Snowbound blizzard weekend. Eight foot plough drifts on Ave A this morning. Difficult snow navigation on unshoveled sidewalks via NewBalance. Everyone walking slowly. The A train standing room only from W 4th all the way to 168th.

Katie’s great mushroom and carrot loaf -- two dinners worth of food. Plenty of milk and espresso. Fighting cabin fever. Metal of Honor: Frontline on the Xbox. Spielbergy soundtrack, intolerable in high drama moments, not bad in ambient stretches. Heavy use of bass/french horn pairings. Undercurrent of tension transmitted via the low and mellow settings on the partial series dial.

The art of video game music requires the composer to be as interesting as possible, while also arranging the material to be able to withstand constant, repeated listening within a single level -- esp. if you’re not doing very well. It must stand up to replay without getting annoying. In replay, pointed musical qualities become a drawback. A similar aesthetic in Brian Eno’s Music for Airports. In Metal of Honor, the musical moments of high drama are redundant -- you’re already actively engaged in the drama -- you’re helping to save the world from Nazis. You don’t need reminding that’s it’s epic and tragic.

Metal of Honor’s graphics are well below what the Xbox can do, being a PSII port, but it doesn’t suffer from the odd blocky green-hue emphasis that seems to inflect older PSII games. Despite this, it’s actually quite good with atmosphere, esp. the night sky against the roof lines and streetlamps of a small town. Pastel quality rather than the CGI movie vibe you get in Halo. Lots of burnt sienna. A beautiful day with burning windmills.

Work alleviates the shut-in feeling from seeing the snow go sideways outside the living room window. Video games, esp. FPS games, are work -- series of tasks that need to be accomplished. You eliminate obstructions and threats, protect yourself and collect resources. Metal of Honor doesn’t try to hide this it -- it emphasizes it. You actually get a to-do list and the game checks tasks off as you finish them.

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