Some interesting examples of sound games:
Dark Room Sex Game , created by the Copenhagen Game Collective, is a multi-player erotic game, played only through sound. Players use Nintendo Wii Remotes or a keyboard to create a sound composition of sex, with the goal of working off each other and eventually speeding up until reaching climax. You can see an example of gameplay here.
Players are meant to feel slightly uncomfortable and even silly during gamplay. However, the collective’s main intent was to explore how sound can allow players to make use of their imagination, and ultimately make for a much more erotic game. Furthermore, allowing players to face each other rather than a screen offers them more of an opportunity to forge a connection and feel like they are truly playing off one another.
This project shows how gameplay that creates a rhythm (similar basic premise to games like Rock Band and Guitar hero) can be used to explore a variety of themes. It also clearly demonstrates how powerful and moving sound-based games can be, particularly when it comes to depicting sex.
The representation of sexual acts in our game continues to be an ongoing discussion and challenge. This game highlights that sex depicted through sound would perhaps be even more shocking or more erotic to a player, which is something we would have to carefully consider.
Kaze No Regret, a Japanese game created by WARP, was originally intended for the visually impaired. It follows a choose-you-own-adventure format. Simple images and relaxing music set the peaceful tone for the love story the player must navigate. You can see an example of gameplay here.
Some audio-based games are proving that sound can be most effectively used to evoke terror in a player, allowing the player’s imagination to fill in the horror around them that they are not offered a visual representation of.
The Nightjar,created by Somethin’ Else, leaves the player to escape a dying spacecraft being drawn into a black hole. However, the player only has their ears to guide them to safety. With no visuals of their surroundings, the player must navigate their environment by either moving towards or away from certain sounds. You can see an example of gameplay here. This game creates an unbelievably riveting and terrifying 3D soundscape.
In Papa Sangre, also created by Somethin’ Else, players explore the land of the dead, charged with saving lost souls and staying alive. Again, your environment can only be discerned through sound. You can see an example of gameplay here.
Both The Nightjar and Papa Sangre make it clear that a game can be far more compelling, and far more scary, when a player can only hear what is around them. Could a soundscape of the dangers many sex workers encounter have more of an impact on a player then if visual representations?
The work of Sharon Daniel is also interesting to explore. She has created two moving interactive audio-documentaries about marginalized communities. Public Secrets allows users to navigate the testimonials of incarcerated women, and Blood Sugar shares the stories of current and former injection drug users. Both projects give voice and power to under-served communities, and allow users to connect personal stories to larger social issues.