More tribute albums?

Since Apollo 18+20 came out, I’ve been thinking about the possibility of another tribute album (not that I’d like to organize another one). And then Carl Muckenhoupt posted some good critical analysis of the album. It’s a good read, and near the end he talks about the suitability of the album for adaptation:

He mentions TMBG’s Flood album as a possible next one to tackle.

So, does anyone have thoughts about any other albums that might be good for something like this or something similar to this? Or does anyone want to ramble about IF adaptations in general? I have been thinking about the possibility of adapting Rush’s 2112 into IF, but this is a bit more narrative, and it wouldn’t work as a free-form collaboration like the Apollo 18+20 project, and it might even be best as just a work by a single person. Maybe Pink Floyd’s The Wall would be an interesting group project, but it would have to have to be at least a bit more tightly managed than Apollo 18+20.


I never figured out why you did the Apollo 18 thing to begin with. Is there any particular significance to this album for IF:ers that I don’t know of? I admit that I have never heard of that album and I have a pretty vague idea of TMBG overall. They’re on Spotify though, so I’m learning.

I guess this is some obscure American thing. :slight_smile:

How about doing any Tom Waits album, Swordfishtrombones maybe? (edit: actually I was thinking of Rain Dogs

I think the vagueness, nonsense, and lack of obvious goals are helpful to authors as well – they gave us a lot more freedom. If I were doing a tribute to Tom Waits’ Franks Wild Years (let alone 2112 or the Wall) I’d feel absolutely straitjacketed by the narrative. With Apollo 18 there was a lot more freedom to riff on the songs in various way, because it’s impossible to be faithful.

That makes me think maybe Elvis Costello, whose lyrics are pretty allusive – but maybe they’re too goal-oriented in a way. I was thinking Get Happy because of all the little songs, but there’s a lot of not entirely savory relationship stuff going on there that might be hard to avoid if you didn’t want to write that kind of game. And the humor of the TMBG songs is important too, for a bunch of games that aren’t going to be polished for years – I wouldn’t want to try to do a quick adaptation of Elvis C.'s “Sleep of the Just,” for instance. (From a different album.)

The tribute album was hardly an adaptation. You need more than titles for that.

I can’t think of any albums that would make a good IF adaptation, except possibly for concept albums like Coheed and Cambria. But I don’t know if tribute/fan works would be good for that. On the whole the idea does not excite me at all.

I was thinking about the idea of a tribute album of some kind, and I started poking around some bands I know on Wikipedia to see if there were any anniversaries coming up. I happened to see that Apollo 18 was approaching its 20th anniversary. So it was pretty much pure luck that this project came out as it did. I certainly didn’t consciously think about what album would be good for something like this, so it was pure luck that it ended up being something really good. I guess it’s also what made people actually want to participate so that something actually came out.

Of course, the whole reason I was looking at They Might Be Giants was because I am familiar with them. At least in (American) geeky circles that I am somewhat a part of, They Might Be Giants is a pretty well-known band.

Very true. I was not speaking precisely. While there are certainly some of the games that ended up being pretty close to adaptations, the majority are not.


As someone who cares little for TMBG, I had a sulky fit of looking for which 1992 albums I would, in an ideal world, have liked to see made into IF tribute albums; Bone Machine topped the list. (Then I went off and started looking at the next few years, and wasted a good afternoon pouting about how nobody in the IF world likes the sort of music I do, and why can’t we do a tribute to Enter the Wu-Tang or The Holy Bible or wah wah wah.) But I think that Waits would require vastly more discipline and tonal consistency than is really plausible in a community effort; his stuff is so laden with a very specific kind of atmosphere and mood, so that even though I love the idea of an IF game that feels like a Tom Waits song, I doubt that this kind of comp would be the way to produce one. One of the big advantages of Apollo 18 was that it’s a messing-about, light-hearted experimentation sort of album, something to which a wacky speed-IF kind of game is a legitimate tribute rather than a tone-breaker.

Which is to say, I agree with baf and with Matt.

I’m not sure what that points to, though. Quasimoto? Mr. Scruff?

Kid Creole and the Coconuts? The albums usually have a plot, but that doesn’t need to constrain the writers any more than it constrained the lyrics.

ETA: Abbey Road? The Residents Commercial Album? Trout Mask Replica? Three Feet High and Rising?

I second Trout Mask Replica. Or maybe Tales from the Punchbowl?

