This article aims to explore the possibility of applying the term boundary object to game music. This term was coined by Susan Leigh Star and James R. Griesemer in their 1989 article “Institutional Ecology, ‘Translations’ and Boundary Objects” and later used fruitfully in the context of game studies by Christine Hanke in 2008. The article briefly explains what Star and Griesemer meant when they created the term and how it might be applicable to the objects of media studies (i.e., digital games). The main argument of this article is that the concepts of a boundary object as a thought pattern and of game music as a key component of digital games share similar traits, and so the concept of the former can be valuable when thinking about and studying the latter. To support this proposition, this article presents a short analysis of the game music of Inside (Playdead, 2016) to illustrate how and why it might be beneficial to view game music as a boundary object. Such a perspective sheds light on the complex relationship between sound effects and music in digital games.

Our world is informed by boundaries. And humans have always tried to find ways to cross these boundaries, with music being one of the most effective transgressors. This is no less the case with music in digital games. Music often manages to bridge gaps and ease tensions within the design structure of a game and in many cases does more than simply accompany a given scene or passage of gameplay—rather, it is a core element of the constituency of a game or, as Tim Summers puts it, “not a redundant echo of other aspects of the game, but…a central part of the audio-visual experience.”1 As such, music is interwoven with myriad aspects within a given game, from a mechanical implementation into the gameplay to accompanying the story, from giving authenticity to a certain setting to intensifying a specific atmosphere. Thus, it becomes an interesting and viable subject of study for a variety of disciplines and their unique perspectives on digital games. It should therefore be of interest not only to musicologists, who themselves only too rarely come into the field of game studies, but to everyone interested in the study of digital games. It proves to be a particularly interesting field for modern musicology and popular music studies alike, which are showing an increased interest in the points of contact between sound and music, since game music presents a stellar example for studying the complex relations between sound as a concrete phenomenon and music as an abstract art form. It can highlight and exemplify currents in contemporary musicological discourse, which have striven to postulate an understanding of musical material complemented by concrete sound, noise, and other acoustic phenomena on the fringes of the musical since the early twentieth century.2 Game music can clarify for us, that we can understand music as “the ordered succession of sound,”3 or as Christoph Haffter puts it, “to be explained out of sound—as filtering, as organization, as mastery.”4 In order to analyze concrete examples within digital games, I propose to import a concept in the form of a thought pattern from sociological work, namely the “boundary object.”

If we think about the manifold implementations and relations that game music maintains to digital games, I argue that it is practically everywhere. This article aims to illustrate how game sound and music concentrate intensely at and around borders and boundaries, marking as well as transgressing them at the same time. This is where the term boundary object comes into play, a term and concept originally developed by sociologists Susan Leigh Star and James R. Griesemer, who proposed it in their article “Institutional Ecology, ‘Translations’ and Boundary Objects: Amateurs and Professionals in Berkeley’s Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, 1907–39.”5 The article deals with the solutions that formed when a heterogeneous group of individuals needed to work together in said museum. These individuals came together not only from various fields of study and disciplines but also from different social worlds with different roles, interests, visions, and aspirations in relation to the museum: researchers, biologists, administrators, politicians, trappers, hunters, private collectors, donors, and others. Because of their wide range of backgrounds, they sometimes had competing interests or problems communicating with each other. The solution was what Star and Griesemer call boundary objects. Originally, the term referred to actual objects found within the museum and that various individuals worked on—from field samples to collections to showcases or maps. These objects functioned as boundary transgressors that enabled the individuals from their different social and academic worlds to work together, even if they had divergent perspectives and understandings of the objects. Star and Griesemer write about boundary objects that “their boundary nature is reflected by the fact that they are simultaneously concrete and abstract, specific and general, conventionalized and customized.”6 As such, they appear to be hugely flexible, and although Star and Griesemer refer to actual objects in their article, boundary objects show the potential to be a concept that might exist in the realm of thoughts, as an idea or a conception, as well as in the physical world. This is what makes a boundary object concrete and abstract at the same time. Thus “they are weakly structured in common use, and become strongly structured in individual-site [sic] use.”7

This can also be observed when studying digital games, as they too are highly flexible, complex, abstract, and concrete at the same time. Games are rather weakly structured with room for possibilities to unfold, but highly structured in individual site use whenever these abstract possibilities are being realized in an individual playthrough—as Espen Aarseth argues, the game, being an ergodic system, “will generate a different semiotic sequence each time it is engaged.”8 Games can be understood as boundary objects because they are abstract and multifaceted in concept, permitting multiple, simultaneous, distinct interpretations and perspectives, but they are also concrete and specific enough to facilitate discussion and discourse. Furthermore, they permit unique experiences and different looking, feeling, and aesthetically realized playthroughs. Games offer a fairly “concrete” potential of an experience, whereas the realization of that potential is individual to the player, including how the audio is realized.

