(Originally posted on 14th April 2013)
This weekend (12 – 13th April) I attended the Ludomusicology Easter Conference at the University of Liverpool. Unfortunately, due to work commitments, I could only attend the Friday session, but it was a very intriguing and educational experience so I thought I’d share a bit of information about it here.
Ludomusicology – the study of video game music – is a very youthful area of academia, with very few universities (Liverpool included) leading the way with such a curious topic. The first thing that struck me was the geographical diversity of those attending, some had come as far as Australia and the United States to present their papers. We also had video calls from others, including keynote speaker Mark Grimshaw, that rounded off the conference’s technological and innovative focal point.
Papers were presented on a array of topics, covering all sorts of games from Pong and the earliest 8 bit incantations, to more recent titles like Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Games and game music were approached with all sorts of methods – the role of storytelling, sexuality, authenticity and exoticism. I was also very grateful to speak to composer Stephen Baysted (Shift 2, The Walking Dead: Assault) about the nature of the industry and the challenges that composers regularly face.
I short, it was exciting to see these kinds of meetings and discussions happening – knowing that video game music is finally undergoing the inspection and appreciation that has been long overlooked and overdue. If you want to learn more about ludomusicology, or are interested in attending one of these conferences, a great place to start would be http://www.ludomusicology.org/