The Norwood Suite

Making videogames inspired by New York’s musical improv scene

Greg Heffernan (aka Cosmo D) is making videogames unlike anyone else right now. He attributes it to two things: his early efforts to visualize music, and his background among the New York music scene. The first game he made, Saturn V (2014), turned the track of the same name by Heffernan’s band Archie Pelago into a virtual space. It was meant as a creative experiment: Heffernan said that he always thought of the music he created as a window into his head. By turning “Saturn V” into a 3D space he calcified that idea. Players could wander around a “vertical…

Adi Holzer Werksverzeichnis 899 Satchmo (Louis Armstrong)

Digital Soloists: Jazz and the videogame score

Rain gently pours outside the window. The detective crosses the room, bottle and glass in hand, and sits on the couch. He stares at the portrait of a beautiful woman. She’s the victim of the crime he’s investigating. A sense of mysterious infatuation permeates the room, emphasized by David Raksin’s score for Laura (1944). The famous apartment scene, a classic of 1940’s film noir, could only achieve its status with the help of music. Laura’s main theme is appreciated not just for its functional aspect in the film, but for its quality as a well-written tune on its own terms.…


Gone Home programmer announces a gorgeous game about manifest destiny

“One describes a tale best by telling the tale. You see? The way one describes a story, to oneself or to the world, is by telling the story. It is a balancing act and it is a dream. The more accurate the map, the more it resembles the territory. The most accurate map possible would be the territory, and thus would be perfectly accurate and perfectly useless. The tale is the map that is the territory. You must remember this.” – Neil Gaiman, American Gods American roads tell stories. From Huck Finn’s trek across socioeconomic boundaries to Kerouac’s rhythmic ode to a…


Welcome to the terrifying virtual world of nightmare jazz

The intersection of jazz and grotesque virtual people needn’t exist. But it does—it’s too late to stop it now. The two distant subjects don’t meet anywhere else (to my knowledge) except on Swedish jazz student Simon Fransen’s YouTube channel. He has brought them together through common interest to a creative place of his own making that he says is “dedicated to jazz where nothing and everything makes sense!”  made to produce music out of pulling their bodies apart  What his “Jam of the Week” series entails is videos of (mostly) classic jazz songs rigidly recreated with sketchy and often sped-up electronic…


Go ghost-hunting in Geisterblut, a free-jazz blast of a videogame

Geisterblut is fucking nuts. Being “fucking nuts” appears to be its raison d’etre—its final screen, which you can reach in just a minute or two, hammers this home—but it’s not “trying to be fucking nuts” in the manner of, say, a Russell Brand bit. It is, rather, a free-jazz skronk, a noisy freakout of a videogame, and if I’m being a bit vague here that’s by design. It’s no fun to spoil an act of improvisation.  Designed by nuprahtor for the game jam Ludum Dare 32, the game is ostensibly about hunting for ghosts. I’ll say this: you’ve got a gun,…