December 17, 2015
Celebrating Ludwig van Beethoven's 245th Year
Help Beethoven's unfortunate journey to the symphony hall by arranging his masterpieces in time for the big crescendo!
Even when you’re the preeminent musical genius of your generation, sometimes you just step in it. So begins Beethoven’s trip to the symphony hall in today’s musical puzzle, which Leon Hong created in collaboration with artist Nate Swinehart and engineers Jonathan Shneier and Jordan Thompson. It happens that our story isn’t much of a stretch in the broader context of Ludwig van Beethoven’s life, which saw more than its share of rotten luck.
Ludwig’s father, a middling singer in the Elector’s court and a man too often in his cups, pulled the precocious child out of school at the age of ten in hopes of earning some money on the shoulders of his talent (as a result, his handwriting was so bad that musicologists still struggle to authenticate his signature). He lost two siblings prematurely, had to assume full responsibility for his family as a teenager, fell madly for unrequiting lovers twice, and, most famously, began losing his hearing at the peak of his career.
Despite all of this, Beethoven’s music prevailed. As Mozart reputedly said, “one day, [that boy] will give the world something to talk about.” That he certainly did. Sure, he may have raised his voice a few times, but he could overwhelm his friends with excessive kindness and generosity just the same. And while his romances brought him more anguish than happiness, would we have Für Elise or Moonlight Sonata if they hadn’t?
It’s unclear when Beethoven was actually born, but December 17th marks the 245th anniversary of his baptism. Today provided us a rare opportunity to construct a game in step with beautiful music, whose evocative moods, drama, lightness, and depth made conjuring visuals to match it rollickingly fun. Here’s to one of history’s greatest artists, and to hoping that, wherever you happen to be traveling this holiday, your life’s work isn’t eaten by a horse.
Engineers: Jordan Thompson, Jonathan Shneier, Kris Hom, Charlie Gordon
Design Lead: Leon Hong
Animatics/Additional Art: Nate Swinehart
Piano Recordings: Tim Shneier
Production: Gregory Capuano
Mulling over ideas for puzzle structure
The evening’s first misstep
Moonlight Sonata before a dip in the Rhine
At last, the crescendo