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Sci-Fi Sounds of '50s Flavor Video Game

The 1951 movie The Day the Earth Stood Still was amplified with the help of composer Bernard Herrmann's eerie score. Echoes of Herrmann's music were heard in countless other sci-fi flicks through the 1950s. Now the sounds reverberate anew in a newly released video game released called "Destroy All Humans." Garry Schyman, who composed the music for the game, pays tribute to Herrmann, and the game format gave him the chance to write a variety of three-minute pieces, ranging from "Furon Theme" to "Saucer Attack."

Schyman, who has also written soundtracks for TV shows and movies, tells Liane Hansen what it was like to write music for a video game.

The music complements a game that takes a tongue-in-cheek look at 1950s films, with big-finned cars and backdrops that include a carnival, the bucolic town of Rockwell and Capitol City, an Everytown of the era with institutional structures closely resembling the federal buildings in Washington, D.C. There's also more than a hint of Mars Attacks!, the oddball 1996 Tim Burton film.

But put away that fedora, pal. You're not defending Earth in this game, you're assaulting it, with five different landing sites, and a variety of lethal weapons.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Liane Hansen
Liane Hansen has been the host of NPR's award-winning Weekend Edition Sunday for 20 years. She brings to her position an extensive background in broadcast journalism, including work as a radio producer, reporter, and on-air host at both the local and national level. The program has covered such breaking news stories as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the capture of Saddam Hussein, the deaths of Princess Diana and John F. Kennedy, Jr., and the Columbia shuttle tragedy. In 2004, Liane was granted an exclusive interview with former weapons inspector David Kay prior to his report on the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The show also won the James Beard award for best radio program on food for a report on SPAM.