Gaming

'Beep': A Kickstarter project about the history of game sound and music

"Beep" will be a feature-length documentary film and book of game sound and music from the mechanical arcades through today's orchestras.

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Sarah Dockwray

I'm not a video game player, but when I heard about Karen Collins' Kickstarter project "Beep: A Documentary History of Video Game Music & Sound," I wanted to learn more. Collins has already put together a great team to make this documentary a reality. She's the Canada Research Chair in Interactive Audio at the Games Institute, University of Waterloo, a freelance sound designer, and has written/edited two books, "From Pac-Man to Pop Music," and "The Oxford Handbook of Interactive Audio."

Collins grew up playing Pong clones and Atari 2600s, and she still has vivid memories of the sounds; the people who created the sounds are her heroes. She laments that almost no one knows their names, and says she hopes this documentary will bring them to light.

She already has interview commitments from the game illuminati: Marty O'Donnell (Myth, Destiny, Halo); Tommy Tallarico (Video Games Live, Advent Rising); Brad Fuller (Donkey Kong, Millipede, Marble Madness, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom); Winifred Phillips (Assassin's Creed Liberation, God of War, Little Big Planet 2); Allister Brimble (Project-X, Superfrog, Mortal Kombat, Alien Breed, Terminator 2); check the Kickstarter page to see the complete roster. Collins is also seeking to preserve these interviews for future generations of gamers.

The "Beep" film will run 90 minutes, but a lot of the material that doesn't make it into the film will be shared with Kickstarter backers on the website. So if you have a favorite composer, you'll be able to watch the whole interview. The interviews will also be transcribed for the accompanying "Beep" book.

"Beep" Kickstarter pledges start at $5; $10 buys a digital download of the finished film when it's released, which is planned for March 2016. There are "Beep" posters and T-shirts, and lots of other cool stuff.