Douglas Laustsen and I recently assembled and arranged the music for the game Sling-It! (Pollushot 2) by Greg Lobanov. For more information about the game, you can go here. I can tell you the mechanics are awesome and it’s super addicting. The music is nice too haha.
Anyhow, Greg had a very clear vision as to what he wanted for the game, music wise, so I asked him if I could sit down with him for an interview. We didn’t really “sit down” I guess…. this “interview” was conducted via email earlier this week (3/11). Enjoy!
GL: I love video game music. I listen to it almost exclusively these days, for better or worse. When I’m talking about “favorites” in video game music I’m rarely talking about an album or a composer, but rather, specific songs. I think that’s because individual pieces are tied so closely to particular game moments, and so when considering an entire soundtrack or an artist there’s always some specific shining stars in the lineup which stand out to me rather than seeing the entire soundtrack as a single unit. That’s not to say I don’t have my favorites. I’m just saying this preface the fact that my favorite game soundtracks are naturally the same as my favorite games.
My absolute favorite soundtracks are those of Earthbound and Zelda: Wind Waker. I don’t remember particular names associated with Earthbound, but I do know it has a lot of associated musicians, and its music is I think a particularly unique expression of many different artists coming together at a moment in time. Zelda, meanwhile, has Koji Kondo. Wind Waker’s best moments didn’t all come from him, but he’s an obvious individual whose music is consistently great whenever he makes it. If I had to name a favorite video game composer I think I’d have to default it to him. But really, favorites aside, I listen to a lot of different soundtracks and composers, almost indiscriminately.
Coming into the sequel, I’d seen how well classical music had worked, and wanted to use it again but this time without restricting myself to free online samples. The decision to focus on Russian/Soviet composers was the result of a few different factors: I have a big heritage in Russia, and I wanted to let some of that flavor into the game. I started to see my game as a sort of loose homage to Tetris, which also used Russian classical music to great effect (including a piece from Nutcracker). And most importantly, Russian composers are just plain great! The Russian theming really helped to inform the game back, too, and helped inspire the idea of an endless pollution-induced winter as is depicted in the game, the TV broadcast-style opening, and the main character’s design. Everything just fit together very nicely.
GL: I hope to work a lot this year and put out many more games in the coming months. As I was finishing Sling It! I already made a lot of progress into my next game. I haven’t formally announced it yet, but it will be called “Perfection.” and it’s a tranquil, simple puzzle game in which you cut shapes to fit into outlines.
For more information on Greg Lobanov and Dumb and Fat Games, you can check his website out here. Special thanks to Greg for responding to my questions so eloquently, Doug for putting up with the deadlines I kept altering on the work, and Sharon Torello from LocalArtsLive for helping Doug and me connect with Greg in the first place.