I admit that the application of a term coined in the field of sociology in the 1980s to describe the work solutions within a museum for vertebrate zoology appears an unlikely proposition for use within ludomusicology. But it presents an interesting perspective when thinking about the respective roles of sound as a concrete sonic phenomenon and music as an abstract art form in digital games, as well as their characteristics and their very aesthetics. And this article is not the first time the term boundary object has been detached from the original work of Star and Griesemer and proposed to be used in a different field: Christine Hanke applied the idea of boundary objects to games in 2008,9 interpreting boundary objects simply as “objects, that are boundaries, objects, that are at boundaries, borderline things.”10 In her 2008 article, Hanke never goes into more detail as to why and how digital games might be viewed as boundary objects and merely refers to Star and Griesemer’s article on boundary objects. I have chosen to undertake this closer look with the aural layer of digital games serving as a vanishing point.

In this context, it is necessary to transform and enhance the concept of boundary objects into a thought pattern that decouples the term from its physical implications; the original term as Star and Griesemer thought of it referred mostly to concrete objects such as maps, scales, papers, museum showcases, and so forth. Nevertheless, the way in which Star and Griesemer coined the term as referring to something ambiguous—abstract and concrete at the same time—already allows for a potentially metaphysical and metaphorical application, detached from merely describing physical materials such as objects. This is of course the case when Hanke proposes to use the term in media studies, applying the idea of boundary objects to describe digital games. The potential of the term for usage within media studies is further underlined when looking at Star’s later writings, which focus on computer-supported cooperative work, although it needs to be said that her research on networking environments and artificial intelligence is primarily interested in the intertwinement of the use of digital technology, the organization of work, and resulting structures of power from a mainly techno-sociological perspective.11 Nonetheless, Star herself has already hinted at the idea of using the term in the study of communication technology, computer systems, and media artifacts.12

In using boundary object within media studies, it is important to highlight what Hanke and Ulrike Bergermann refer to as a “double meaning” of the term. They consider boundary objects to be not only objects that are boundaries but also objects that are at boundaries, borderline things that are “almost familiar. This double meaning comprises both media forms as well as their potential to translate.”13 One media form with the potential to translate is digital games, and Hanke leaves no doubt that “the game can be understood as a boundary object in the sense of the term coined by Susan Leigh Star and James R. Griesemer.”14 This can be verified when we look at one of the most widely known definitions of digital games in game studies, coined by Mark J. P. Wolf and Bernard Perron:

The video game is now considered everything from the ergodic (work) to the ludic (play); as narrative, simulation, performance, remediation, and art; a potential tool for education or an object of study for behavioral psychology; as a playground for social interaction; and, of course, as a toy and a medium of entertainment.15

The choice of words—pointing out that games are considered “everything”—provides an insight into their flexibility and ambiguous nature: games are a mosaic of different media set pieces, a kaleidoscope of aesthetics drawing from the well of literature, painting, theatre, opera, fairground attractions, dioramas, museums, and so forth. I argue that because digital games are a medium of accumulation, they constantly oscillate as well as translate between different media forms and aesthetic logics, new and established alike. In this potential to translate lies their strength as boundary objects.

Having established this, we can now go one step further: not only can we consider digital games to be boundary objects, but so are one of their core components—their audio. Game audio in its beginnings consisted of electrophonic or indirect sound synthesis. In this context the computer hardware itself becomes an electrophonic instrument, as Wolfgang Thies explains:

Traditional musical instruments generate sound waves directly through mechanical processes, such as vibrations of taut strings, air columns or metal rods…Sound can also be produced indirectly by electronic means, for example by electronically amplifying the vibrations of a resonant circuit and converting them into sound waves via a loudspeaker.16

Al Alcorn is often credited with creating the beep that broke the silence by accident:

The Pong sound—as with many early games successes—was a bit of an accident…I poked around the sync generator to find an appropriate frequency or a tone. So those sounds were done in half a day. They were the sounds that were already in the machine.17

