Plink hopes to be the online equivalent of an informal jam session. You walk into a website. There are some other great players there. You sit down with your instrument of choice. You start to play, and they join in. Or they’re already playing, and you join. Whatever happens, the idea is that there’s more fun when people are making music together.
Plink is very simple. After you log in enter a username, you’re deposited on what appears to be a blank musical staff. You press—or hold down—the left button on your mouse. Tones sound, depending on where your little dot is on the staff. Move the dot up and down to change the tone. If the mouse button is held down, it produces a continuous loop of tones, veering from highs to lows. If you click to play, you can attempt to produce your own tunes, instead of a long collection of synthetic beeps and boops. Get bored with the current sound you’re making? Head over to the left to select a new “instrument,” all of which seem carefully chosen to simulate the sounds of a 1980s Casio keyboard.
The real fun comes when at least one but ideally two or more other players are hanging out with you. The various tones have been carefully chosen so that they’ll all sound harmonious with each other, and as your fellow players begin to lay in their own notes, anywhere you join in will sound fine. Plink accommodates all types, from those who want to lay out a solid bass riff to those making melody to those who just want to contribute a flourish here or there.
Much of the pleasure of the internet is in collaboration with others, and much of it still lies in anonymity. It’s doubtful that anything created in Plink will ever rise to the level of great music, but it’s a vastly enjoyable way to exercise some creative juices in between other tasks. It’s soothing, the way those long strings of tones eventually add up to a whole greater than the parts, and just hanging out with strangers, trying to create something that sounds like music is a lot of fun.