Today I present two music shooters – Otocky from 1987 and Le Fonque Vol from 2005. The first game was made by Toshio Iwai, meanwhile well known for his Tenori-On and Electroplankton, the second was made by *ähm* me.


Otocky is Toshio Iwai first game-music mixture made in 1987. It’s a side-scrolling shooter, very rare, that was released on the Famicom Disk System which I am even not sure if is is the same as the NES or also something also very rare. (Noticed? We’re in very rare-land.) But thanks to Google, YouTube and the “wisdom of the crowds” there is a gameplay video available. In Otocky you play a spaceship-lookalike rocketman, that shoots on.. hmm.. shapes to get score and change the sounds. On every shoot a new tone is made, shot objects change the tones or the scale the tones are triggered on. The tones are quantized to the beat, shooting is trying to get nice melodies.

The game is an experimental instrument or an instrument for generative music in shape of a game. Whatever it is, it was a very early work on generative music at the experimental edges of videogames. (On the other side all games from the 70ies and 80ies had a somehow experimental touch.) Like all music-toys from Toshio Iwai this game is somehow cool, but also has this unfinished, or let’s call it open, touch that is very unique to all works from him.

I was very surprised when I saw the video of Otocky the first time, wondering how such a gem of experimental gameplay and unique game graphics could be hide for such a long time from my eyes. Also I can’t imagine that playing this game is that much of fun, but it is definitely a very predecessor of all the music games that followed after like Rez or this Dance-Pads and Guitar Hero games. Very notable is also the far away style of the game, somewhere between Fantasy Zone, James Pond and Marble Madness, which all of them deserve an own chapter of worship.

Le Fonque Vol

At this point I was thinking of an older work I made two years ago. Le Fonque Vol was part of a research and exhibition project on the current state of music archives back in 2005. Le Fonque Vol, French for ‘The Funkyflight’, combines the gameplay of Defender with and instant music sequencer of audioloops like Ableton Live does.

I remember hard coding pain, because I needed more audio channels than Flash could give me, so I spent my time doing not so funky work on writing an audioengine that frees the channels of unused loops to make place for new and that keeps the loops in sync. The drum’n’bass loops however were made by Dual Perception and perfectly fit the dynamic experience of the gameplay and the accelerating of the stars in the background. Have a play below or look at the slightly outdated mini-site of this music shooter. Have a nice flight and call back to the comments!

At this point it is somehow a duty for me to mention Christopher Clay who put me up to Otocky. He is still on tour in Europe, promoting his tumbleblog-project Soup he makes with Esad Hajdarevic. We talked about older works and abandoned portfolios on the web. Keep up that cool stuff!

Blog - Date published: October 8, 2007 | 4 Comments

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  1. ichbinadrian said:

    Oh my dear funky god!

    Your game rocks like hell.

    Generate some enemies here :D

  2. Hello Adrian.

    Thanks for submitting your link. Interesting stuff generating such aliens. If I did see it right, you now have an own URL for the invadr:

  3. Stephan said:

    Very good, Martin! Thanks for that! I recently mentioned Otocky in an interview. The Interview is in English, so enjoy, everybody!

  4. 020200 said:

    Oh, Hi Stephan. Great to see an interview from you online. Similiar to the questions, I asked you lately, haha.

    Next time you can also mention Le Fonque Vol, too. ;)