A Bank Holiday Bargain: Audiosurf

By Alec Meer on August 24th, 2008 at 12:10 pm.

If you’re American, you may not understand the curious institution we Britishers call bank holidays. Because of a general agreement that UK weather is so hideous that it’s not worth going outside except during the third week of June, instead families and friends choose to holiday inside their favourite bank for a long weekend. Lloyds TSB is famed for its indoor beaches, while Halifax really does excel at pony trekking tours of the vaults. In the evenings, we all drink tea and discuss the decline of the gold standard.

Also we go shopping. There’s an awful lot of discounted barbecue sets to be had this weekend. Fortunately the internet seems to have caught on. Of course, Audiosurf being reduced to just $5 (about £2.50, Britishians!) this weekend has absolutely nothing to do with it being a bank holiday here, but it’s nice to pretend our weird customs have some some tiny relevance in Americaland.

Audiosurf was one of our more adored indie games of last year, even sparking an intense and bitter war between Kieron and myself over who could get the highest score at Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights. RPS readers soon joined the fight, and put us both to shame, so we retreated to a private battle over Billy Bragg songs instead.

Many have nitpicked at this MP3 player/racer/match-3 hybrid, but I still feel it realises its central concept – turning your music collection into a game – beautifully. If you don’t already own it, shame on you. If you don’t pick it up at this astonishingly low price (it’s practically free!) before Monday, double-shame with extra scorn for you, bucko. The offer ends Monday though, so get a wriggle on, eh?

Oh, if you are still unsure about the game itself, bear in mind it comes with a free MP3 copy of The Orange Box soundtrack. So if nothing else, it’s an album of splendid videogame music for mini-money.

I would also heartily advocate you folks starting up some new challenges, if anyone fancies thinking up a suitably awesome/hilarious track a bunch of us could high score-war over in this post’s comments.

Thanks to Amy Whittington for the nudge about this one.

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46 Comments »

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  1. Aldaris says:

    I recomend using the Ultimate Showdown Of Ultimate Destiny for your score war.
    The name kind of suits, and it’s decent music.

  2. King Awesome says:

    Groove Is In The Heart by Dee Lite.

  3. James G says:

    In the land of Scots our banks are being especially unfair tomorrow, they close their normal operations to build their beaches etc. but they won’t actually allow normal folks to visit them, forcing us all to go to work. Its all a bit unfair.

  4. Mark says:

    My fave is still probably 21st Century Schizoid Man by King Crimson.

  5. Smee says:

    Anything by Le Tigre, or early KLF. The 9 minute version of What Time Is Love is epic.

  6. Haroshi says:

    Try some reggae, the double beat makes the track hop all over the place and change pace constantly, surprisingly hard.

    The sound track to Bioshock is quite nice to use.

    Or if you are feeling like a masochist anything by ‘Shitmat’

  7. yu says:

    Some Godspeed You! Black Emperor, maybe storm or moya. Or why not Absolutego by BORIS? (no not really, GY!BE would be awesome, not that, that is just taking it to far you know).

  8. Mike says:

    I enjoy battling ultra-camp internet men over Disney soundtracks.

    Just sayin’.

  9. Ben Abraham says:

    I currently own 3 #1 spots for songs by US post-hardcore/screamo band Underoath on the Album ‘They’re Only Chasing Safety’. Fee free to attempt to dethrone me (10rdBen on AS) ;-)

    Oh, and if any Aussie readers care to battle over any song at all by The Herd, friend me up and start the fight! =D

  10. Charlie says:

    Your Shoes Are On Fire! By Botnik. Local Nottingham band, it’s about Sonic the Hedgehog and it’s brilliant in Audiosurf!

  11. The Poisoned Sponge says:

    Xploding Plastix is always great fun on Audiosurf.. the jazz drumbeats make the whole thing a little crazy, but that’s the whole fun of it!

  12. roBurky says:

    Would this be why I’ve been getting lots of emails about having my high scores dethroned recently?

  13. Lee Taylor says:

    @yu

    I’ve only managed to complete one GY!BE song on Audiosurf, I usually get bored around the 15 minute mark.

  14. Crash says:

    I won’t bother with steam account only to smash in 5th second to anything made by Atari Teenage Riot.

  15. Zoso says:

    A short informational film on the bank holiday: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N95uqc8Y-FM

  16. Azhrarn says:

    finally got around to buying this, didn’t know Steam now supported PayPal :D

  17. Chis says:

    @Lee Taylor

    With GYBE (where does the ! go nowadays?), lasting any further than a minute is an achievement in itself.

    I need to try some Fucking Champs in Audiosurf… or Venetian Snares. Hmm that’d be interesting.

  18. PJ says:

    How about the rickroll song?

  19. MetalCircus says:

    I remember playing Audiosurf at a friends house. While initially impressive, it’s a game that grows boring very quickly. For 2.50 I guess it’s a bargain, but really, “indie” games aren’t really my thing for various reasons.

