Regular service to resume shortly

we’re going on a break. it’s not you, it’s us.

For the next two weeks, we here at The Phonograph are going to be very busy. We are building ourselves a brand new website, writing the in-depth articles we’ve always wanted to do but never had the time, working with new writers and publishers, and making all those little changes which will make our site just that little bit better.

Yet, we’re not going to leave you bereft of quality (cough cough) blogging. No, Julian’s been off moonlighting this week writing for lovely folk over at Rock Paper Shotgun on the subject of transcribing games…say wah?

In it he says things like:

Gaming is one of the few media without an instructional notation. The other arts have tools to relate concepts into symbols that can be digested at a glance, allowing great detail to be condensed into a conventionalised code. Musicians use musical notation, movie makers – story boards, writers – short hand, linguists – phonetics, and so on. If musicians were stuck with the same methods we use – strategy guides, walkthroughs, and videos – each composition would be an interminably long tome that lost all immediacy and comprehension – “Pluck the G-string on the third fret, then immediately after the A-string on the fourth fret, pause, play the G string again”. The other arts developed their own notation systems, yet we haven’t. Why?

You can read the rest here.

It’s somewhat good stuff. But don’t just take out word for it, here’s what Kirk Hamilton wrote about it over at Kotaku:

At first blush, the article looks similar to the kinds of cool musical analyses that Dan Bruno sometimes does on his blog Cruise Elroy. But keep reading, and you’ll see that Benson is actually transcribing the game like it’s music, drawing on the work of minimalist composer Steve Reich to put Braid’s shifting, backtracking flow into context, building a modified type of music notation in order to express the events on the screen.

He then pushes beyond Braid to other platformers, wondering if we could form a universal form of music-notation… for all games.

So, we’ll be seeing you in two weeks. Till then, happy listening.