All my life since I can remember, I've always wanted to compose music sung by a choir of mice. Finally, all of my relentless and agonizing patience has paid off and I can finally get my chance in Sound Factory, a game created by our friend Luke Whittaker, whose other game A Break in the Road was only just recently reviewed here.
In this charming little game, you play the role of a bored tire manufacturing worker named Dink. Dink's tired of his pathetic day to day existence doing the same old thing. In fact, he'd quit his job were it not for his eight starving children and warehouse load of credit card debt. Today though, things are going to turn around for poor Dink as he discovers his inborn talent to make music from old factory machinery.
The game is simple: unlock all of the different sound items by impressing your co-workers with music created from the items you currently have. Don't get too caught up in all of the fun though—you've still got a job to do and a quota to meet. No matter how hard you rock out, you still need to have 100 tires inflated by 5 o'clock. This doesn't seem too hard until you realize that your first and chief instrument, over-inflating tires, destroys your quota meeting product in the process!
To make things even more difficult, your boss isn't going to just let you play around all day (I couldn't believe it either, what kind of sick, twisted world do they live in?!) From time to time he'll come down to make sure absolutely no fun is being had and work is getting completed—so stop all instruments IMMEDIATELY until he leaves! Once he's in his office you can return to getting your funk on behind his back.
What makes this game even better is that not only can you just play the sounds, but you can even compose many of the instruments—which, no joke, includes a choir of mice.
Once you have beaten a level you can take the items you've unlocked and have free reign to come back and compose away without dealing with silly things such as quotas and bosses. Also, just as you could in A Break in the Road, you can save your masterpiece and send it to friends!
Do your part in sticking it to "the man" by creating some smash tunes yourself!
Analysis: This game is just plain good 'ol fun for the whole family (they'd have to play one at a time of course). It is so immersing that you don't really even realize how much fun you're having until you have many instruments playing at once—when the floor is filled with employees gleefully neglecting their job.
The truth is, every time I thought to myself "wow, it'd be cool if I could do this," I'd discover that I could! It's a well polished game that gives you the freedom to create what you want—the kind of open-endedness that keeps people coming back. The animation and audio are crisp and the game is laid out very well.
I'm a big fan of creation in games- we take ownership of we create and in doing so we invest ourselves in the game world. By the time you snap out the game you'll be shocked to learn how much time passed. Hmm... maybe YOU should get back to work!
Bonus: I recently asked Luke, based on his experience with games that experiment with sound, what his take on audio in games was. How important is it? He was quite gentlemanly and responded as such:
"Ah, you've got me onto my favorite subject... how long have you got? Put briefly, I think a lot of audio designers would tell you that, even in full-blown console and PC games, audio has traditionally got the short straw in terms of its support from technology and from developers. It's changing now, with better tools and technology being developed, but at the time A Break in the Road was being developed back on Flash 5, all you could really do with sound was pan it from left to right or change the volume. We had to work out many tricks to get them [the audio tracks] to loop properly. Flash 8 has added many more sound channels, which is always welcome. It's up to developers now to push their ideas with sound, if we're going to see games use it creatively. I see it as a great way of giving the user a sense of being part of a game, and of having a true creative input in the path the game takes. Rather than give the player a choice of, say, four "paths" through a game, why not give them four sounds instead, and they'll each come up with something unique they can call their own. It's still possible to give a game a narrative trajectory so it's not just a musical play pen—for example, you've still got to play your tune to the crowd at the end of A Break in the Road, but along the way you've created your own story.
On another note, perhaps Web games are the best way to experiment with these ideas at present, since it seems like the big console publishers are only just starting to realize the potential of audio in games (Guitar Hero is an example). On the web we're free to try these things without needing a 100 strong development team, and who knows, perhaps the big publishers will cotton on soon." -Luke "Makes Rockin' Games" Whittaker
Super Bonus: Tip: If you're having a hard time turning off all of the instruments when the boss comes out, don't forget that you can click on their icon at the bottom to toggle them on and off!
My flash player and IE crash when I play this game. Any suggestions?
Hi Jess - I'd try upgrading your Flash Player.
I've played this game on a PC running IE 7 (beta) and Flash Player 9 and had no trouble at all.
I have a really dumpy computer and flash games usually lag and play really slow on it, even with them set to low quality. So, often, whenever there's a game with a timer, the timer will run at normal speed while the graphics and controls all are lagged way down. So, when I even attempt to play this game, I have to either finish my quota and not unlock anything past the chord, or forget the quota - virtually impossible for me to do this, although it seems pretty fun.
Somehow, the game is always stuck at the "You need to produce 100 tyres per day..." bubble. I click OK, and it just doesn't disappear!
This game is so fun!! I really really like it.
Well, that was annoying. I couldn't complete the third day because although my appreciation kept filling, I wasn't unlocking new instruments. It's a pity, because the game is pretty fun otherwise.
Hey benetnash, I know exactly what you mean about not getting enough time!
