June 4, 2023


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[GDC 2023]How do we “talk” about hip-hop as a culture within the game?  Report of a lecture that also talked about “Parappa Rapper” and “Undertale”

[GDC 2023]How do we “talk” about hip-hop as a culture within the game? Report of a lecture that also talked about “Parappa Rapper” and “Undertale”

Since computers have made a certain amount of progress,Games and music are inseparablehad become. (If you include sound effects, the starting point of the relationship can be traced even further.)
And many masterpieces have been paired with a lot of great music, whether in the genre of shooting, RPG, action or adventure.

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Also, as gaming culture has matured, there are more and more titles in which music plays a central role.
And, of course, the so-called audio gameAction that combines rhythm action, roguelike RPG and FPSIt is no longer uncommon.
And the number of games based on the culture and worldview that a particular music symbolizes is steadily growing. This is not at all abnormal since different types of boards are sometimes perfectly integrated with games on a cultural level.

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Meanwhile, at GDC 2023「TO BEAT Y’ALL: What designers can learn from HIP HOP.」I gave a lecture entitled.
 The games capture hip-hop culture more accuratelySo, firstHip-hop text structureI would like to provide a brief report of this lecture which has been narrowed down and explained.

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Jaruri de Jesus, Art Narrative Designer at Housemarque

Hip-hop culture in gaming so far

The speaker was the Housemarque’s artistic narrative designer.Mr. Jarure de JesusHe is. He has a variety of activities, but as far as games are concerned,「Maden NFL 20」or「Star Wars Jedi: Survivor.」He also collaborates on the development of large-scale titles such as

The lecture started with Mr. Jesus who teaches at the university like “What is hip-hop?” and “History of Hip Hop”. Understanding that “hip-hop is a culture, not just a music” should be enough to continue reading this article.

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Then, as a game involving hip-hop,“Paraba Rapper”Referring to such works, he said: “There are still a lot of rhythm games out there.” I especially like action games.“Jet Set Radio”That being said
“There’s a problem that there are so few black playable characters, which is typical of Japanese games in this era,” he said, “and it’s not a work that delves into hip-hop culture.” ” However, ‘but’ including the soundtrack. It’s a very cool job. In the following question-and-answer session,「Hi-Fi Rush」It was impressive that they also rated it highly.

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The narrative structure of hip-hop music differs from the classical narrative structure

Next, a brief introduction to the general structure of storytelling is given.
Three-act compositionand the “Final Fantasy” and “Fire Emblem” series as examples.In the media less(How to start the story from the middle of the incident)Four code compositionDrawing the hero’s journeyHeroes’ JourneyI’d like to omit a detailed explanation here as well.

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However, Jesus said, “Hip-hop has a different narrative structure than this one”.
So, what type of structure is usually expressed in hip-hop?

In hip hop, mr.「3」It’s a magic number. This is because the different structures, one way or another, are divided into three types (or triplets).

The simplest narrative structure is
(1) Who are they? (a personality)
(2) Why should I take care of them (care)
(3) What problem are they facing (conflict)
It consists of three questions, which is Jesus“3C Structure”As shown

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The example used in the lecture was「Hip-hop saved my life」(Lupe Fiasco, Nikki Jean).
When the word content of this work is color-coded in accordance with the above 3Cs,
·a personality
It can be seen that they are neatly lined up in order. Also, while this may be a coincidence, I found it interesting that the ratio of the three blocks was close to 1:2:1, which is the basic ratio for a three-act structure.

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“Undertale” using the verse-chorus form

Of course, the three seiyan is not the only narrative structure in hip-hop. As an alternative temple, JesusVignette formatshowed that. A vignette means something like a ‘small piece’ or ‘sketch’ in literature, and Joyce’s ‘Dublin Citizens’ appears here as a work of representation.

The vignettes feature a series of short slices of life, which Jesus described as “the repetition of multiple brief narratives.”

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In addition, as a particularly user-friendly structure for games,Verse-chorus formIt has been shown. This is how the chorus part appears in contrast to the verse, and the chorus part is emphasized. The chorus depicts the narration shown in the verse by repeating simple words.

Mr. Jesus incorporated this verse-chorus format into the game almost as is, and it was a huge success.I growHe indicated that
This work, which is a role-playing game,The boss battle is the chorus partlikeEach section is a verseIt is said to work as if you played this work, you must have felt the effect of the “recurring chorus”.
On this point, Jesus said, “The author, Toby Fox, is also a composer, so he probably used that structure consciously.”

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The highest priority is to portray the actions of the character

The narrative structure of hip-hop explained in the lecture is over, but Mr. Jesus also goes into “How Words Are Used in Hip-Hop.”

As a feature of the words used in hip hop, mr.Use every word carefully.Assuming that there is a major hypothesis that

  • Strengthen your strength through repetition
  • Few adverbs, few descriptive words
  • The priority of the expression is the order of action > idea > description
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Three rules appear.

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Above all, Jesus explained it in detailAction > Idea > Descriptionis the priority. for example“Fine”Lyrics (Kendrick Lamar) According to these three types, the first word in the poem expresses the verb, after which phrases expressing the action appear frequently (of course, all choruses refer to verbs). occupied by phrases).
There are fewer phrases that express ideas, and fewer that describe them.

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Based on this analysis, Jesus said, “If you’re doing a story based on hip-hop culture, it’s also important to voice the characters.What does the character do > what do they think > what kind of person are theymust be expressed in order of priority.

Jesus’ lecture was rich in conceptual and practical explanations. 30 minutes is a short period, and I strongly felt that I wanted to listen to such a lecture within the 60-minute window.

People may look at it differently, and the topic is culture, so some people may feel that “this lecture does not understand anything about hip-hop.” However, I sincerely hope that the lively discussion will continue to deepen, including the sense of resentment that arises in this way.