Among the staff here at The Wired Fish, there’s no mistaking that I like me some old-school games from my youth. Much of what I bought this past Christmas was old PS1 games off the Playstation Store, chief among them being Wild ARMs 2. When talking it up on Retro Weekends, I reminisce about simpler times when all I had to worry about was going to school, doing my homework, and get further in that new game I got. Times have changed, with life moving at a faster pace now that I’m older, and info being fed to me faster than any magazine ever could back then. So when I happened upon Senran Kagura Burst, I came in expecting pretty much what I expected (and being all the more happy for it). But the bodacious package came with a neat little treat that I didn’t expect.
This week was Thanksgiving, so all this week was about giving thanks to the things videogames did for us. We started the thank-you’s with The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. Then we surfed from sewers in TMNT IV: Turtles in Time. Then we climbed The Shard in Mirror’s Edge. Then we searched for the crystals in Final Fantasy IV. And finally we paid a visit to the Mushroom Kingdom in Super Mario RPG.
If you want to see the music as it goes up (and not wait every Saturday for these wrap-ups), remember to go to our Tumblr page and follow it. Music for Night-Time Listenings goes up every weekday at 10PM.
Today was the second day of New York Comic-Con, and we wrapped of Comics Week yesterday. We kicked it off with some Maximum Carnage. Then we tagged in Captain America with Marvel vs. Capcom. We died a lot to the rockin’ tunes of Silver Surfer. We punched fools in the face with Batman on the NES. And finally, we punched more fools in the face to the tunes of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.
If you want to see the music as it goes up (and not wait every Saturday for these wrap-ups), remember to go to our Tumblr page and follow it. Music for Night-Time Listenings goes up every weekday at 10PM
Last night Jeremiah “Module” Ross performed at the San Francisco Bath House in New Zealand. He was doing the music from Shatter, which was rife with Electronica goodness. Since the concert was in New Zealand, the time difference was pretty immense, and most of use were either sleeping or at work. But Module was nice enough to archive his performance on YouTube for the public that missed it. The actual performance begins around the 1 hour mark. Before that is the opening act. So have a listen and enjoy. And remember that Shatter is available on PSN, Steam (I believe), and is part of the current Humble Indie Bundle.
Ever since Resident Evil 6 was first announced back in January, we have only seen snippets of chapter scenarios. It’s been recently with E3 and Comic Con, that Resident Evil fans have been able to view more game play footage. But even then, it was footage taken from the middle of a chapter scenario.
Youtuber and video game reviewer DvLZGaME was able to get his hands on extended scenario game play for both Leon Kennedy and Chris Redfield, that shows more of the intro sequences. What are also interesting to note are the loading screen animations and some of the initial trailer images, such as Chris shoving a camera man and Leon and Helena falling out of a helicopter and in to a pit of zombies…too bad that’s not really what happens.
Unfortunately, we don’t speak Arabic in this fish tank, so we can’t decipher his commentary but the footage is pretty awesome and worth taking a look.
If you don’t mind being spoiled, check out more below.
Back when videogame music was still bleeps and bloops, it was hard to really make a song that sounded, well, like a familiar genre. Some managed to attempt certain genres (like what we’ll cover today), but overall many just focused on making memorable melodies with the tools they had available. Then as the generations progress and improved, so too did the sound capabilities. Familiar genres could be heard as early as the SNES (and some NES). With Nintendo themselves, they stuck with what they did best: memorable melodies and happy tunes. Of course, they would venture off into some Space Opera-like themes with Star Fox. But a majority of the music made by Nintendo consisted of Jazz arrangements (PilotWings), easy listening (Sim City), or pop-y (most Mario games). With this light-hearted reputation, it’s sometimes a surprise to hear Nintendo come out of nowhere with a rock song in a game, and it freakin’ awesome every time. So sit back and get ready to bang your head, it’s Top 10 Hard Rockin’ Nintendo Themes.
Okay then, I’ll have to backpeddle on this one a bit. There was only one song two weeks ago and nothing this past week since we were all busy with E3. So to make up for that, I’m going to do a Two Week Special. Basically, I’ll be posting 10 songs here, which is two weeks worth of music. And I’ll be taking a from each of my Top 10 favorite games of all time (As of this year. It changes sometimes). Also, the songs selected are not what I consider the best songs of each game, they’re just randomly chosen. So hit that jump and get listening.
Remember to like our Facebook page to get updates from TWF, and to see the music posted without waiting for these wrap-ups. We now have a Tumblr too if you prefer to get your updates Tumbld to you…. I’m sorry. That was a terrible pun. I’ll go in the corner an sulk with a dunce cap on.Continue reading
A couple of years ago, I was wondering if anyone ever bothered trying to do videogame music on a pipe organ. It took a while, but I managed to find one person that did just that. Posted back in 2009, someone by the username of DrRolde covered some song with his churches Grand Organ. Of course, since Dancing Mad was done with the SNES pipe organ sound, it was only a matter of time before he covered it.
I’ll just shut up now. Have a listen. It’s amazing. (and yes, he forgot the notes at one point and played the Fugue. Pretty hilarious.)
This article came out a little over a week ago (probably two by the time of publication), and I both loved and hated it so much, I knew I wanted to use it as the inspiration for some of my musical discussion.
The author tells a familiar tale of how video game music just isn’t what it used to be and takes a stab at explaining one reason why : limitation. The underlying principle, one that I somewhat agree with is that some of the greatest game music came out of composers doing the best that they could do with the sound resources they had available; in the early days of gaming, this amount was very little.
While I agree with the principle, it’s no excuse for the direction game music is taking. Gregory admits that there are exceptions to the rule especially in the realm of Japanese gaming, but why is that? The soundtrack for Super Mario Galaxy 2 uses an orchestra as big as many other modern games for instance, and yet its music falls far from the “disposable” category.