The task of sound synthesis was subsequently passed on from circuit boards and sync generators to dedicated sound chips (programmable sound generators, PSGs) such as the legendary SID MOS 6581-chip of Commodore’s C64.18 As a result, game sound and music possessed quite specific tonal aesthetics until technologies such as DSP (digital signal processing) and wavetable synthesis, the MOD format, MIDI, and Red Book audio were introduced, all of which not only enabled higher fidelity in the sound but also caused a change in its characteristics.19 No longer was indirect sound synthesis the only strategy to implement music in games. With wavetable synthesis, MOD, and MIDI it was possible to stream prerecorded musical material that may consist of direct sound synthesis by traditional rather than electrophonic instruments. As a result, game sound and music did not lose their unique chiptune aesthetics entirely but were substantially more oriented toward the aesthetic models of Hollywood and the music industry. In terms of their sound characteristics, they subsequently became the boundary-transgressing iteration of game music that we know and listen to today. This loss of hardware-conditioned aesthetic uniqueness and the orientation toward a wide array of new possible sonic adventures diversifying game sound and music even led Rod Munday to postulate the end of its existence: “Today, video-game music inhabits every style imaginable, from baroque to bluegrass, rockabilly to symphonic…It is for this reason that I claim it no longer exists.”20

Although Munday’s remarks might seem a bit drastic, they highlight an important observation: throughout the short course of its history, game music transgressed previously existing boundaries in sound aesthetics and, in that very process, delineated them. Hanke and Bergermann’s statement that boundary objects are at borders and at the same time are borders themselves applies to game music today. It marks borders and boundaries in sound characteristics as well as musical styles and aesthetics, but it also transgresses these boundaries quite effortlessly. The enormous aesthetic and technical advancements of digital games have made it not only possible but also necessary for their constituent elements—including game sound and music—to transgress sonic boundaries and musical aesthetics, as well as marking them by doing so.

Game sound and music are at and around boundaries, shedding light on them. I argue that in coalescing not only the sonic but also the overall structural boundaries of digital games, they also hold the potential to function as a vanishing point within the study of games. In this context, they may be used to demonstrate the process of remediation within digital games.21 A term discussed by Jay David Bolter and Richard Grusin, remediation can be described in an abbreviated form as “a process of appropriation and critique by which digital media reshape or remediate one another and their analog predecessors such as film, television, and photography.”22 Game music operates in a similar manner, as it appropriates as well as critiques other musical forms, some of them contemporary (film, television, or popular music) and some of them historical (baroque, classical, romantic, impressionist, etc.), just like digital games reshape or remediate preceding media forms. Due to the ergodic nature of games,23 game music had to adapt to this condition and has developed strategies and technologies to become dynamic enough to prevail in this interactive environment. As a result, compositional techniques and aesthetics that were previously less considered (e.g., aleatoric composition, vertical orchestration, etc.) often find their way into a game composer’s compositional toolkit, while “established” conventions from earlier media forms (i.e., leitmotif technique, underscoring, several mood and ambient techniques, etc.) are often remediated to further weave a web of aesthetic and cultural knowledge of society.

By examining the inner logics and functions of game music, one has no other choice than to become aware of remediation processes and the aesthetic accumulation, the weaving of the web, taking place within digital games as a media form. But most importantly, through the study of game sound and music, not only do the borders and boundaries—both aesthetic and technical—become visible as existing within previous media forms, but light is also shed on their transgression. In this way, game music acts as a magnifying glass for the aesthetic constituency of a given game title, highlighting once existent borders of its media set pieces as well as disclosing the process of their amalgamation and accumulation into the complex and fascinating medium that digital games are today.

To exemplify my theoretical remarks, I would like to discuss three self-recorded gameplay sequences from Playdead’s Inside (2016). In this title, players must guide a (presumably) young boy through an ominous, eerie game world from a 2D perspective. The gameplay mechanics involve mainly puzzles and dexterity exercises. Inside stands out through its monochrome visual aesthetics and its limited use of audio. This ensures that, in the few moments that do involve music and sound, the aural layer is immensely powerful and meaningful. The gameplay sequence that I am examining has also been the subject of Mathew Arnold’s analysis of Inside’s music, although Arnold examines an entirely different aspect within the sequence—that of musical suture, the continuity of the aural layer upon the player’s death that deepens player immersion and creates narrative progression.24 This goes to show how much analyzable content is provided by this one single game.