Whenever I make Flash games, I'm always torn on this topic. Basically the developer has 2 choices: create a time based counter (it's actually based off of a clock somewhere), or use a frame based counter. A frame based counter says that, for example, you have 1500 frames to complete your task.
The second one solves your problem if developers choose to use it because all if your computer is slow, it'll give you more time. On the other hand, in a way it's like cheating, especially if high score boards are involved. You get more time than other players to maneuver around asteroids or turn off instruments or whatever.
Which ones better? I don't know!
Has anyone had any luck playing this on a Mac?
Mtv's site is not very Safari friendly (no Play button for the game!) and after hitting play in FireFox it just sits there.
Flash is up to date.
The game doesn't seem to load for me.. when I click on the link it takes me to the mTV site.. where I can hit play game. It then opens another window that I can not resize and that is blank except for the mTV stuff to the left and on top :(
Has anyone had any luck running this on a Mac?
MTV's site doesn't seem very Safari friendly (the Play button for the game doesn't show up!) and once you hit Play on FireFox it just sits there.
Or is it just me?
Flash is all up to date.
For the love of little spoons, I couldn't get the MTV window in the top left to stop playing, or even stop making sound. I hit the pause and the audio and it did nothing. Is it a mozilla problem?
Looks fun but I can't play it. I have Flash player version 9 installed and no problem with the other games. But this game just won't work for me. Just hangs there or something, I don't see it and I can't play it. Sucks.
I'm not able to play this game because the flash popup slices it in half. I.e instead of having the game pop up, the left half of the pop up window is taken up by ads. Mtv's got a messed up site.
Apparently MTV has changed its pages around since we published this review, thereby making the game unplayable. I can confirm all of the issues reported above as they are all happening to me, too.
This is unfortunate because early this morning (~12AM GMT-5:00) the game was working fine.
Here's hoping the MTV crew get things sorted soon.
early morning it also worked for me fine. now everything is messed up with ads and videoclips.
But you can use the arrow keys on your keyboard to scroll thepage, so the game fits into the window. Maybe you have to leftclick somwhere in the black area before.
Try this link, it bypasses all MTV's corrupt mess:
(you'll have to bolt these three lines together):
The CGI scripts that post comments are overloaded at this time of day, which is why the delay in response. I'm working on upgrading the servers very soon, which should address that problem. Thanks for your patience. In the meantime, I will clean up the duplicate posts. =)
This game has a great premise, but its execution is a little flawed.
My biggest problem with this game (which is alluded to in the review) is that the timing is all off - at least on my slow work computer. I'll have to try it again at home. It's hard to write a masterpiece when the workers and machines can't keep a straight beat. The timing wasn't an issue in "A Break In The Road" - everything always seems to be in-sync in that (AWESOME) game.
Another problem I had with this one was that it allowed you to compose stuff that was out of key. While that wouldn't be a problem for people who know some music theory, if you're just mashing buttons it can sound like a cacophony and the workers will still like it.
A Break in The Road had all the melodic samples in the same key, so it always sounded like you know what you're doing. The ability to write some melody lines in Sound Factory is pretty fun though.
Someone yesterday said that A Break in The Road could use some extra "combo" type scoring. I wholeheartedly agree. Tony Hawk-style scoring, about another 100 (unlock-able) samples and online competition (where the other players rate your work) and "A Break in The Road" would be the next big thing.
Oh - and I LOVE making music at work in my cubicle!
After 1st level:
After 2nd level:
The game is buggy and wouldn't give me a code after the final level.
Why can't I see any tires to fill up. All I can do is move the pressure stick from high to low. Am I missing something or is there maybe a glitch in the game that is making this happen
Not happening for me, tried Firefox and IE, no joy with either get stuck on the mtv page, bummer sounds like a fun game.
I think it's because MTV Overdrive isn't made to work on macs (it lets you know if you try to access Overdrive the normal way).
...stupid MTV...in my house...not playing good music...(stealin my pokemon)..
Darn MTV and their information overload, just give me a blank page with the flash movie in it! is that so hard?
If you need ads, don't make them flash or animated either :P
I love my music games ;_; and I am sad I cannot explore this one.
WOOOOO... I WIN!!! This is even better than the first game. I have so many things going, i had to switch to low quality. Awesome game. Thanks.
I just beat this, I swear, but apparanttly "Internet Explorer [had] just encountered and add on and [needs] to close"
Could anyone post the code after you beat Lvl. 3?
D*** you, IE... D*** you...
NeVer Mind... I gots it.
I played it on Firefox from my school's Mac, so I dunno...
this game is Awesome, i love how simple sounds combined can create such an appealing sound... and its even better that the game gives you aims and such unlike other "toy" style versions
I see this game shows (25 comments) on the home page. But only 3 are showing when you click to read all of them. I guess your not going to display my negative comment and the other 21 negative comments either. If it's bad, just admit it and take it down.
Oh. Disregard my last comment. Cacheing problem. Finally got it to work with the alt url provided by John259. You should test this stuff out when posting the your site more ahead of time.
