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Augmented Realities: A Video Game Music Mini-Fest

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The Music Division of the Library of Congress will be presenting a series of events exploring video game music, from retro bits to VR hits. We will be looking at the history of game music, and learning about how it works from acclaimed musicians who are actively composing for some of the biggest franchises and most innovative indie games alike.

You will have numerous opportunities to participate, including in an audience-influenced game designed just for the Friday evening event by Rami Ismail, featuring a new, adaptive score composed by Austin Wintory.

This is not just a text-based adventure. On Saturday, April 6, starting at 10am you will be able to walk the halls of history and play games spanning 40 years of creativity at the #LOCArcade! We’ve minimized the load times by offering a wide selection of games and listening stations, and it’s family-friendly. Having trouble with a difficult boss? Skip the level and move to the next room over for an entirely different experience. But be warned: it’s Game Over at 4pm on Saturday for the LOC Arcade.

Our participants for the three-day mini-festival include:

  • Winifred Phillips, composer and author
  • Austin Wintory, composer
  • Rami Ismail, game designer
  • Philippe Quint, violinist
  • Peter Dugan, pianist
  • Triforce Quartet
  • Bryan Mosley and Gene Dreyband, Pixelated Audio
  • Mark Gray and John R. Riley, Copyright Office, Library of Congress
  • David Gibson, Motion Picture, Broadcast and Recorded Sound Division, Library of Congress
  • Amanda May, Preservation Reformatting Division, Library of Congress
  • Augment VR Arcade
  • VR Zone DC Arcade

See below for more information about each event, and we hope that you will join us and bring a +1, or better yet a Player Two!

Augmented Realities: A Video Game Music Mini-Fest

Thursday, April 4, 2019–7:00 pm [Film]
Reformat the Planet (NR, 82 mins)
Directed by Paul Owens
Pickford Theater (Tickets Not Required but Register for Reminder)
Reformat the Planet is a documentary about the first annual Blip Festival that explores the ChipTunes movement, in which composers create new electronic music using repurposed video hardware.

Friday, April 5, 2019–12:00 pm [Panel]
“Copyrighting a Cartridge: An Inside Look at Copyright and Video Games”
Mark Gray & John R. Riley, Attorney-Advisors, Copyright Office
Whittall Pavilion (Tickets Not Required but Register for Reminder)
Join us for a fun and informative look at interesting copyright issues related to video games. There will be some fascinating items on display as well!

Friday, April 5, 2019–8:00 pm [Special Event/Concert]
“Hi, Score! Introducing a Game to its Music”
Featuring Austin Wintory, Philippe Quint, Peter Dugan, Pixelated Audio and the Triforce Quartet
Coolidge Auditorium (Tickets Required)
Pre-concert lecture, 6:30pm:
“A Brief History of Video Game Music”

Bryan Mosley and Gene Dreyband, Pixelated AudioWhittall Pavilion (Tickets Not Required)
The Coolidge Auditorium will transform into a game creation lab as a new Library commission by composer Austin Wintory gets re-spawned as part of a video game score—all while you watch! First hear the new commission performed by violinist Philippe Quint and pianist Peter Dugan, and then hear it re-contextualized using interactive media. A new game is being designed by Rami Ismail just for this event, and we’ll get to see, hear and discuss how it all comes together. Bryan Mosley and Gene Dreyband of Pixelated Audio fame will join the conversation and provide some context for this dynamic process. Additionally, the Triforce Quartet will perform some classic tunes re-imagined for string quartet!

Saturday, April 6, 2019—10am-4pm [Interactive Display]
#LOCArcade, Mahogany Row and LJ-119
Tickets not Required

Saturday, April 6, 2019–11:00 am [#Declassified]
#Declassified: “Processing and Preserving Video Games”
David Gibson, Motion Picture, Broadcast and Recorded Sound Division
Amanda May, Preservation Reformatting Division
Whittall Pavilion (Tickets Not Required but Register for Reminder)

Amanda May and David Gibson from the Library of Congress will discuss the steps that the Library takes to collect, catalog and preserve video game content, focusing on the employment of Resource Description and Access (RDA) to describe video games in the catalog and the use of specialized hardware and software to forensically recover data from fragile digital media.

Check out this vintage blog from David Gibson to get a sense of the conservation issues in 2012:

Saturday, April 6, 2019–2:00 pm [Lecture]
“The Interface Between Music Composition and Video Game Design”
Winifred Phillips, composer and author
Whittall Pavilion (Tickets Not Required but Register for Reminder)

Winifred Phillips speaks about her work as a composer in the video game industry, exploring the process of composing for video games, from concept to release.

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