The music for Inside was scored by Danish composer Martin Stig Andersen, who has a background in acousmatic music and electroacoustic performance art and had already contributed music for the game’s spiritual predecessor, Limbo (Playdead, 2010). He writes this about his approach to sound design:

I went to London to study electroacoustic composition, which is really about taking everyday sounds, like the sounds of traffic, and then taking that back to the studio and extracting musical material from it. This approach led me into working with sound design as well.25

Taking concrete sounds and extracting musical material is reminiscent of musique concrète as introduced by Pierre Schaeffer in 1948.26 It is also the musical approach Andersen chose for Inside: the initial sound synthesis is indirect, in this case meaning it is done by a digital synthesizer via a computer. Nevertheless, it does not emulate the kind of game music prevalent during the heyday of chiptunes at all since Andersen originally did not even want to use synthesizer sounds for the project: “Most of the work I do is done by going and recording things with a microphone…But at the same time I didn’t really want to hear synth music in the game.”27 His compromise was to employ indirect and direct sound synthesis in a slightly morbid way. He used a human skull as a resonator for the synthesized sounds, altering their very character into something quite distinct from what the original signal provided. The originally indirect synthesized sound was fed through the skull, and the resulting final sound was then picked up by a contact microphone attached to it.28 It can therefore be argued that this is a combined form of direct and indirect sound synthesis and in this context becomes a great example to illustrate how game music marks and transgresses boundaries—in this case marking and transgressing the boundary between a diegetic sound as concrete and extradiegetic musical material as abstract. The boundaries between sound, sound effects, and music are blurring; they are no longer razorlike but fluid.

I refer to the concept of diegetic and nondiegetic sound in concordance with film music scholars Claudia Bullerjahn’s and Michel Chion’s usage of the terms.29 Bullerjahn distinguishes between Bildton (image sound) and Fremdton (foreign sound) for diegetic and nondiegetic sounds respectively, whereas Chion separates diegetic sounds further into onscreen sound and offscreen sound, both part of the diegesis, after establishing nondiegetic sounds as an opposition to onscreen and offscreen, explaining that

this term [nondiegetic] applies to sound whose source not only is not visible on screen but that supposedly belongs to another time and space (real or otherwise) than the scene shown on screen. The most common cases of nondiegetic sound are voiceover narrators (speaking after the events shown) or musical accompaniment (pit music).30

I am not, however, singularly concerned with a discussion on diegetic and nondiegetic sound when proposing the use of boundary object as a term and a concept within ludomusicology.31 The primary focus of bringing the thought pattern of boundary objects as an analytical tool into the discourse concerns the sonic transgression between acousmatic sounds that are concrete and nonmusical and music as an abstract form of art, which can be understood as the ordered succession of sound. If we think about game music as a boundary object, we can shed light on the delineation, the transgression, and the dilution of borders and boundaries between the nonmusical and the musical.

The gameplay sequence I am analyzing takes place about midway through the game. Players are being tasked with one of the game’s many dexterity exercises, in which the avatar needs to cross an open area in an industrial complex, taking cover behind various objects to avoid a deadly shockwave that regularly wanders from the background to the forefront of the screen. The diegetic sound in the first part of the sequence (Video 1) can be described as a form of thud or thunder, followed by a swooshing and swirling sound, which is visualized via the shockwave. The shockwave sweeps from the back to the foreground of the image, locating the source of the sound phenomenon somewhere in the far away background of the scene. Arnold argues that this also gives depth to the two-dimensional action space of the player, making the gameworld more believable and immersive.32 The sound might technically not be unequivocally diegetic since its source is never actually shown. Through the visualization of the following swooshing and swirling sound by a shockwave, the source of the thunder or thud is located within the diegesis, though—that is, within the gameworld. It might therefore be best conceived as offscreen sound, following Michel Chion’s definition as “an acousmatic diegetic sound whose source is not visible on screen but that is assumed to exist in the space and time depicted.”33 Arnold describes the swooshing and swirling following the thud, which he identifies as an explosion, as “a rising sound similar to that of a falling explosive shell.”34 I argue that, with a portion of imagination and interpretation, the entire sound process from the thunder-thud-explosion to the swirling, rising sound similar to falling explosive shells is reminiscent of a bass-drum hit followed by a crescendo on cymbals.

Video 1.

