Studies in Scoring
Follow my YouTube series on the craft of film scoring.
I was born February 12th, 1985, in Southern California (snow is still magic to me), and raised on a healthy diet of Eric Korngold, Rogers & Hammerstein, and John Williams. My favorite books include The Once And Future King, Dune, and Watership Down. As for video games, Riven and Starcraft were, shall we say, formative. I later moved to Snoqualmie, Washington, which was my Walden before I knew what Walden was.
Practicing piano all through my teens paid off when I auditioned for music school. I completed my under-graduate work at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, where I scored several student films and trained in piano performance, and also traveled for two years in Germany.
I graduated in 2010 with a double major in Music Composition and Computer Science (my favorite CS topics were Computer Theory and Algorithm Analysis). Since then, I've lost 60 pounds, completed my first marathon, and worked full time as an SDET for Microsoft. I'm currently living in Redmond, Washington, spending my time scoring game jam projects or short films, studying orchestration, and looking for bigger fish to fry.
Resume & Skills.
To download and view my full resume, click here.
- 2+ years of experience as an SDET using C#, C++, Python, and Java.
- Part-time developer for Fixer Studios with Unity and Coco2ds experience.
- Senior Writer at NewGameNetwork.com with 30+ published video game reviews.
Drop me a line if you're interested in working with me, if you're looking for a project quote, or if you just want to say hi.
The 2016 PAX Thousand:
Results from this year's 1000-response video game music survey.
Click Me For The Raw Data
Disclaimers And Apologies
As usual, this data comes with some hefty disclaimers. This is not a poll. This is not a rigorous study. This is not even a popularity contest. These titles were shouted out as the first thought that came to PAX attendee's minds when they passed me in the convention center, usually without deliberation. I happened to order the titles by number of mentions, but the real thrill of this project is to showcase the wonderful variety and breadth that is video game music.
Oh, and I'm so terribly sorry. I'm sorry I can't be bothered to look up which Pokemon has "Lavender Town". I'm sorry I didn't know how to spell "Sengoku Basara". I'm sorry my furious scribbling with my cramped hand meant I missed that second vote for "Ecco The Dolphin". But that's it. Those are the only things I'm sorry for.
And just as the cook gets to taste the cookie dough first, I get the right to some light commentary...
The Winds Of Change
Comparing to last year's data (which can be found here ), there are some interesting developments. The most obvious, of course, is that indie darling Undertale has crashed into the Top 20 and shaken the scene up by taking second place. Ah, but fight that reflex to attribute this to it's freshness: Destiny was sitting around rank 33 the year after it came out, but now that everyone has had a chance for it to settle, it's soundtrack is one of the most popular at #13. That said, the more things change, the more they stay the same: Most of the top 20 have remained pretty steady, even to the point that Final Fantasy Six, Seven, and Ten all make an appearance, both Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross are massively popular, and Bastion and Transistor have nearly the same level of popularity.
Here are a few reasons this survey makes me proud of gamers and lovers of game music:
- Indie titles are very well represented.
- The full spectrum of game ages is covered.
- The data is very, very flat (most games recieve one mention).
- A broad range of genres appear high on the list, from orchestral, to folk, to rock and pop.
Must I? Must I grumble about something? Oh, all right; I'd like to take this opportunity to promote some of my personal favorites that I feel need some love from the music community...
- Starcraft 2, Riven, Lume, Dear Esther, Oxenfree, Hearthstone, and Gone Home (!) recieved no mentions. Wha...?
- Braid, To The Moon, Team Fortress 2, and Blizzard games in general are much less popular than I'd have thought.
- Music-centric games focused on live recordings (Like Tiny & Big, Double Fine's catalogue, and Gone Home) seem to be a little underrepresented as well.
Invalid or questionable answers (marked with a starting asterisk in the data) included the following gems:
- 'ALL' game music! (A full ten responses!)
- Final Fantasy: Advent Children (debate: is this 'video game music'?)
- The Wii Menu Music
- "Literally anything EXCEPT 'Just Shapes And Beats'". (From the booth next to that game.)
- "None. Video game music is poison to youtubers."
- "My own videogame."
The Wrap Up
Enjoy the data! Share it around, argue on reddit/r/gamemusic, or follow me on social media (see the cute little notes in this page's footer). If you want to express thanks to me for the work that went into this, just know that it was all grand entertainment for me, and I honestly wouldn't rather do anything else at PAX.
...buuuuuuut, you could always (a) follow my youtube channel on film music or (b) tell all your executive game producer friends to contract me out for music on their next project. I'd buy the team dark chocolate peanut butter cups!
Over and out!