    The tag “indie” suggests that, because they are independantly funded, gives the idea that developers are then free to make whatever they want, by extension, they could make games that are mature. Proper mature works of art about humans, or politics, anything. Instead we get tarted up flash games with gimmicks. No offense to indie game makers, the philosophy of DIY is very appealing to me,

    I just wish they’d start making games that aren’t rehashes with gimmicks stamped on them. I want to play a game that not only has refreshing and fun gameplay but is also acctually saying something important about the world. This is an area that is seriously lacking in the Video Game industry, and indie developers are the only ones who can really get away with making such games at the minute. Shame that no-ones taking advantage of this, really.

    You could say “if you want statements or messages, watch a movie or music blah blah” surely 100 years ago they were saying the same thing about these very mediums? Very negative view of my faveourite hobby, imo.

  20. teo says:

    I agree with MetalCricus
    I’d rather do something else while listening to music. It does the same things all the time. The tracks don’t reflect the uniqueness of the song you put in, it feels like the same thing over and over

  21. shon says:

    I play Audiosurf just about every day. I don’t know many other games that have held my attention like this one has.

    My personal favorite song to play these days is ‘She-bop’ by Cindy Lauper.

  22. Shakey-Lo says:

    I love playing The Blue Danube Waltz, but probably the best demonstration of Audiosurf that I have played is “Geigerteller” by Xploding Plastix. It shows off a lot of the Audiosurf experience in one song and is good fun to play.
    “Glosoli” by Sigur Ros is an amazing experience. The song and the game come together in such a way that the combination of the two is almost an artwork in its own right. Ninja Mono is recommended.

  23. john t says:

    If there weren’t a time limit, I’d like to try an essential mix. Any excuse to pull out Oakenfold’s Goa mix again, really.

  24. Saflo says:

    I’ve tried and tried, God help me, but I still don’t quite ‘get’ Audiosurf.

    Also it makes me feel like I’m on the verge of a seizure.

  25. Fat Zombie says:

    £2.50? That’s alright. I may buy it then, I suppose.

    Now if ALL these so called “amazing” games you keep on telling us about (Braid, Psychonauts, and so on and so on) sold for this low, I might consider getting them. Not all at once, you understand, that might add up to a large amount; I mean, I have to have limits sometimes. Plus, I bought Call of Duty 4 recently for £35, so I’ve got to cut back somewhere.

  26. Theory says:

    The bank holiday is actually an American invention. Roosevelt’s if my memory serves me, created after the Wall Street Crash to allow banks to recuperate and be audited.

    This concludes the lesson.

  27. Fat Zombie says:

    Woo! Purchased! Now I can play my music. Wait, that came out wrong; I can game my music? Surf my music?

    To be fair, I already have a tendency to game my music. I always put on my Last.fm playlist when I’m playing Call of Duty 4 online, so in a way that’s a form of it. Plus, there’s no better feeling than having a good streak on Crash or Crossfire whilst listening to the Indiana Jones theme. (Oh, wait, maybe there is: having a good streak on Crash or Crossfire whilst listening to the Trampp’s Disco Inferno)

  28. Naurgul says:

    I bought it twice today already. Once for my brother and once for my young nephew (who saw my brother playing online). I’m still debating with myself whether I should by it a third time, for myself. My gripe with Audiosurf is that while I love the way the track follows the music, I find that the actual gameplay is unrewarding and kinda unrelated with the track. I mean, come on, picking up coloured blocks and doing groups of them? Couldn’t they do better than that, like staying in the middle of the track or something? That would be nicer, I guess.

  29. Jimi Hendrix says:

    *roar* i wish i audiosurf was sold thorugh other outlets than steam!

  30. KindredPhantom says:

    FINE! I’ll buy it, you’ve twisted my arm…i’ll probably not play it but w/e.

  31. Fat Zombie says:

    I just played Hall of the Mountain King from the Peer Gynt Suite, controlling two vehicles at once through a maze of music.

    Ooooh. Is fuuuun.

  32. Brian says:

    First of all, if anyone reading this hasn’t bought this game, do it now! It’s super fantastic. In truth, I didn’t think the concept sounded too interesting so I just forked over my $10 for the Orange Box soundtrack. I probably got 500 hours of AAA entertainment out of that meagre pittance.

    So then, if anyone’s interested, I and some other DJs posted a collection of DJ mixes (techno, jungle, house, and the like) for the purpose of competing on these 20-40 minute continuous tracks. Give ‘em a try, and gawk in wonder at the few mighty Audiosurfers who mustered a flawless clean/stealth finish on 20-minute Ninja Mono tracks.

    P.s., I just bought and am downloading Beyond Good & Evil from Steam for $5. Wewt.

  33. AksumkA says:

    If you guys are looking for some sweet songs for free and legally, defiantly check out the Audio portal over at newgrounds.com

  34. Mark says:

    Haha! Just tried the Ballad of Jimi Hendrix by Stormtroopers of Death in Ninja Mono.

    5 seconds play for a top spot. :D

  35. brog says:

    Now to try a Thick as a Brick marathon.