Avatar behind cover, waiting for a shockwave to pass in Inside (2016). All screenshots and recorded gameplay from the author on a Windows 10 PC, October 2017 and June 2021.

Video 1.

Avatar behind cover, waiting for a shockwave to pass in Inside (2016). All screenshots and recorded gameplay from the author on a Windows 10 PC, October 2017 and June 2021.

Close modal

It is crucial for players to recognize that this happens at regular intervals because it helps them master the passage, as Arnold also states:

The audio provides valuable instruction to the player regarding the manner in which they should approach this section of gameplay…it provides an additional rhythmic point of reference to the player, allowing them more easily to interpret the timing information encoded within the sound design. This sequence of sounds allows the player to time their movements between areas of cover and to avoid a fail state (death). As the cycle of warning sound, explosion and shockwave repeats, it establishes a rhythm in the player’s mind.35

Becoming accustomed to this rhythm is crucial for mastering the passage. This in turn can evoke a mantric state in players who, after a short while and maybe a few failed attempts (players are differently skilled to master such dexterity exercises), become very sensitive to the game’s audio. When thinking of the sound as a drumbeat with rising cymbals and combining this with the rhythmicality of its occurrence, the sound process reveals its musical potential. I am not arguing that it is to be considered game music yet, but there is a strong potential that seems to set up the following development of the audio. The next step in the evolution of the audio sequence provides a change in the sound characteristics, just when the player needs to take cover behind a giant, circularly moving hinge (Video 2).

Video 2.

Avatar behind moving piece of cover.

Video 2.

Avatar behind moving piece of cover.

Close modal

The concrete and supposedly diegetic thunder transforms into something that is reminiscent of an electronic beat. It also sounds somewhat distorted and becomes much more abstract than the original sound, locating it more toward an extradiegetic origin while at the same time maintaining the rhythmic pattern and original structure of the sound process that was established before. I argue that the soundtrack becomes hugely more musical—that is, abstract and artful—as on top of this, the extradiegetic “skullsynthesizer” is being added and forms a somewhat amorphous pedal-chord figure that hovers around a C-natural and its fifth G-natural played alternately above or below the keynote. Arnold identifies this sequence as a mood induction, writing that it “promotes imaginative and sensory immersion by switching from sound effects to emotionally engaging music very suddenly.”36 It is most crucial to note that we can identify this shift in the color of the audio’s sound whereas the rhythmic structure stays the same. Although a boundary between the supposedly diegetic and the extradiegetic layer, as well as between (supposedly) nonmusical and musical material, is transgressed, this very process and the boundary that is being transgressed are highlighted through the retention of the sound process’s structure. The rhythmic pattern—much like boundary objects—highlights and transgresses boundaries simultaneously.

It is important to note that the transgression of the boundary between diegetic and extradiegetic sonic material happens quite smoothly and naturally—although abruptly, as Arnold rightly states. This is partly due to the retention of the rhythmic pattern but also due to the sound characteristics of thunder and synthesizer attuning to each other. The explosive thunder transforms into an electronic drumbeat, altering its former mechanical sound characteristic, whereas the synthesized sound is not purely a synthesizer signal but, as discussed before, a compromise between indirect and direct sound synthesis, with the skull as a resonator providing an organic quality to the digitally synthesized sound. I argue that, as a result, a sonic bridge is being formed, enabling a smooth transgression of the boundary that otherwise separates the concrete diegetic sound effect from the abstract extradiegetic musical material. Once again, it is just like how boundary objects are “objects that are borders, objects that are at borders, borderline things.”37 The final clip (Video 3) in the sequence shows another overall progression in the transgression of sonic boundaries taking place. After the sonic bridge is established, both the former thunder and then electronic drumbeat gradually fade out entirely. This happens as soon as the avatar enters a building, which is logical since the thunder of the explosion was supposedly located in the far distance of the outside area of the sequence that is now being left behind.

Video 3.

Avatar entering a building and leaving the outer area behind.

Video 3.

Avatar entering a building and leaving the outer area behind.

Close modal

As soon as the avatar enters the building, they are safe from the menacing explosion and the following shockwave. The furthering transformation of the audio comments upon this. Now the skullsynthesizer established in the previous section dominates the aural layer, altering it into a calm sonisphere consisting of the hovering synth pad, suggesting a harmonic figure being freed from the pounding and engaging rhythm of the drumbeat. In comparison to the previous section that demanded a highly concentrated performance from players—studying the rhythm, then moving and taking cover at the right time—the dominating synth pad now informs the player that the danger, and thus the need for high concentration, has passed.