These are the ones I’d most enjoy seeing as a player:

The Grateful Dead, From The Mars Hotel
Frank Zappa, Sheik Yerbouti
Dire Straits, Love Over Gold
The Beatles, Abbey Road
Pink Floyd, Obscured By Clouds
Steely Dan, Pretzel Logic

As an author … I doubt I could be tempted to participate in another one. I think the TMBG project was awesome and I poured all my heart into my little piece of it … but that’s kind of the problem. Don’t want to do that again. Not like that. But as a player, I’d be enthused to see more.

I’ve pondered what IF version of “This is Hell” or “Poor Fractured Atlas” might be like. The ponderings did nothing to cheer me up :slight_smile:

Oh I would so do any Tom Waits album at the drop of the hat, and as both Cibelle and Scarlett Johansson have amply shown, his songs admit a number of moods and interpretations. Incidentally, Calm was secretly an interpretation of The Smiths’ The Queen Is Dead album, but nobody cottoned on, despite the fact that the vicar was wearing a tutu. Their Louder Than Bombs has a good number of songs and would, I think, work well for a collaborative tribute album.

Maybe some other kind of collection of whatever is a better idea than an album? The signs of the Zodiac? A commedia dell’arte theme? A Tarot deck? A list of cocktails?

Well, except for doing something Wu Tang Style, I’m not sure I can resist that.

One thing that worked really nicely with the Apollo 18 Tribute is the fingertips tracks that were represented with one move games. Maybe something with a unique aspect like this could be good for a tribute.

That’s sounds good! If that does happen, I’ll make ophiuchus!

Really? I would never have guessed that! What else have you hidden away in there? :slight_smile:

The Tarot is absolutely perfect for interpreting as a set of computer games, which is why The Fool’s Errand already did that. I’m not saying that trying it in a different medium would be a bad idea, though.

I’m just saying that everyone should play The Fool’s Errand.

Hells yeah. Awesome game! It’s been available for free download for a while now: … /index.htm

Since we’re making suggestions:

Nice Cave had some kind of anniversary recently. Damned if I remember what, but:

  1. “Avalanche”
  2. “Cabin Fever!”
  3. “Well of Misery”
  4. “From Her to Eternity”
  5. “In the Ghetto”
  6. “The Moon is in the Gutter”
  7. “Saint Huck”
  8. “Wings off Flies”
  9. “A Box for Black Paul”
    Just look at that track listing. Combine it with his moody music and you’ve got some awesome games!

Or any of his CDs for that matter.

If we’re listing classic albums, then how about Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue? (Best selling jazz record of all time - should be in any musician’s collection.) There are no lyrics, but here’s the song list:

  1. So What
  2. Freddie Freeloader
  3. Blue in Green
  4. All Blues
  5. Flamenco Sketches

Also: single most (tiresomely?) ubiquitous album in every secondhand bookshop, ever, and that goes double for bookshops with a resident cat.

My own choice for IF-adaptable jazz albums would be Vince Guaraldi’s In Person, but Kind of Blue would be nice, too, I agree :slight_smile:

I’d love to do a Leonard Cohen-inspired piece of IF. Tom Waits might be interesting as well. (And call me a barbarian, but I’ve never even heard of They Might Be Giants. Which obviously doesn’t prove anything about how cool they are.)

I would call you a barbarian, but you can’t be much of one if you listen to Cohen (unless, perhaps, if Death of a Ladies’ Man is your favourite album).

Seems to me that there’s a lot of potential Waits interest, and as they say, Tom Waits for No One. Next year will be the fortieth anniversary of his debut Closing Time, the thirtieth anniversary of Swordfishtrombones, the twentieth anniversary of The Black Rider and the tenth anniversary of Coffee & Cigarettes. How’s that for an anniversary!

2012 marks the 30th anniversary of Jethro Tull’s “Thick As A Brick” album. I can see some potential there. Yeah, the thing has only a couple of tracks respectively called “Part I” and “Part II”, but the concept in the mockingly self-appointed “mother of all concept-albums” is open to a lot of derivative fiction stuff. Authors, for example, could select a clip from the newspaper cover (scans available here) as a starting point for an IF work, which might, as in an improvisation exercise, try to reach unexpected places just like the music seems to be doing in its neverending run.

I didn’t know about the Apollo 18 tribute. I think it’s a good choice of album, at least for people who know TMBG.

Running with the idea that nonsense makes for good short IF collaborations, perhaps a Soul Coughing album would work - Ruby Vroom maybe? I’d love to see an IF version of “Is Chicago, is not Chicago” or “Bus to Beelzebub.”

Or going back further, Shriekback’s “Oil and Gold.”