Sit still and quietly listen to Alien: Isolation’s soundscapes


Andy Kelly, the fella from cheery RPS fanzine PC Gamer who’s behind pleasant ‘look at pretty video game locations’ video series Other Places, has kicked off a new subseries focused on the sounds of virtuaplaces. Which is a splendid idea. Video game sound is easily overlooked because 1) you can’t actually look at it 2) you’re trained to appreciate ambient images more than ambient sounds 3) it’s hard to hear when you–you reading this–are looping Drowning Pool’s smash hit Bodies on Winamp. Which is a shame. A soundscape can be beautiful, bringing what we see to life and becoming a location to enjoy in itself. So Kelly is tromping into video games to make field recordings, starting with Alien: Isolation.

“Sound design is an aspect of game design I think is massively overlooked, so I thought I’d do an Other Places spin-off series specifically about it,” Kelly explained on Twitter.

“These aren’t for sitting and watching like a traditional episode: more the kind of thing you’d have on in the background, maybe.”

Tune in and space out, maaan. I hear forward to the next in Kelly’s series.

He also noted he was partially inspired by those videos looping sound from the USS Enterprise. I’m more a Ten Forward gal myself, partially because it help tunes my tinnitus out.

The best-sounding place I’ve been was inside an MRI scanner. It’s like being trapped in an orchestra, if your definition of music stretches to include grinding machinery and metal. Which mine did, thanks to a youth spent listening to shouty Germans beating up washing machines. The technician kept scolding me for tapping my foot to the ‘beat’. Very good. I highly recommend developing a condition which necessitates an MRI scan.

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