The audio of the entire sequence has traversed from a diegetic, explosive thud and rising swoosh sound as a concrete acousmatic event in the first sector (Video 1), via a sonic bridge between the sound being sonically altered to attune to extradiegetic synthesized musical material, which forms as soon as the avatar positions themselves behind a moving cover (Video 2), to fully extradiegetic, abstract, skullsynthesized musical material dominating the sonisphere and finally bringing the sequence to a close. Over the course of it, Inside’s game music has marked as well as transgressed not only the boundaries of the diegesis but also the boundaries between a concrete sound phenomenon and musical material as a means of artful human expression. The present analysis of the sequence should have provided an opportunity to understand game music as being at and around borders and boundaries, marking and transgressing them at the same time. I therefore propose to call Inside’s music a boundary object. Whether the application of this thought pattern is useful in the analysis of game music in every context is certainly to be debated. The concept nevertheless provides a possible approach within the ever-growing toolkit for game music analysis that could be used in the future for examples similar to the interesting audio of Inside.

1.

Tim Summers, Understanding Video Game Music (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2018), 6.

2.

See Dahlia Borsche, “Geräusch, Musik, Wissenschaft: Eine Bestandsaufnahme,” in Geräusch - Das Andere der Musik: Untersuchungen an den Grenzen des Musikalischen, ed. Camille Hongler, Christoph Haffter, and Silvan Moosmüller (Bielefeld, Germany: transcript, 2015).

3.

Gregor Herzfeld, “Atmospheres at Play: Aesthetical Considerations of Game Music,” in Music and Game: Perspectives on a Popular Alliance, ed. Peter Moormann, Musik und Medien (Wiesbaden, Germany: Springer VS, 2013), 147.

4.

Christoph Haffter, “Das Andere der Musik: Weißes Rauschen, Ur-Geräusch,” in Geräusch - Das Andere der Musik: Untersuchungen an den Grenzen des Musikalischen, ed. Camille Hongler, Christoph Haffter and Silvan Moosmüller (Bielefeld, Germany: transcript, 2015), 9; all translations in this article are my own.

5.

Susan L. Star and James R. Griesemer, “Institutional Ecology, ‘Translations’ and Boundary Objects: Amateurs and Professionals in Berkeley’s Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, 1907–39,” Social Studies of Science 19, no. 3 (1989): 387–420.

6.

Star and Griesemer, “Institutional Ecology,” 408.

7.

Star and Griesemer, 393.

8.

Espen J. Aarseth, “Aporia and Epiphany in Doom and the Speaking Clock. The Temporality of Ergodic Art,” in Cyberspace Textuality: Computer Technology and Literary Theory, ed. Marie-Laure Ryan (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1999), 33.

9.

See Christine Hanke, “>Next Level. Das Computerspiel als Medium. Eine Einleitung,” in Game over!? Perspektiven des Computerspiels, ed. Jan Distelmeyer, Christine Hanke, and Dieter Mersch (Bielefeld, Germany: transcript, 2008), 8.

10.

Ulrike Bergermann and Christine Hanke, “Boundary Objects, Boundary Media: Von Grenzobjekten und Medien bei Susan Leigh Star und James R. Griesemer,” in Susan Leigh Star. Grenzobjekte und Medienforschung, ed. Sebastian Gießmann and Nadine Taha (Bielefeld, Germany: transcript Verlag, 2017), 117.

11.

See particularly Susan L. Star, “The Structure of Ill-Structured Solutions: Boundary Objects and Heterogeneous Distributed Problem Solving,” In Distributed Artificial Intelligence, ed. Les Gasser and Michael N. Huhns, 37–54 (Burlington, MA: Morgan Kaufmann, 1989); Susan L. Star and Anselm Strauss, “Layers of Silence, Arenas of Voice: The Ecology of Visible and Invisible Work,” Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) 8 (1999): 1–2.

12.

See particularly Susan L. Star, “Introduction,” in The Cultures of Computing, ed. Susan L. Star (Oxford, UK: Sociological Review/Blackwell, 1996); Susan L. Star, “Living Grounded Theory: Cognitive and Emotional Forms of Pragmatism,” in The SAGE Handbook of Grounded Theory: Paperback Edition, ed. Antony Bryant and Kathy Charmaz (London: SAGE, 2010).

