile device and will see an official release on XBLA in early January. A full-length remix album is also in the works, care of art director Simon Flesser. We caught up with the game's composer to hear about his music score, which in its endearing use of eclectic instrumentation and imprecise harmony lends a childlike quality to the overall game design.

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  5. Goto80 partnered with Autoboy on the 2008 Commodore 64 game HT Gold. The re-appropriation of old school hockey game Hat Trick, programmed to go haywire and gradually fall apart, was on display at the recent Chicago GLI.TC/H art installation. The Swedish musician, responsible for chip music albums like the well received Commodore Grooves, is himself critical of artistic pretensions. When invited to perform on Rampljuset, a Swedish television program, he wore a lettuce suit.

    Raquel Meyers collaborated with multimedia artist Bram van der Poel on THE GREAT ADVENTURE OF WH-TVR. As the paradoxical title suggests, the goals offered to the player of "finding the discs and feeding the dogs" elude any kind of satisfying resolution. Raquel's debut DVD release from lightrhythm visuals, useless yet crucial, will be available soon. As with her Tokyo Blip Festival performance with Saitone of 8-Bit Thriller, the visuals rendered in the low-fi aesthetic of early home computers are filled with beautiful and grotesque imagery.

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