Excuse me, Clint, and with all due respect, you should read the comments above before adding any nasty remarks. You would have discovered that the game was indeed tested ahead of time and it was working fine when we reviewed and posted the game.
And FYI, I just received this from the good folks at MTV Games:
Has anyone figured out how to share tunes. I can get to my library, and send email so I get a link, but the link doesn't work, it either gets stuck on a MTV loading screen (with Opera), or just redirects to MTVs game pages on the Sound Factory (IE & Firefox).
I'm sure this is a good game, but the MTV flash 9 game website seems very buggy - the interface glitches so much and is crashy too that I can't run this game.
btw i have flash player 9 installed running on IE 6
OH MY GOD, the MTV game site is so so so badly coded and designed. Yes, I have Flash 9.
If the website isn't crashing or loading a blank section and is sort of actually working, it keeps showing these stupid instrusive videos and adverts all the time with weird pauses that you can't click past. 3 times I tried clicking on the Sound Factory "play game" button. 3 times MTV loaded this totally different Detective game instead. The fourth time I tried, it loaded "a page not found screen". The fifth time the whole thing crashed again.
Sound Factory sounds like a good game, but this is a terrible platform for it
Also the MTV site takes like ridiculously long to load. Yes I have a broadband connection
The third code is:
I'm too lazy to play the game
This game is hilarious! And the best part is that I knew a guy who actually did something much like this in real life. He worked for a summer at some metal manufacturing plant; his job was using this machine to punch holes in metal plates. When the punched-out hole fell out onto the concrete floor it would make a note, and all the holes had slightly different tones. So by trial and error he eventually could play 'Carol of the Bells' just by dropping carefully selected circles of metal on the floor.
if you want to know how making music at work can look like:
I love this game it is so funny! i mostly like room escape games and things of that nature...but this on is fun. I really like the archive called The House. keep going Jay.
Lee a.k.a BIG A
Did anyone get a good, non-conflicting baseline?
For those on level three that have a hard time completing the quota and getting all the instruments unlocked. It appears that if the appreciation gauge fills up while the previous instrument is still working its way onto the screen that a new instrument isn't unlocked. I tend to turn the tire pressure to low while a new instrument is coming on, and that slows the appreciation down enough so that when I turn the pressure back on, everything continues as it should and the new instrument is unlocked.
Worked for me, anyhow.
I really wish there was some sort of way to pause the game...
If you have any music education at all, you will find this game amazingly annoying, simply because the timing of the instruments is WAY off.
If you have everything playing just one note constant, NONE of them are together AT ALL.
After bearing listening to it for at least 30 seconds, I concluded it was because they are all dragging beat 4 of each measure, so it ends up sounding 5 4!!! This game, with its amazingly offbeat instruments is UNPLAYABLE because the output sound has NO BEAT WHATSOEVER.
Either hire musicians with rhythym, or fix the timing of the sound effects, MTV Arcade!!!
Hi Jared, thanks for the nice review - I was the sound designer on the project, and getting that choir of mice to behave when I was aiming the mic at them was no mean feat! Needed more cheese, obviously.
Just wanted to address the odd comment in the list - the loops and note ranges were drawn from one scale: C D E F G A B C, and thus it is perfectly possible to combine different notes to produce something that doesn't sound melodically 'correct' - indeed, playing B and C produces a dissonant sound - and we were mindful of this fact. We aimed to pitch the musical scope of the game on an intermediate level, where beginners could rely on loops, and use the mutiple note instruments sparingly, whereas more proficient musicians could exploit the latter instruments more fully, so I can see where some might run into trouble here. Other loops were composed using modes from the same scale, that, used over certain sequences would bring a completely different feel to a chord sequence(one loop from the oscilloscope can subvert an obtensibly major melody into a minor feel).
As for some timing issues, Flash is a tough nut to crack in terms of keeping stuff in sync, especially when there's as much going on as there is in The Sound Factory. Flash's performance can be drastically affected by the amount of apps you have running on your PC at the same time as playing the SWF. Rest assured that all the loops were composed in exact 4/4 time, though.
Anyway, hope these issues didn't too much affect anybody's enjoyment of it - have fun, all!
As much as I love this game, I only see one 'major' (insert the 'finger curling'...thingie) flaw-when I saw "music library", I had assumed that you were able to record what you did-and have other players listen. Not that mine is so great-but it would be awesome to listen to tunes others have made...guaranted some have made professional-grade stuff!
This game has changed my life. I am currently working in the field of robotics and sensors of various stripes (first magnetic sensing, now underwater robotics) but this game (and, to be fair, Electroplankton) have convinced me that my destiny lies in interactive music games. They are more rewarding than anything in the universe. I <3 this game.
The code for LVL 3 is Rhodes; go to recording studio and all instruments will be unlocked
I got all the stuff, and the part where they stuff the boss in the bag is funny.
nick P, why is there a missing beat?
I recall playing this back when it was shiny and new! The animation and concept and art and all is really great, though it doesn't sync nearly as well as I remembered it to, which kind of hurt my ears!