Earlier this week, I found myself wondering if these Game Fridays are worthwhile. Then I went to a museum exhibition yesterday featuring a computer interactive component with a lousy interface, and thought, Yes. There is still plenty for us to learn about content delivery and engagement from the gaming world.
This week, an audio mixing game called Break in the Road. Like many DJ games, you have access to many audio pieces which you can lay on multiple tracks, mash up, etc., until you have your personal musical masterpiece. But Break in the Road has a twist. Instead of those audio bits being immediately at your disposal, you have to go get them. You wander the streets with a microphone, an audio voyeur on the loose to pick up whatever you can find. A woman humming in the window. Pinball machines from an arcade. Laundry rolling over itself.
Conceptually, I like this notion that the game makes you work to "find" the pieces you will use to create music. From one perspective, this could be seen as annoying--why not give the user immediate access to the pieces? Because A Break in the Road privileges the process of acquiring sound elements (and appreciating urban sounds) as part of music-making. And, as I've been pondering with respect to intimacy, there's something to be said for getting engaged in the process, establishing your relationship with content so you can use it more meaningfully.
There are minor things that are less loveable about this game, namely its metric for success and its gendered representation of music-makers. But on the plus side, you can also email your musical creations to friends when you're done. Send me something good!