Playing With Sound: MIT Press, 2013. What does it mean to interact with sound in games? Why was Guitar Hero such a big hit?  How is our relationship to sound changing as we move from button-mashing to gestural controllers like the Wii and Kinect?  How does sound enhance or contradict the graphics in games? And, how does sound contribute to our sense of “being there” in the game? Playing With Sound  seeks to answer these questions, exploring the player’s experiences with sound in video games. It examines why sound in games is important, and the impacts that sound has on the player. But more than just about playing with sound in games, Playing With Sound looks at all of the uses of game sound beyond the game: From machinima music videos, the nostalgic aesthetic of chiptunes, the sometimes bizarre modding and hacking of game software, to Alternate Reality Games played out in real life, circuit bending and hardware hacking culture, the book traces the way that musicians and fans of games have taken game sound and made it their own, beyond the confines of the game. Playing With Sound will appeal to anyone who is interested in video games, game music, or electronic music cultures by offering a peek inside the often neglected world of video game sound.

Coming Soon(ish)> The Oxford Handbook of Interactive Audio (edited by Karen Collins, Bill Kapralos and Holly Tessler)


Now available: A Bang, a Whimper and a Beat: an exploration of the links between the dystopian/cyberpunk aesthetic and industrial music (Mass Media Music Scholars' Press, Inc.). Only $2.99 for the e-book version (runs on Kindle or other e-pub formats).



cover Available from MIT Press or your favourite bookseller!
Game Sound: An Introduction to the History, Theory and Practice of Video Game Music and Sound Design.


Game Sound was named in the Top 10 Big Ideas in Gaming at GDC 2009!

"Game Audio may sound to the uninitiated to be a frivolous pursuit, but it is neither simple or trivial.  Game Sound shows that this art/craft/business has an elegance and a freshly blossoming history that allow it to stand with dignity and legitimacy alongside any other human endeavor worthy of academic attention. If I were to pick a field of study today, I would certainly hope that game audio would be available as a choice.  I am thankful to Karen for her contribution towards making that possibility into a solid reality." --The Fat Man, George Alistair Sanger, Legendary Game Audio Guru, author of The Fat Man on Game Audio: Tasty morsels of sonic goodness

“Collins has written a truly encyclopedic work that wonderfully complements books on sound design in film, helping anyone in the audiovisual industry who desires to expand more confidently into teaching, designing, and producing audio in the gaming world. This book provides fascinating insights about how game audio can enhance player involvement in story, environment, and character, with specific examples on creating a more immersive, interactive experience. A monumental contribution!” --David Sonnenschein, author of Sound Design: The Expressive Power of Music, Voice, and Sound Effects in Cinema




coverISBN 978-0-7546-6200-6 and 978-0-7546-6211-2
From Pac-Man to Pop Music Ashgate Publishing, UK. Available now from your favourite bookseller. Edited by Karen Collins

Introduction: Karen Collins

Part One: Industries and Synergies

Chapter One: The new MTV? Electronic Arts and ‘playing’ music: Holly Tessler

Chapter Two: Marketing Music Through Computer Games: The Case of Poets of the Fall and Max Payne 2: Antti-Ville Kärjä

Part Two: Ringtones and Mobile Phones

Chapter Three: Could Ringtones Be More Annoying?: Peter Drescher

Chapter Four: Indeterminate Adaptive Digital Audio for Games on Mobiles: Agnès Guerraz and Jacques Lemordant

Part Three: Instruments and Interactions

Chapter Five: Theoretical approaches to composing dynamic music for games: Jesper Kaae

Chapter Six: Realising groundbreaking adaptive music: Tim van Geelen

Chapter Seven: The Composition-Instrument: emergence, improvisation, and interaction in games and new media: Norbert Herber

Part Four: Techniques and Technologies

Chapter Eight: Dynamic Range: Subtlety and Silence in Video Game Sound: Rob Bridgett

Chapter Nine: An Introduction to Granular Synthesis in Video Games: Leonard Paul

Part Five: Audio and Audience

Chapter Ten: Chip Music: Low Tech Data Music Sharing: Anders Carlsson

Chapter Eleven: Left in the Dark: Playing Computer Games with the Sound Turned Off: Kristine Jørgensen

Chapter Twelve: Music Theory in Music Games: Peter Shultz

Annotated Bibliography and Resources: Erica Kudisch and Tim van Geelen