The Sound of Invaders

The music in Space Invaders gives an other-worldly vibe as the player plays the game. The sound effects evoke the feeling of fighting a presence that is foreign but not too different from your own, as the shooting sounds made by the player and by the invaders are different but similar. As the invaders get closer, a sense of urgency is accomplished, as the music becomes faster. Sound is an important game mechanic that lets the player know what they should be feeling at the moment, and what is “good” and “bad”. The music speeding up lets the player know to feel a sense of urgency and to be quicker with their mission. The explosive noise made when the player dies lets them know that being hit by a laser is a “bad” thing. The sound supports the visual by reflecting what is happening on screen.

The music in Invaders sounds more natural and is accompanied by human voices. The sound effects, on the other hand, give the feeling of fighting an otherworldly presence much more advanced than the player’s own: while the sound of shooting arrows is natural, the sound of the aliens shooting lasers is futuristic and otherworldly. Though the fight is against an otherworldly presence and the sound effects emphasis this, the music itself gives the player a sense of pride and determination to save themselves and their people. The sound supports the visuals by reflecting what is seen on the screen: the sound of the aliens firing is futuristic, while the sound of the player fighting is more natural and wood-like due to the weapon being a bow and arrow.

By remixing Space Invaders, LaPensee helps the player imagine what the Native Americans were feeling as they fought hoards of aliens (Europeans) that harbored otherworldly weapons known as guns. Invader helps us think more deeply about Space Invaders because, though the antagonists are still aliens, the player is made explicitly human, allowing us to empathize with the feeling of fighting an enemy that seems undefeatable. On the other hand, Space Invaders slower pace allows us to feel the growing hopelessness as one realizes that the invaders are never going to give up, something the Native Americans must have felt.

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One thought on “The Sound of Invaders

  1. I agree that LaPensee is creating a more natural sound in her remix of Space Invaders. I think she is doing this so the player can attribute the game to the tragedies of Native Americans and indigenous tribes. I wrote more about her use of sound in my post, To Mask or Unmask, if you ever decide to take a look!

    Liked by 1 person

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