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.
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.
In the world of game audio there’s often a need for the sounds of the earlier game consoles. Whether this is to help emulate a feeling of nostalgia of the 80s and 90s or to create all new styles of music with the older sounds, the tones of these classic consoles have had a persistent presence in the gaming world. This has been especially true with the rise of the indie game scene and the emphasis on the styles of the 8-bit and 16-bit eras.
Through the years there have been a number of software tools available to composers and audio designers for recreating these sounds. Programs like FamiTracker and Little Sound DJ have allowed composers to generate chiptune music, but they require considerable time to learn the various functions and limitations of the software. Meanwhile different FM synthesizers can be used to create sounds similar to the Sega Genesis, but often didn’t have the same limitations or imperfections of the sounds that you would hear on the original system hardware.
Now after many years of planning and development, Impact Soundworks, in collaboration with OverClocked Remix, has come forward with a collection of samples recorded from the systems themselves. The result is the sample library Super Audio Cart, which aims to provide a simple way of producing the authentic sounds of these consoles, while also presenting tools to let you do some new and complex things with the available instruments. I’ll be taking a look at the core functions of the library and examining how it stacks up against other methods of creating these sounds. (more…)
During last year’s PAX East I got to preview an action rhythm game from indie studio Drool called Thumper. Since then the game has made the rounds at many other expos, conventions, and festivals. Along the way it’s earned numerous awards and praise for the two man development team of Brian Gibson and Marc Flury. This year the game was back at PAX East with the new feature of VR added to the experience. Since I enjoyed the previous demos of the game, I was excited to test it this latest virtual reality build. (more…)
There are a lot of great gaming events, festivals, and conventions to attend every year. Many consider spring to be the start of the convention season, but for me the year always begins with attending MAGFest, usually held in either January or February. Like many of the previous years, the fourteenth iteration of the Music and Gaming Festival was held at the Gaylord at National Harbor, Maryland and hosted several concerts, panels, and plenty of other fun gaming events.
As Brenna mentioned in her post earlier this year, it’s nearly impossible to cover everything that the festival has to offer. In fact, having now read up Brenna’s MAGFest adventures, I realize that we had vastly different schedules and experiences at this past year’s event. While the two of us combined certainly couldn’t cover everything at the festival, I hope these breakdowns illustrate the variety and quantity of things available for attendees to experience. (more…)
It’s been about a week since the conclusion of MAGFest 2016, the music and gaming event’s 14th year in operation, and as for any dedicated MAG-goer, it’s a lot to digest all at once. MAGFest has grown in size and scope ever year since it’s inception, and it’s impossible for any one person to properly cover everything they set out to – whether you’re going for fun or otherwise. I had the pleasure of attending with Michael this year, and we both had agreed that there was no way we could get to everything we wanted to to report back on. Events like MAG become a “Best Laid Plans” scenario every year, but we do what we can.
Held yet again at the Gaylord at National Harbor, this year was another series of being awestruck at how large the event has gotten, and how diverse it’s become. Thankfully, I managed to check in on a few keys things, some old and some brand new, that were definitely worth noting.
There are a number of great pieces from RPG soundtracks that artists love to cover. Everything from exciting battle themes to the more tranquil town tunes end up being great sources of inspiration. Today’s Arrangement of the Week is a cover of “A Place to Return To,” which is the town theme for Crysta from the game Terranigma.
Despite the game having a limited western release, Terranigma and its soundtrack have gained the attention of game music lovers and remixers alike. This arrangement, titled “Aquamarine,” is an orchestral reimagining of the music from artist mv.
From the start this arrangement sets an incredibly tranquil tone. Sounds of birds and flowing water set the mood perfectly with a simple entrance of piano and harp to ease us into the piece. The arrangement builds up steadily with woodwind solos, mandolin, horns, vocal pads, and strings, but never attempts to break the mellow tone of the track. Each addition to the ensemble works to support or maintain the overall serenity of the experience.
The orchestration of this arrangement is absolutely perfect. There’s plenty of solos from different instruments and the accompaniment instruments blend well together to support the simple and mostly unaltered melodies. It evokes such a calming mood that I could easily imagine this cover being used in a remake or re-release of Terranigma. All in all, it’s just a fantastic orchestral arrangement of the Crysta town theme.
Did you listen to any cool orchestral game music arrangements this week? Let us know about them in the comments below. You can check out mv’s “Aquamarine” on OC ReMix.
I was a huge anime fan in my teen years and very much still am. Some of my favorite gaming memories are having the opportunity to play video games related to an anime series.
In this edition of Game Soundtracks For Your Soul I am looking back at some of the Anime related video games that had memorable video game scores. The games I’m looking back at include a fighting game, and two action games where you could play as a tank, or transformable fighter jet. Come on in to hear some of the best music from some of my favorite anime related game titles I’ve enjoyed.
The ZEN ALBATROSS is different from your average albatross. You see, the ancient mariner has nothin’ on him. Nor do invasive government spy agencies. Confused yet? You need to get to know ZEN ALBATROSS then. This bird is a master of cryptography, and he is also good at dodging the slings and arrows of would-be seafaring jerk wads.
My single favorite chip music album from 2010 was a double-single featuring “Mastada Gestalt” and “April 10,” both songs by ZEN ALBATROSS. Since then, we’ve heard precious little from him. Now he’s back with a new EP (almost 30 minutes long), which you can get digitally or on cassette tape via the artist’s Bandcamp page.
This new EP, “SIGINT,” is a head trip from start to finish. Interested in the finer details? Keep on reading… (more…)
Coming to you horribly later than the rest of my compatriots, I feel it still necessary to cast my vote on the VGM releases of 2015. So much came out last year that was notable that it’s hard to settle on any one thing. Fortunately, my fellow OSV writers have touched upon the best of things, so it’s a matter of following up on their fantastic lists with my own.
Keiji Yamagishi’s Retro-Active was originally planned as an overarching, three-album journey to be released across 2015. While we got the first installment on February 5th with Retro-Active Pt. 1 the follow up has taken a bit longer than expected. One year, to be exact.
Brave Wave has revealed that Retro-Active Pt. 2 will be released on February 5th, 2016 bringing listeners back to Yamagishi’s “futuristic emotional chiptunes world”. Along with new solo tracks the famed Famicom/NES composer will be teaming up with Ninja Gaiden II composer Ryuichi Nitta. The first track from the album, “Chaotic Code”, will be released on January 14th to give listeners a taste of Part 2’s sound in advance of the full album release on February 5th.
For now we’ll have to settle for the new album art above which is a continuation from Part 1. That’ll make for one sweet panorama once the final part is released. Are you excited to finally hear Retro-Active Pt. 2? Did you pick up the original album or the remix album? Let us know in the comments below.
MAGProm, the one-night excuse to dress fancy and listen to classy video game music at MAGFest… is over. Ok, it’s not really over but this year it’s transformed into the MAGCabaret. Why a cabaret instead of a prom? Because the proceedings will star the super-jazz-fusion super-group, V-Jams, featuring members from The OneUps, Eight Bit Disaster, Rekcahdam and many more.
This is the same V-Jams I’ve been flipping out about since I found their stealth release last August. If you want an idea of the musical majesty they’ll be performing, check out my previous post or just start playing any of the tracks embedded above, they’re all great! Along with arrangements of these tracks V-Jams will debut brand new material and they’ve got some special surprise guests in store for those in attendance.
The cabaret will take place Thursday night, February 18th in the main concert hall at MAGFest. Formal attire isn’t required but having fun with the dress code is encouraged. It’s also encouraged that you grab your tickets as soon as possible because — Holy Toledo — MAGFest is just over a month away!