With Nintendo announcing its planned November 11, 2016, release of the Classic NES with 30 games last week I was hit with a flurry of video game audio flashbacks. Learning that the new mini Nintendo could not have any additional games added to it, I thought about some of the games I still had in my NES collection that I wish were included.
So in this edition of Game Soundtracks For Your Soul I’m looking back at a few NES games that had some incredible soundtracks. Come on in to relive some of my personal favorite NES game scores which include music to robots, soldiers, and space animals.
Overlooker is a Gameboy Color inspired Survival Horror game created by Connor O.R.T. Linning in just under 22 days. He supplied OSV with a review copy of the soundtrack he created for the game which he describes as a top down 2D game combining elements from action and horror genres. His goal was to keep the game as minimal as possible and used it as the basis to learn about video game development. He also wrote the music for the game which I took the time to listen to this week.
The game is free to download and although I didn’t play it, I spent some time this week listening to the music. Read on to hear my thoughts on the soundtrack to Overlooker.
Rejoice lovers of all things chiptune! The good people over at Chiptunes = WIN have released their 5th album in the main series of chiptune releases!
After what seems like an eternity of consideration, the roster for ‘Chiptunes = WIN: Volume 5‘ is complete. All judges have locked in their votes and comments and I’ve used the subsequent collective data to form the final roster. Per the usual, this was not an easy process. To be frank, it never is. And with the extraordinarily high quality of the top submissions this time, it was even tougher. Honestly, I’m just as excited for the inevitable expansion release as I am for Volume 5!
All the same, one thing at a time. ಠ‿↼ – Brandon “President Hoodie” Hood
The album features a slew of returning artists from former WIN albums such as Auxcide, Chipzel, Petriform and more, and also introduces a whole new roster of fresh artists including PROTOFLIGHT and chip-favorite artist Shirobon.
Volume 5 has an extensive 51-track list and the whole thing is available at the Name Your Price level on the community’s Bandcamp.
Hot on the heels of Lumines: Puzzle & Music is the return of another block-based rhythm puzzler, Chime Sharp. The original game launched on Xbox 360 and PC in 2010 and I’ve posted about this sequel’s development a few times over the pastyear. The game left Steam Early Access on July 19th and is out now with a 20% launch discount making it $11.99 through July 26th.
Just last month the team announced the artists whose songs would form the foundation of each stage’s music. Among them are several noteworthy chiptune and electronic artists like Chipzel, Magic Sword, Shirobon and Kavinsky. Are you planning on picking up Chime Sharp or daydreaming about the return of another favorite music/rhythm game? Let us know in the comments.
Everyones favorite reason to own a PlayStation Portable is coming back again. Lumines: Puzzle & Music is out now on iOS and Android in Japan and Australasia, bringing the classic tracks that made the game a hit as well as new music and visuals to a whole new generation. While the name may bring to mind the gameplay fusion of mobile titles like Puzzle & Dragons, Lumines is sticking to what it knows best: mesmerizing block dropping set to trippy tunes. Even series creator, Tetsuya Mizuguchi, is back on board to help develop this mobile iteration.
Very much like previous entries in the series, Puzzle & Music sees players rotating multicolored blocks and dropping them in place as a timeline sweeps across the screen and clears like colored pieces. As the beat pounds and pieces stack up it’s easy to fall into a zen-like rhythm as the game moves from track to track. The combination of music, visuals and rhythmic action are what made Lumines a classic and that legacy looks to live on with Puzzle & Music.
Six classic songs (spoiler: yes, “Shinin” is in here!) are joined by eight new tracks with more on the way. Japanese Indie Pop group Sekai no Owari will be joining the roster and there’s an exclusive collection of music from the Ultra Japan Electronic festival coming in September. September is also the month when Puzzle & Music is expected to hit the U.S. app stores for around $2.99. Check after the break for the game’s current track list and enjoy the brief glimpse above in the launch trailer.
Ulysses 31 was a cartoon before my time. It aired in 1981 and combined space adventure with Ancient Greek Myth in the 31st Century. Most importantly though, it had an incredible soundtrack composed by Haim Saban, Shuki Levy, Denny Crockett and Ike Egan. The latest edition of the soundtrack is an incredible accomplishment. The producers located all of the original recording masters and had them mastered at Abbey Road Studios, London. Even cooler is the album has it’s own trailer.
The series was a huge hit in France, and the album opens with the French theme song. However at 119 tracks spread across two CDs, all of the English songs have been included as well. If you’re a fan of 80’s cartoon music this is must own. You can read the full track details on the video game music database, or in French at the producer’s website.
