A Kickstarter campaign launched by Karen Collins, a researcher at the University of Waterloo in Canada, seeks to give video game sound the attention it deserves. The campaign seeks to fund “Beep,” a documentary all about the history of sound in video game, from the earliest beeps and buzzes to the modern orchestral masterpieces that lend so much depth and character to the games they serve.
Sound is one of those ambient touches in gaming that frequently goes unappreciated. When it’s done well, you hardly notice it: It just falls into place in the background, subtly improving your experience. When it’s done badly, it’s often all you can notice, and not in a good way.
“Beep” highlights the composers and sound designers responsible for bringing sound effects and music to gaming. The filmmakers plan to travel around the world to talk to sound designers in studios in Japan, the U.S., and the U.K. to present a thorough picture of the history of video game sound. A huge number of people have already agreed to interviews if the project is funded.
Part nostalgia for the sounds of gaming-years-gone-by, part platform to give credit to an underappreciated facet of gaming, “Beep” promises to be a very interesting project. The journey of game sound from simple notes to complex music mirrors the development of games themselves from childish pastimes to serious all-ages entertainment on par with any commercial artform.
28 days from the end of its campaign, “Beep” already has close to 700 backers and has reached more than half of its stated goal. Backer rewards include copies of the documentary itself, several soundtracks, t-shirts and, at higher levels, a personal meeting and meal with the filmmakers.
The campaign is scheduled to end on September 30th. To see more, visit its Kickstarter page.