The Spinto Band Turns Preparing For a Gig Into a Retro Game

Posted August 21

“Maybe there’s a common character trait between the kind of people who hide in their basement and record songs instead of going to hang out at the bowling alley and the kind of people who hide in their house and play video games instead of going to house parties in high school,” says Nick Krill of The Spinto Band, referring to the preponderance of musicians who put out video games nowadays. Krill and his bandmates recently joined their ranks with the recent release of iOS game Show Pursuit.

Show Pursuit — a play on the name of their recent album, Shy Pursuit — is a six-level game that tasks the player with getting the band to their gig on time. As you beat each game, you can move on to the next and, finally, the Shy Pursuit cover editor, which lets you customize the band’s album art.

Sadly, this reporter — who was more of the “sit in the corner of the library reading the collected works of Robert Cormier” kind of girl than a video game player or social bowler in high school — could only access the first game, a Snake spinoff called “SsssssNick.” The next locked levels include “Sam’s Good Pitch,” “Joe’s Road Cross,” “Cargo Jeff,” “Tom’s Ride” and “Jon’s Sound Check.” If you haven’t figured it out yet, each level represents a different band member and is based on a vintage video game.

“In our recording studio, we have a pretty good setup of original Nintendo and Super Nintendo games,” says bassist Thomas Hughes of how the band “researched” the game. “We tried to choose games that could be made analogous to some sort of musical setup, whether it be loading a van with gear or loading into a show or connecting wires.”

Krill decided to crib on Snake for his level due to an on-tour obsession. “On tour I got really addicted to playing Snake on my cellphone — a Nokia phone — that was the only game that it came with,” he says. “I got really addicted to that on tour, so that was naturally my first choice. We love a lot of old, really simple [games].” In “SsssssNick,” Krill is tasked with collecting all the gear in the studio, and each preceding level brings the band one step closer to the show.

The game was first conceptualized when developer Jordi Pamies approached the band about finding a new way to showcase their work. In addition to being an amusing diversion, the app also promotes the band’s new album, as instrumental tracks are included in the games and the band acts in little video vignettes between levels. They also provided voiceover acting for all games.

Although Spinto Band say they were unaware of the fact, the idea of bands spawning games is getting rather well-worn lately. Bands like Incubus have released Facebook games, Das Racist launched a game in music video form, and Pitchfork has been on a tear lately pumping out music-themed amusements. And let’s not forget bands that make their own games, like O Music Award-winning music Katy Goodman (Best Artist/Entrepreneur).

What’s your favorite musician-themed game?