Discussion Forum

Hall of Music: Not Quite SoundCloud

You've probably noticed the link on this site called The Hall of Music. It is what it is. The name is based on the final part of the seventh game in the overall ZZT series for Super ZZT, called The Monster Zoo.

It has the same name because it serves roughly the same purpose. The original Hall of Music wasn't even necessary to visit as part of Monster Zoo. By the time you make it to the final level, you're just screwing around in the jacuzzi and getting your final rent paid.

The Hall of Music in that game was a reward for getting through the game. You get to relax, and experiment. And so you venture off to the side, and hey, what's this? Cool! Free music.

The game Monster Zoo had a whole Disney Land vibe going for it. If some of the Sherman and Sherman music didn't serve as an obvious tip-off, the bright colors, the carefully choreographed attractions, and the compartmentalized challenges should have done so. This gives the whole experience a different edge to it than what you find in most other ZZT games. Not that it's a walking simulator--definitely no comparison there--but it seems like the game is constantly towing you forward instead of pushing you back.

You're left with a good way to retain that experience--a record of most of the songs in the game, plus some unique ones that weren't even used in the main game. Memories of gameplay fade over time, but memories of songs generally last longer.

I feel like the Hall of Music on this site is a natural extension of ZZT Ultra's core charter. I am trying to broadcast songs that previously couldn't be easily extracted or played back to a wider audience. People would have had to sit down and play a specific ZZT game to a certain point, then listen.

Did I say it's not quite SoundCloud? Something of an understatement, because it's not the same mission. I want to make sure the songs are remembered, as well as their authors. Showing what the songs are can introduce more people to the games themselves. You can even put the song title into GET variables (hallofmusic.html?song=name) and send the link to anyone. Maximum convenience, minimum overhead.

And I do mean minimum overhead--all things considered, the #PLAY statement has to be one of the most compact music formats ever created. The whole library fits in a single text file. Not the individual songs--the whole library.

Uniquely, the songs also encourage experimentation and discovery. You can copy and paste any note sequences you want. Granted, Anvil Studio also lets you do this, as do most modern trackers. But text metadata is something that can be stored anywhere--you are not caged into using specific formats with the Hall of Music.

I don't think any songs, even cheap ones, deserve to be buried. So I have tried to accredit the authors when possible. It's not a perfect system, but I have arranged the tool such that unfilled credit fields can be filled out wiki-style. The page itself explains the reasoning behind this, since tracking down proper song credit information can turn into a real treasure hunt.

Credit and copyright are issues that I anticipate will come only with popularity. This site isn't that popular now, so that is probably why no one has complained either about mistaken accreditation or inappropriate usage. Only time will tell how big an issue it becomes.

Maybe no one will ever complain. It's cheap music. PC internal speaker music. The day that an A-list musician whose work goes double-platinum...starts complaining about a Hall of Music cover constituting an unfair reproduction?

That would be news in itself.

Just enjoy it. That is, if you are the type who enjoys chiptune music.


There are no comments for this topic.

To enter a comment, log in using the

This page is Copyright © 2016 Christopher Allen.