Integrating music and science: WVU student releases album alongside interactive video game
A student in the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources released his second full-length album with an interactive video game experience that helps tackle the uncertainties ahead for all living beings.
Story by Adrianne Uphold, Graduate Assistant
Combining his passions within the realm of computer science and music, Conner Rush, a computer science major at West Virginia University, produced the music album, The Colossus Is Coming. The album is accompanied by an interactive video game experience, The Colossus Is Coming: The Interactive Experience.
The first-person game follows a nameless and voiceless protagonist that stumbles upon tapes throughout a strange forest. The tapes that play are from the album; it tells the story of someone being chased by an omniscient being.
“This is more of an art piece than a game in the traditional sense,” Rush said. “I made the album first and foremost as an exploration of ideas surrounding religion, existentialism, anxiety, relationships, neuroticism… all tackled under the greater question of ‘what does it mean to live life to the fullest?’”
Other WVU students helped Rush create the album like Jonah Henthorne, a music major, who played a majority of the acoustic drums and vocal mixing. Phillip Keefover performed on the saxophone and members of the bands Transviolet and Sleeping Lion also took part. Rush uses the stage name Auric Echoes.
“The game is meant to evoke the feelings of anxiety and feeling trapped expressed through music,” Rush said. “The Colossus Is Coming: The Interactive Experience more delves into the narrative told through the album in a more visual and tactile way.”
Developing video games isn’t something new for Rush. In 2020, he released Summerland, a first-person narrative game about morality and the afterlife, that allows users to take control of the character, Matthew, a detective reliving the events of his past to understand what happened to him.
“I was writing this album around the same time I released my last video game, Summerland,” Rush said. “Seeing as though they were written around the same time, my headspace was in a similar place. I’m not sure if making the album has helped me ‘understand’ any of these things, I’m still terribly confused, but It helped more with accepting these things.”
Rush hopes that this record will connect with others.
“I wrote with enough abstract language that I hope the individual listener can take away their meaning from the songs on the album,” Rush said. “I want the general emotion to relay, but the specifics are certainly up to interpretation. Hopefully the record will help others like me not feel so alone in their anxieties.”
The game was developed through FYRE Games, Fairmont Youths Reinventing Entertainment. Rush created FYRE Games when he was only 12 years old. FYRE Games became legally recognized as an LLC in the United States this year.
The Colossus Is Coming and The Colossus Is Coming: The Interactive Experience is available to stream now. The album is released on all streaming platforms, and the game can be played for free on Steam. You can view the video game trailer here.
Contact: Paige Nesbit
Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources
304.293.4135, Paige Nesbit
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