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Rewind, revisit, relisten: Transport, spatial displacement and mixtape environments in Small Radios Big Televisions

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Small Radios Big Televisions (2016) guides the player through a series of abandoned modern factories to locate objects and solve puzzles, including cassette tapes that transport them to virtual locations. Each tape presents a diorama-like environment, ranging from natural environments, including forests and beaches. Throughout Small Radios Big Televisions players must warp and electronically distort music and sounds, magnetizing tapes. These musical disruptions of the tape tracks are a core game mechanic. This article draws on autoethnographic gameplay, material and spatial analysis to investigate how players explore abandoned worlds stored on glitchy analogue cassettes full of visual and sonic noise.
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Keywords: Small Radios Big Televisions; analogue and digital technology; failure; magnetic tape; materiality; mixtape; soundscape

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 0000000121609198Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Publication date: August 1, 2020

More about this publication?
  • The Soundtrack is a multi-disciplinary journal which brings together research in the area of music and sound in relation to film and other moving image media. A complex cultural, technological, industrial and artistic phenomenon, sound-with-moving image is a rich area for analysis, investigation and speculation. We encourage writing that is accessible to audiences from a diversity of intellectual backgrounds and disciplines as well as providing a forum for practitioners. The Soundtrack's aim is to nurture this new and expanding area of academic investigation in dialogue with soundtrack producers of all kinds.
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