I started thinking a lot about the state of game music, what happened to change the nature of such music, and what we can do as composers and/or listeners to keep video game music relevant even today.
And thus I decided to go on a journey exploring different generations of game music. Who knows, maybe there’s something to learn from all of this.
Part 1 : Simple NES/Gameboy Music
I forgot that Chinese New Year was happening this week. Chinese New Year (or Lunar New Year) is celebrated for four days (first day is the eve of it, the other three is the real deal). This year marks the Year of the Dragon, one of the more awesome signs of the Chinese Zodiac. Plus I was born that year too. So what better way to celebrate Chinese New Year than to listen to some Chinese inspired videogame music. Since most games back then were made in Japan, there’s a slight tinge of stereotyping by the Japanese here, but then again they made some awesome music. More recent games have been a bit more fair when using Chinese instruments and melodies and creating something worth listening to. Since most of the songs I’ve heard came from fighting games, most of these will be from that genre. Anyway, get the fireworks ready and start-a-listening! Continue reading
I Stand On My Soapbox is a series of editorials that cover more specific topics in the games industry and community. These articles are a little more extreme than normal editorials published here, and could just degenerate to outright ranting. Have fun and enjoy the show!
Ah Donkey Kong Country 3. Many consider this game the Super Mario Bros. 2 of the Donkey Kong Country series, the sort of outcast that not many people remember. I mean, it came off the heels of Donkey Kong Country 2, and was released the same year the N64 came out. Like its following and fan reaction, its soundtrack was met with… okay ratings. While there were some memorable tunes from this entry in the series, it was obvious that some was… missing. Maybe its because Eveline Fischer did most of the composing and not David Wise (no offense to Fischer). Maybe it’s the relatively new setting for the Kongs.Years later, facing audio issues for the GBA, Nintendo saw this and brought back David Wise to redo the entire soundtrack of DKC3 for its GBA release. And then… a fanbase split ensues!
Here’s another compilation of Mario music. But this is no orchestral arrangement or some half-assed compilation that only covers the core Mario games. Oh no. This gets almost alllll of them. We’re talking from Donkey Kong, to Super Mario World, Super Mario Land, Paper Mario, Mario Golf (you know, that game I didn’t get to play in my youth). Even Luigi gets in on the action! Just as amazing is the effects on display in the video and how creatively the sprites, footage, and text is used. Just watch. And cry…
It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of the Ace Combat series. While I’ve never detailed the 5th and 6th entry in any way (and I really should, especially for 5), Each entry has had consistently good soundtracks. For Namco’s latest addition to the Ace Combat series, Assault Horizon, I’ll admit I was very concerned since every entry in the series (except for maybe the first one) took place in the fictional world of Strangereal. This one takes place in our world and has your typical Russians and Middle Easterners as villains (where have I seen these roles before?). My concern over the story can be its own article, so let’s just talk music. So far, it seems like the music team is not letting the game’s real-world setting hamper its imagination, as each track still sounds like what you’d expect from Ace Combat. Track 2, 3, and 4 sound like oil refinery missions (ain’t no Ace Combat game complete without those). Track 5 – Spooky though brings back that epic Ace Combat feel that we know and love. Track 11 – Dogfight definitely sounds like a modern take on the Shattered Skies mission and song from Ace Combat 04. I’ll let you jusdge if the soundtrack’s sound good or not. For me, I’m liking what I’m hearing here. You can find the previews here and here.
Back around 2007, upon playing some Donkey Kong Country 2 on the Wii virtual console with my family (we never owned the game on the original SNES), my oldest sister tells me that “Bayou Boogie,” the swamp bgm, sounds like “In The Air Tonight” by Phil Collins. So she plays video of the song on Youtube, and the similarity bitch-slapped my face raw. Go on videos for Bayou Boogie, and you’ll see comments comparing the song to “In The Air Tonight.” Well, on March 16, 2010, a Youtuber by the name of mx31619 made a mash-up of the two, and they fit like a hand in a mitten. But that’s not all. He even used the drums in Lockjaw’s Saga (around 3:02) and the synth of Mining Melancholy (3:44). By far this is the best mash-up of videogame music since Sonic and Kirby.
Yeah, I haven’t done one of these in a while… spending a good portion of my day trying to write even a couple of bars of decent music and studying techniques/history via textbooks and audiobooks doesn’t exactly have me wanting to tackle even more music at the end of the day. I’ll be honest, I haven’t had much motivation.
I’ve also had my hands full with Darksiders which should be finished for review in a couple of days, actually, the only reason I’m not playing right now is because the game froze on me in the middle of a dungeon that I’m not particularly fond of. Being too lazy to hook up my SNES, Super Gameboy and digging through a bunch of shit for the cartridge, I just settled for my modified wii, classic controller and a digital copy of the game.
Note : The Wired Fish does not support piracy. Own your games before emulating them.
I am going to have to come out clean and say I fucking suck at Super Mario Land. Mario’s momentum seems to break too easily and the controls always feel just a little stiff. I remember never being able to make it past world 3 as a kid and when I tried it out last week, I met the same fate. Tonight I am proud to say that not only have I finished world 3, but I also managed to beat Super Mario Land, and on one credit! Admittedly it was a little too close for comfort when I dropped from 18 to 2 lives at one point, but a few lucky bonus games was all I needed. But we’re not here to celebrate my victory, we’re here to enjoy some music.
While a lot of the later tracks invoke a more exotic feel, this leaves me with no such sentiment. It’s clear that it wasn’t even the intention which would explain why it plays in the very first level : while it lacks that feel of a faraway land, it’s damn catchy, and the song is one that you’ll be hard pressed to forget once you sing along with a couple of loops. Continue reading