EarGames, a branch of Brian Schmidt Studios, is a company dedicated to sound-based "video" games.
Traditionally video games have been.... well, video games. Visuals and graphics have driven everything: gameplay, playfield, scoring, achievements. Videogames have been first and foremost about the pixels on the screen.
With the exception of music-based games, sound generally has a supporting role in video games. Although sound for games has progressed trememdously over the years (today's game scores rival the best film scores; doing sound design for video games can make sound design for film look like a walk in the park), it's rare for audio to be a driving gameplay element for videogames
EarGames' games, by contrast are driven almost entirely by sound. Instead of visual enemies, there are aural enemies. Instead of a playfield delinited by the screen, playfields are determined by what can be played sonically for the player.
The result? moving to sound-based gameplay opens up entirenly new gameplay mechanics and possibilities.
Although EarGames is not a developer of games for the blind per-se, all our games are fully accessible, making extensive use of Apple’s VoiceOver technology and other features specifically for the visually impaired gamer.
EarGames was founded in 2012 with a vision of making games where sound, not visuals drive the gameplay. After decades in the industry, including 10 years as audio architect for the Xbox™ and Xbox 360™, Brian created EarGames with a desire to create fast-paced, arcade-style sound-based gameplay for mobile devices and tablets.
EarGames creator, Brian Schmidt, is one of the leading pioneers of the game audio industry. The 2008 recipient of the Game Audio Network Guild’s Lifetime Achievement Award, Brian has been creating game music, sounds and cutting edge technology since 1987. With a credit list of over 130 games and a client list including Zynga, Microsoft, Sony, Electronic Arts, Capcom, Sega, Data East, Namco and many others, Brian has used his combined expertise and experience in music composition, sound design and his deep technical knowledge to further the state of the art in game audio.
Brian is also the creator of GameSoundCon, the industry's only conference dedicated to video game music and video game sound design education. Brian is a frequent and in-demand speaker on game audio and game audio technologies, having given literally hundreds of educational and inspirational talks at events all over the world.Events such as the Game Developers Conference, Microsoft’s Gamefest, Sega Devcon, and the Audio Engineering Society Conference, Sigraph and esteemed institutions such as Yale University, Northwestern University and Digipen have invited Brian to share his knowledge and insight into the industry.
Brian received undergraduate degrees in music and computer science from Northwestern University in1985,where he created the first dual degree program between the School of Music and the Technological Institute.He went on to complete his Masters in Computer Applications in Music in 1987, where portions of his thesis work was published in the prestigious Computer Music Journaland presented by invitation to the AES special conference on Audio Technology.Brian began his career in game audio in 1987 as a composer, sound effects designer and music programmer for Williams Electronic Games in Chicago writing music and creating sound effects for pinball machines and coin-operated video games.While there, he was the primary composer of the video game NARC.His main theme from NARC was later recorded and released by The Pixies.In 1989, Brian left Williams and became one of the industry’s first independent game audio designers, where he worked on such games as John Madden Football, the Desert Strike Series, the award winning Crueball.Other credits include Guns and Roses Pinball, where he worked closely with Slash to create a truly interactive Rock and Roll game experience.
In 1998, Brian was recruited by Microsoft to lead the direction of game audio technologies.While there, he joined the then-fledgling Xbox organization as the primary architect for its audio and music system.Brian has been credited with bringing Dolby Digital Surround Sound to interactive gaming through his efforts at Xbox (where he also created the original Xbox startup sound).Through his ten-year tenure at Microsoft, Brian continued to drive and advance game audio technologies through tools such the award-winning “XACT” (Xbox Audio Creation Tool); the first-of-its kind tool to provide interactive mixing for video games.Brian was also responsible for the overall audio system of the Xbox 360 game system, including the XMA audio compression format, winner of the G.A.N.G “Best New Technology award” and finalist in IGDA’s “Best new technology” category.Brian currently works as a consultant to the video game industry working with companies large and small.