You can order the album directly from Amazon France for 25 Euro plus shipping.
Were you a fan of Ulysses 31 when it aired in North America?
It’s that time of the week again: time for another video game soundtrack to go vinyl and today it’s everyone’s favorite futuristic Battle Soccer game, Rocket League. When Psyonix launched the game last summer I found it peculiar that the stellar soundtrack only played on the menu screens, never in the game itself. It turns out that was by design, as was the decision to keep expanding the game’s soundtrack and featuring new artists over the ensuing months.
Now the entire tracklist of 22 songs are collected in the 3-LP, The Vinyl Collection, available for pre-order from iam8bit and shipping this Fall. There are two editions up for order both of which include the 3 LPs, download codes for digital versions of the music and a vibrant tri-fold sleeve designed by Rocket League community member, Dan Bronsema. The decision really comes down to how fancy you want your record designs. The $75 Limited Edition gets you one of 1,000 copies that features hubcap designs straight from the game. The other option is the $55 Open Edition whose record art hasn’t been yet been finalized.
If you’re just interested in the music you’ll be happy to know Psyonix released a Volume 2 soundtrack just last week and their Spotify playlist has been updated with all 22 tracks. If you’re after the original soundtrack it’s over here. Have a look at the full playlist and some more album imagery after the break.
LOS ANGELES, July 15th 2016 (White Bear PR) — August 25th will be dedicated to Music In Games and composers Christian Henson, BAFTA winner Jessica Curry and Christophe Héral will participate in a panel discussion. All guests will talk about their body of work, personal experiences, upcoming projects and about the characteristics of video game scores. They will also be available for questions from the audience.
Almost every musician working with virtual instruments, is likely to have at least one product from Spitfire Audio in his collection. One of the two founders of the company is the British composer Christian Henson. The multi nominated (including Ivor Novello and World Soundtrack Awards) and multi award winning composer didn’t just work for over 45 movie and TV productions but also he recently worked for big video games productions. With The Flight Christian composed tracks for the highly acclaimed game Alien Isolation and wrote the music to the fourth part of the popular UbiSoft franchise Assassin’s Creed IV : Black Flag. At SoundTrack_Cologne Christian will talk about the connection between film and games music and give insight into the production processes with virtual and real instruments.
Frenchman Christophe Héral achieved what many videogame composers are dreaming of. As “Inhouse-Composer” of videogame giant Ubisoft he created the best known and greatest franchises. He wrote music for Rayman Origins, Beyond Good and Evil and The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn. Christophe will chat about the cooperation with an international games developer and publisher and he also can give insight to how music works in videogames, where skill and speed have great importance not unlike in big role-playing and adventure games.
Two time 2016 BAFTA-winner Jessica Curry knows the games industry from different perspectives, as co-founder of the Games Developer The Chinese Room and as an award-winning composer. With both the content of the games and also with the synthesis of music in games she explored entirely new ways of creating. Games such as Dear Esther and Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture blend an emotional gaming experience, which completely renounces traditional action-stuffed genres, with more meaningful and story supporting music. In the merger of storytelling and sensual experience the mentioned games expand the recent concept to a whole new category that defies all conventions.
In addition to the three panel discussions, SoundTrack_Cologne also offers participation in the following workshops and presentations.
In the workshop “Practical Introduction to Adaptive Games Music “, the composers Helge Borgarts and Andreas Kolinski give a concrete insight into the technical and compositional requirements for the development of adaptive music for videogames. Using various examples and demonstrating live during the workshop, by means of concrete projects, they show what composers have to consider if they are following adaptive game music.
At the Academy of Music and Drama in Hannover, in the Institute of Journalism and Communication Research, they have been scientifically examining the function and effect of music in games. Dr. Christoph Klimmt and Daniel Possler show in their presentation the results of their two exciting studies. In this psychological experiment they tested the effect of the game experience with music versus without music. They used music from Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag and Alien Isolation, which happens to be scored by our guest Christian Henson.
To be part of the discussions, workshops and presentations, get your accreditation here.
Fighting game competition EVO is going on this weekend, and as such the game music label Materia Collective has partnered up with game community GameLark to create and release a double album full of fighting game music arrangements to celebrate the event.
VERSUS brings Materia Collective and GameLark together to create a unique double-album of fighting game remixes. The album itself is also a friendly competition between the two groups, who have previously worked individually on a wide range of remix albums of video game covers. VERSUS includes music from Tekken, Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, Marvel vs. Capcom, and many more.
