Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Nerd Life: Music and Gaming

I have tons of interests, most of them nerdy and the common thread is that I try to involve music in every single one of them. As a writer I tend to create to certain pieces of music, even going so far as to match scenes to single songs (I had to turn off Last.Fm for a couple of days last week, on account of the replay of a particular Queens of the Stone Age track).

When I played video games back in the day, I used to make my own soundtracks for them. The first couple of Tony Hawk games were pretty decent, but when I got tired of the in-game music I put together my own playlist full of Hieroglyphics, El-P, and The Clash. Nowadays I tend to gravitate toward games that already have pretty dope soundtracks built in, or that cater to the music nerd (see: GTA, Rock Band).

Some of my favorite comics have a relationship with music whether it's direct (Jim Mahfood's Grrl Scouts mentions a lot of music, and Mahfood himself did the comic book companion to Murs and Slug's 2nd outing as Felt.), conceptual (Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan's Demo reads like a mixtape, and I'd be shocked if that was coincidental) or a combination of the two (the outstanding Phonogram by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie takes place in a world where music is magic. They're currently continuing the awesomeness in a second series entitled The Singles Club. Click the link for a preview.

My love for all sorts of different music really comes out where you let me loose in one of my favorite nerdy pursuits, role-playing games. That's right. Dungeons & Dragons, polyhedral dice, bunch of geeks in a basement eatin' snacks and playing pretend. I been that. In fact I still be that, so to speak. My initial involvement with this sort of gaming came through White Wolf's World of Darkness series, mainly because their liberal use of music as inspirational material for all their games. From that introduction, music's always been apart of the proceedings. I've set games to mood music, played characters that're musicians and even written articles on how to best integrate Hip Hop into games ('cause once nu-metal started to get popular with the World of Darkness crowd, I needed something as an antidote). Music's always been apart of my gaming, and whenever I'm about to start a game that I'm playing in, I try to make a mixtape to go along with the character I've created for the game.

Which brings us to the point of tonight's post. In January I'll be playing in a Dungeons and Dragons game, and like usual I made a mixtape for the character. Without getting into all the messy technical details about what the character is, he's a young man who is abducted by a violent group of cultists. After being captive for a while and subjected to all kinds of wild torture, one of his captors develop a bit of Lima Syndrome. Eventually, he gets his Stockholm on. This does not end well. Once we start the game, I'll be picking up with the character once he's freed from captivity.

Here's the tape, entitled A Declaration of Declaration. It features Portishead, Blueprint, DJ Signify, Blonde Redhead and others. It's essentially the soundtrack of his backstory. Enjoy it as a testament to my geekiness, or if nothing else a collection of dope tunes.

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