13.

Bergermann and Hanke, “Boundary Objects,” 117.

14.

Hanke, “>Next Level,” 8, emphasis in the original.

15.

Mark J. P. Wolf and Bernard Perron, “Introduction,” in The Video Game Theory Reader, ed. Mark J. P. Wolf and Bernard Perron, vol. 1 (New York: Routledge, 2003), 2.

16.

Wolfgang Thies, “Der Computer - ein neues Musikinstrument?,” in Computermusik: Theoretische Grundlagen. Kompositionsgeschichtliche Zusammenhänge. Musiklernprogramme, ed. Batel et al. (Laaber, Germany: Laaber-Verlag, 1987), 134–35.

17.

Karen Collins, Game Sound: An Introduction to the History, Theory and Practice of Video Game Music and Sound Design (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2008), 8–9, citing Kent 2001, pp. 41–42, emphasis in the original.

18.

See Klaus Rettinghaus, “Sidology: Zur Geschichte und Technik des C64-Soundchips,” in Digitale Spiele: Interdisziplinäre Perspektiven zu Diskursfeldern, Inszenierung und Musik, ed. Christoph Hust (Bielefeld, Germany: transcript, 2018), 269–80.

19.

For more detailed information, see Collins, Game Sound, 37–62.

20.

Rod Munday, “Music in Video Games,” in Music, Sound and Multimedia: From the Live to the Virtual, ed. Jamie Sexton (Edinburgh, Scotland: Edinburgh University Press, 2007), 51.

21.

See J. D. Bolter and Richard A. Grusin, “Remediation,” Configurations 4, no. 3 (1996).

22.

Bolter and Grusin, “Remediation,” 313–14.

23.

See Espen J. Aarseth, Cybertext: Perspectives on Ergodic Literature (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997).

24.

Mathew Arnold, “Inside the Loop: The Audio Functionality of Inside,” Computer Games Journal 7, no. 4 (2018): 203–11, https://doi.org/10.1007/s40869-018-0071-x (accessed December 13, 2021).

25.

Martin S. Andersen, “Audio Design Deep Dive: Using a Human Skull to Create the Sounds of Inside,” Gamasutra, October 5, 2016, accessed June 7, 2021, https://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/282595/Audio_Design_Deep_Dive_Using_a_human_skull_to_create_the_sounds_of_Inside.php.

26.

For further remarks on this, see Björn Redecker and Sonja Ganguin, “Gamemusik und Geräusche – Eine Populäre Allianz für Game Audio Design der Zukunft,” in Science MashUp. Zukunft der Games, ed. Gabriele Hooffacker and Benjamin Bigl (Wiesbaden, Germany: Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden, 2020), 89–100.

27.

Andersen, “Audio Design Deep Dive.”

28.

See a picture in Andersen, “Audio Design Deep Dive.”

29.

See Claudia Bullerjahn, Grundlagen der Wirkung von Filmmusik, 2nd ed., Wißner-Lehrbuch 5 (Augsburg, Germany: Wißner-Verlag, 2014) and Michel Chion, Audio-Vision: Sound on Screen (1994; repr., New York: Columbia University Press, 2019).

30.

Chion, Audio-Vision, 208, emphasis in the original.

31.

A wider discussion about game music and diegesis can be found in Isabella van Elferen, “¡Un Forastero! Issues of Virtuality and Diegesis in Videogame Music,” Music and the Moving Image 4, no. 2 (2011); Karen Collins, “An Introduction to the Participatory and Non-Linear Aspects of Video Games Audio,” in Essays on Sound and Vision, ed. Stan Hawkins and John Richardson (Helsinki: Helsinki University Press, 2007); Munday, “Music in Video Games”; Zach Whalen, “Case Study: Film Music vs. Videogame Music: The Case of Silent Hill,” in Music, Sound and Multimedia: From the Live to the Virtual, ed. Jamie Sexton (Edinburgh, Scotland: Edinburgh University Press, 2007).

32.

See Arnold, “Inside the Loop,” 204.

33.

Chion, Audio-Vision, 208.

34.

Arnold, “Inside the Loop,” 204.

35.

Arnold, “Inside the Loop,” 204–5.

36.

Arnold, “Inside the Loop,” 207.

37.

Bergermann and Hanke, “Boundary Objects,” 117.

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