6-2 | Playing Along: DigitalGames, YouTube, and Virtual Performance

Book Review

Playing Along: Digital Games, YouTube, and Virtual Performance

Kiri Miller
New York: Oxford University Press, 2012. Notes, references, index. 272 pp. $27.95 paper. ISBN: 9780199753468

by Sara M. Grimes

First Paragraph:

From Double Dutch to limbo competitions, games that meld music, performance, and play are easy to find. In more recent years, the rise and spread of digital technologies have given way to a whole new, and ever-widening, range of practices that combine, recombine, and expand upon this tradition. This is particularly true of digital games (video games, arcade games, and computer games) in which music has long fulfilled a core function, both in terms of adding significantly to games’ narratives and aesthetics, as well as providing an intuitive way of giving feedback to players. Some of the early arcade games had soundtracks that contained hidden clues about the right time to make a particular move or that forewarned players they were running out of time or were about to experience a change of speed. More recently, rhythm games, such as PaRappa the Rapper (1996) and Dance Dance Revolution (1998), have incorporated beat as a core component of their game-play mechanics—where a player’s moves are only successful if made in musical time. As digital games have become more social (and more socially acceptable), events such as weekly Rock Band competitions at the local pub and sharing a musical creation made in the game Sound Shapes (2012) with thousands of other players online are increasingly common.