The Musicality of 140: Tempo, Rhythm and Structure

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This paper explores relationships between video games and music through a close reading of the minimalistic platform game 140 (Carlsen, 2014). Of particular interest to this investigation are concepts of tempo, rhythm and structure, and how these ideas can be extended to discuss the immediate case study as well as video games as a medium. Most importantly, this analysis is concerned primarily with these elements in a performative, spatio-temporal sense as opposed to an expression of sonic qualities.

Comparisons between video games and other forms of media, while certainly valuable, can become problematic as the interactive nature of games is inherently unique. While cinema or literary texts can be seen as interactive, it is the explicit nature of the interactivity that games manifest which sets them apart from other disciplines. It is in this sense, that commonality can be found between games and music through the act of play.

140 facilitates a unique dialogue on this topic as it is a game that is intensely musical while also functioning outside of some of the precincts of traditional music games, providing a distinctive lens for analysis without being distracted by its own aesthetics. Evidence of this can be seen in the game’s design, aesthetics, mechanics and spatiality—a game where the player becomes part of a greater performance, enacting the musicality of space through play.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Creative Technologies
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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