3 Deaf Mice audio game is my current passion and exploration into new territory. I love the idea of having fun with sound. After teaching for many years material based on my book “Sound Design”, I’m reconfiguring a lot of my classroom exercises and expanding them into total immersion with this perceptual and musical challenge. The player is going to get a whole curriculum of sound design in a playful interactive environment with story and characters, that offers the pleasure of hearing in an expansive new way, and eventually including contests and sharing with the community.
The game centers around the rock band 3 Deaf Mice, who blasted their ears with too much loud music and now need help from the player to find, transform and mix their next hit song. There are 10 verses to the song, each discovered in one of the game levels, and 10 audio tracks, 3 vocals, 3 instrumentals and 4 sound effects. With each successful level accomplished, one more verse and one more track is unlocked. When all 10 tracks and 10 verses are unlocked, then the player can remix the whole song by moving around the blocks of music. More details of game play are on the Kickstarter page.
I consider this game for anybody twelve and up who loves music, sound and playing games. Young people may have the most to gain, with the inherent openness to actually incorporate this new way of hearing and perceiving their world and bringing this awareness into their everyday life. But this game will also be tremendously fun for pros who work with music and sound, as a way to play with the things they’ve been working on professionally. It’s more of a creative toy, something to explore new possibilities, as opposed to a paid gig for a client who has specific expectations.
Game Play Experience
With extremely accessible interfaces and concepts, the experience will be made to feel intuitive so that all the player has to do is listen and start to become aware of what they have been listening to for their whole lives. It’s kind of like learning how to become a poet after you’ve been speaking daily for years, starting to learn about rhyming, meter, and such. Or if you’re a novelist, even though you’ve been writing for most of your life, you start to understand what are the functions of grammar, phrasing and composition, how to structure plot and character development. So this is a fun way to introduce the fundamentals of sound and music to all kinds of people who are really so ready to enjoy this wonderful exploration.
Mindfulness and Listening Skills
When people play this game, they’ll become more aware and better able to listen, create and communicate with sounds. What’s known as “mindfulness” involves paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally, with curiosity, openness, and acceptance. Mindfulness produced by this game will help develop skills for controlling concentration and breaking out of habitual mental patterns into new perceptions and self-awareness. I believe this will be an enhancement for all aspects of their lives, the personal, academic, and professional. And particularly now with audiovisual media so present in almost every aspect of what we do with our computers, mobile phones, Youtube and all to come, mastering the fundamentals of audiovisual communication is becoming more essential for everyone, not just professional filmmakers.
I’m hesitant to call the game educational because kids run away from that label, have enough of that in school. But it really does fit right in to the current political, educational, social and technological evolution. There is a huge push now for research and academic excellence in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), which Obama mentioned in his State of Union address as part of our national agenda. Doing that inside of games is going to help a lot to motivate students to want to study these things. 3 Deaf Mice will begin to address the state Common Core of Standards in the areas of biology, physics, technology and communication. This is also a pilot for a larger game series that will incorporate much more of the STEM curriculum.
I add the Arts as an essential educational element, which helps the whole brain develop through various sensory inputs, including music and sound. This game certainly involves and refines many aspects of the player’s brain processing, which in turn will support other learning areas. Along these lines, Obama also recently introduced the Brain Activity Map project to support the research of neuroscience and perception. So this game is really very much linked to these national and educational concerns.
Kickstarter Funding and Testing
I’ve just launched the game on Kickstarter to fund the project through community support. It’s such a unique, first-of-its-kind game that I believe the best way to get it off the ground is through individuals in the arena of audio, sound, music and education who really get the potential of this. I’m looking forward to creating this game with and for lots of people, testing along the way and getting feedback from pros and kids so it’s a really fun and rewarding journey. Check out the Kickstarter page with the video demo and look, feel and hear how the 3 Deaf Mice game is being developed.
(Part 2 coming up – Why mice and what’s their story behind listening, sound and music?)