“VERSUS was a perfect opportunity to show the collaborative nature of the VGM community,” says Allen Brasch, founder and head of GameLark. “We see countless collaborations between individual artists so I thought, why not collaborate between labels?”
The album spans two discs with 47 tracks full of arranged music from almost every big fighting game you can think of. I personally like that “Holy Orders” from Guilty Gear XX was snuck in, reminding me how much I have to get back into that game.
You can check out the album on the Materia Collective website, or pick it up streaming on Spotify or the digital album on iTunes and Loudr.
This summer sees the worldwide digital release of Loose Canons 2.0, an epic soundtrack of original video game music and sounds performed on vintage 1970’s analog synthesizers.
The debut electronic music release by multi-instrumentalist/composer Steven Jaime Giacomelli, Loose Canons 2.0 is the official soundtrack to the the unrealized video game adaptation of the Loose Canons song suite, as composed and executed on Micromoog synthesizer and arranged into ten separate tableaux. In lieu of the imaginary video game representation, the listener is invited to use the music of Loose Canons 2.0 as a personal soundtrack to their favorite video game. In the event that no video game is available, the listener may perhaps use the enclosed music as an active listening pursuit, or alternately, as a soundtrack to real life.
ABOUT GIACOMELLI & LOOSE CANONS
Loose Canons 2.0 is an analog synthesizer and retro video game fan’s fantasy come to life, with monophonic Micromoog mandalas of vintage bleep bloops cascading through space and time like an 8-bit calliope of revolving sound. The album is the culmination of years of melodic electronic synthesizer experiments by multi-instrumentalist/composer Steven Jaime Giacomelli, whose dual abstract and hook-laden sensibilities were on display in multiple bands in the Gainesville FL underground scene in the early 2000’s. Chief among these was The Ohm, an instrumental four-piece with a varied m.o. of instant composition, epic noisepop psychfuzz and atmospheric environment enhancement.
A series of underground self-releases yielded new projects, new bands and new contexts, with Giacomelli stretching compositionally into classic American song forms, from doo-wop to metal to orchestral pop to country to surf rock to soul baroque pop to hip hop to americana to spoken word soundtrack to blues to ambient, all the while honing theoretical melodic approaches and atmosphere exploration that would ultimately express themselves after a chance re-discovery of the work of Californian minimalist composer Terry Riley and an embrace of a lifelong influence of Japanese video game music composer Koji Kondo.
Now making his home among analog synths in Silicon Valley, with Loose Canons 2.0 primed for placement, Giacomelli continues to work on his next opus.
Loose Canons 2.0 by Giacomelli is available now at iTunes, Tidal, Spotify, Amazon, Google Play, CD Baby, and all other major digital outlets.
Rhythm RPG, The Metronomicon has quite the news to celebrate today but if you — like me until 15 minutes ago — had never heard of it, here’s a quick primer. The Metronomicon combines rhythm games and RPGs in the same way Puzzle Quest infused Match 3 gameplay with combat and quests. Similar in style to Guitar Hero and Rock Band, you’re hitting colored notes as they fall down the screen. Instead of racking up points though, you’re building up abilities and buffs across 8 different characters to whittle away the Hit Points of fantastically nonsensical enemies. Winning battles and completing quests rewards you with gear and experience points to customize your team.
All of this is set to an expanding soundtrack of licensed songs from DJ Cutman, Perturbator, J-Punch, YACHT, Shiny Toy Guns and as of today, Mega Ran, whose track “Miss Communication” will be joining the setlist. Developer Puuba also announced today that your existing Rock Band and Guitar Hero guitars will be compatible with the game as well as custom-built dance pads coming from Precision Dance Pads.
Take a look at the latest devlog above to see the shiny new dance pads in action and hear Mega Ran vibin’ along to the game. The Metronomicon is launching later in 2016 with the help of Kasedo Games and will be making its next appearance at GamesCom in Germany next month. Expect an update with some more musical announcements around the show.
The Unravel soundtrack has been out since June 24, 2016, and since that time I’ve listened to it a least half a dozen times. The soundtrack runs just short of two hours and listening to it that much has been easy. I’ve listened on my walks, while writing, and even on Sunday afternoons with the dog sleeping peacefully to it’s melodies.
The music was composed by Frida Johansson and Henrik Oja and recorded with a small group of musicians in a small Swedish studio called Second Home. Although I have not played Unravel, its soundtrack has a lot to offer. Read on to hear more of my thoughts of the music. (more…)