Rez is one of the only games centering around music that can truly get away with it's abstract graphics. I suppose the developers got around having to explain the surreal graphics by saying it's set inside a computer - where allegedly anything can happen :P
The blurb on the back of the PlayStation 2 (I can't account for the Dreamcast box-art) release is wonderfully vague:
Discover a new world
A world of sound, visuals and vibrations
Enter the network and awaken 'Eden'
Release your instincts
Open you senses
(...and in the smallest writing but the most important!)
Experience synesthesia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synesthesia)
Without proceeding too much further, have a look at the video below...
The ONLY idea of this game is to aim and shoot. The player doesn't have to worry about navigating around the level or running out of ammunition. This game is known as an 'On The Rails Shooter' which essentially means that the computer has complete control and all you need to do is shoot - simple. Though, not hugely simple(!) If you don't shoot fast enough and/or accurately enough you'll 'die'...
OK - the musical aspect of the game. There are 5 'areas' that make up the game. Each area has it's own piece of music. These are tracks that have been composed by 'real-life' artists. While each track is a proper piece of music in itself, they've been stripped down piece by piece and split into stages to match the pace of the game. That is to say, that at the beginning of an area, it's generally a slow start in terms of having things to shoot at, therefore, the music only consists of a basic drum rhythm. Each area is split into 10 stages. At the height of the action, the music will sound very 'busy' with all the usual parts in place (drums, bass, synths, percussion...)
After harping on about all the shooting and the music, the main part of the game is the experience that the player gets. Everytime they shoot something, a percussive noise, synthesiser note or sound effect is played in harmony with the rest of the music. When an enemy has been dispatched off the virtual coil, there is a small light-show explosion. It's difficult to explain but the way the enemy explodes visually matches the exploding sound... if that makes sense at all (see the Wikipedia link above, yes I KNOW Wikipedia is genrally a no-no, but in this case it's actually a good pool of information, so there...!)
So, to conclude...
The graphics and overall aesthetic of the game will play a huge influence in the way I think about the way I design my application - whether it turns out to be a game - or not...
Official site of the original Dreamcast/PS2 game - http://www.sonicteam.com/rez/e/news/index.html
Official site of Rez HD for the Xbox360 - http://www.thatgamecalledrez.com/
Wikipedia entry for Rez - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rez... There's a couple of pieces of information that may prove interesting...
(Rez shall return in this blog...)