Emphatic and Ecological Sounds in Gameworld Interfaces
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Original versionIn Miguel Mera, Ronald Sadoff, Ben Winters (eds) 2017. The Routledge Companion to Screen Music and Sound, 72-84 https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315681047
This chapter discusses the weaknesses and strengths of the concepts and theories that are commonly used to understand game sound, and describes a gameplay-sensitive, ecological perspective based on the idea of gameworld interface. It presents central issues in game-sound research with a focus on a game-sensitive perspective that stresses the gameworld as an ecological world construct ruled by game mechanics and designed for gameplay. The chapter outlines the most important recurring viewpoints and theories, discusses the strengths of an ecological perspective in understanding the dynamic aspects of game sound, and presents an analytical framework that reflects this perspective. It highlights the gameworld as a dynamic environment meant for interaction, only sounds that support the player's engagement with the gameworld. Emphatic sounds are used in situations where ecological sounds do not communicate clearly enough, or when the player is not present at the same location as the event to which the sound refers.