  36. Phil says:

    I’ve not played many so far, but Eurythmics songs seem to work quite well, and Jane Siberry’s Map of the World part II is neat.

    I tried one of the Orange Box tracks, and although it turned out to be a minimalist ambient sort of track, Audiosurf somehow turned it into a downhill onslaught of red blocks. Weird…

  37. Arathain says:

    I find the theme and opening to Star Wars: A New Hope makes a surprisingly excellent track.

  38. Cope says:

    Awesome as in insane? How about these on Ninja Mono: Prodigy – Voodoo People (Pendulum Remix), Prodigy – Smack My Bitch Up (Sub Focus Remix). If you want something a little more reasonable I’d suggest anything by Red Sparowes, especially the song “Alone and Unaware, The Landscape Was Transformed In Front Of Our Eyes”. Or hell, you could always go with some crazy russian song about sex on a bmx (I guess?): Bobi Turboto – Sex

  39. CitizenKaned says:

    Why did everyone get so excited about this game? It’s almost as confusing as why people are banging on about Braid, a painterly 2D platform puzzler as if it was something new? Anyway that’s another rant.

    here we go…

    The ‘game’ itself is a simple block match game. Sort of Klax meets F-Zero but even less fun. But get this, the really clever part is that you can play your own music in the background. Not only that but irritating sound effects are triggered over the top of it and it even slightly influences the ‘gameplay’. You EVEN get points too. Mmm points. We all love points. Wow. Exciting stuff.

    Save your 2.5 Britishians. Download a 3D visualiser for your music player of choice. Then play your music and watch the visualisation while waggling your mouse about a bit and awarding yourself imaginary happy points. It’ll be just as much fun and you won’t get inappropriate samples triggered over your favourite music.

    They really should port this game to the Wii. I can just picture happy ‘gamers’ accross the land flailing their WiiMotes around wildly as the accrue masses of points while dribbling uncontrolably.

    …and relax.

  40. James says:

    The Killers makes for some nice tracks, though their first albulm is far better with it than the second. Plenty of downhill runs without the motion-sickness-inducing drum bounce that turns up on most rock tracks.

    EDIT:
    “They really should port this game to the Wii. I can just picture happy ‘gamers’ accross the land flailing their WiiMotes around wildly as the accrue masses of points while dribbling uncontrolably.”

    Does making wildly stereotypical remarks about a large portion of the gaming culture allow *you* to accrue imaginary happy points?

  41. LukeE says:

    @Theory

    Actually the bank holidays were formalised in the UK in 1871… a good 60 years before Roosevelts act.

  42. Down Rodeo says:

    I like Audiosurf. It’s good clean fun. Anyone play a bit of the Corrs? No takers? Ah well.

    I find there are some annoyances with it; occasionally it says I have overfilled when I’ve done nothing of the sort, then I remind myself that I can go back again and really it’s not that important in the grand scale of things.

    BG&E for how much? Consider it purchased…

    Anyway I’m not sure what my favourite track is but the Foos go quite well normally. I’d also participate in a song battle :)

  43. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    @ CitizenKaned: To each their own, but it’s worth bearing in mind that a key facet of the games appeal is the score chasing via the online leaderboards, so the scores aren’t completely meaningless. I doubt I’d have played it half as much as I have done if the leaderboards weren’t there.

    As for a track suggestion, I’ll nominate the Call of Duty 4 credits rap if only because I take a certain sociopathic delight in subjecting people to this ear-bleeding monstrosity.

  44. CitizenKaned says:

    @ Man Raised By Puffins: I knew about the leader boards but you seriously played this game more just because you couldn’t bear someone having more points than you? Competitive gaming is one thing but I think you should talk to someone about this ; )

    I kind of know that different people like different things but thanks for patronising me anyway. My beef isn’t so much with the game, although as you might have guessed it’s not one of my personal favourites. But more with the people holding it up as a shinning example of ‘indie’ games development. Just my opinion but I thought I redress the balance very very slightly with my own crazed little rant. No hard feelings. Have +10,000 bonus points for caring. Mmm points. If you like I can make you a leader board for those points ; )

  45. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    Well clearly I can bear other people having a higher score than myself, otherwise I’d have been driven insane long ago (although I’m sure you’ll surmise that I already have been, LOL). Much of the time playing I would just whack on a track I thought might be fun to try, then if I was close to the high-score see if I could beat it.

  46. Shakey-Lo says:

    Found another good song: Lemon Jelly – ’64 aka Go

    @CitizenKaned:
    You can turn the sound effects off. I did that within about 30 seconds of loading up my first song.
    And I’ve yet to find a music visualiser that does as good a job as Audiosurf. The fact that you’re controlling your little ship and that it does affect the gameplay helps a lot. For example the feeling of trepidation you get when you can see a massive drop coming on the horizon, bracing yourself for the onrush of blocks, then the music pauses in anticipation and you hover in place for one ever so slight moment before plummeting down into the bright red tunnel.
    Some people ‘get’ Audiosurf and some people don’t.