It was July 31st, 1989 when the portable device known as the Gameboy was released in North American by Nintendo and introduced the concept of gaming on the fly. Now, 25 years later, a few of the artists over at Overclocked Remix have dedicated an entire 15-track album to commemorate the occasion. Legacy: Game Boy 25th Anniversary is the 49th arrangement album released by OCRemix, headed by artists Brandon Strader and Alexandre “Chernabogue” Mourey and featuring a good assortment of music from a good stock of other various artists arranging from various Gameboy titles.
“We remixed this music because we love the Game Boy, and video game music. A lot of game developers were inspired by Gunpei Yokoi who was the visionary creator of the Game Boy and ushered in a vast future of handheld gaming. This album is dedicated to him. “
The entire album is available for free download on their website, along with album and CD artwork – Legacy: Game Boy 25th Anniversary
Because Jake “Virt” Kaufman can’t seem to take a break if he tried, it looks like he’s involved with yet another Kickstarter project hot off the heels of the recent release of his fantastic work on Shovel Knight. This time around, however, it’s for VR systems such as the Oculus, putting it in a unique position. Vanguard Valkyrie is a 3rd-person rail shooter designed for virtual reality headsets and looks quite impression gameplay-wise. The music is sure to rank right up there with the gameplay (and maybe even beyond) as Kaufman is also joined by guitarist Dan “Danimal Cannon” Behrens (ArmCannon, Metroid Metal) and newcomer musician Meganeko.
Vanguard Valyrie sports the very hefty pricetag of $198,000 for a game meant for a still very-new market in virtual reality. The major of people who currently have access to an Oculus Rift are game media and developers, and the pricetag for the general public is steep for new hardware that isn’t even in its final form. While I have my own opinions about the success of such a lofty project, there’s no doubt Virt and Danimal Cannon will be rocking the music for the game to the high echelons of awesome.
Vanguard Valkyrie by Zero Transform on Kickstarter
Last month we reported on a lawsuit being filed against the game developer Bungie by composer and audio director Marty O’Donnell. Bungie had fired O’Donnell “without cause” back in April and was refusing to pay money owed to the composer. Much of this pay included unused paid time off, sabbatical time, and other benefits. This past week, the two parties reached a settlement over the matter.
According to VentureBeat, O’Donnell will be receiving $38,385 for his unpaid time, including vacation time, plus another $38,385 for double damages, something that O’Donnell was seeking in his original suit. Adding up all of the legal fees on top of this, Bungie will be paying out $95,019.13 to the Halo composer.
Bungie has still not given a reason for firing O’Donnell and has declined to officially comment on the matter, as of this writing. Bungie’s newest IP Destiny, which O’Donnell was working on, is set to come out this fall. It will be interesting to see what has happened with the music and audio on the game in O’Donnell’s absence.
MagicalTimeBean, aka Ian Stocker, is the composer of a couple of game series, that of Escape Goat and Soulcaster. His music is very synth laden and, as a result, might not be to everyone’s tastes. I personally have enjoyed most of his music in the past and I have a great deal of respect for a talented composer that truly understands the language and nuances of computer games, and how to best write music for them. If nothing else, the music to Escape Goat 2, and indeed Escape Goat, perfectly matches the game’s play style and, because each level is essentially a static screen from which you have to escape (who knew!), part of the interest needs to come from the music. I feel that Stocker was very aware of this. But, does the music work outside the game? Can you listen to it while on a train or while you relax? Let’s find out. (more…)
If you’ve been around the gaming convention scene on the east coast, chances are that you have heard of the Video Game Orchestra. Not to be confused with the Video Games Live concerts, the Video Game Orchestra (or VGO, for short) is a Boston based group that combines a unique sound of rock and orchestral genres for their videogame covers. It’s a genre that they often refer to as “rockestral game music.” The VGO has had a number of performances at events like PAX East and MAGFest, but they have also performed a number of stand alone concerts in the New England area. Depending on the venue, the group can consist of anything from a small rock ensemble to a much larger rock band and orchestra combination.
Back in 2012, the VGO launched a Kickstarter campaign for an album featuring their larger ensemble. The Kickstarter was a success and enabled them to record a live concert performance at Boston’s Symphony Hall on October 7, 2012. Thanks to the Kickstarter funding, they were able to have the performance recorded, mixed, mastered, and released to their backers and eventually to the public. The album officially received its public release earlier this year. The end result is the album Live at Symphony Hall. So what music did they cover and how does it sound? Read on to find out. (more…)
Though originally being kept hush-hush, a credible source has broken the embargo on performer announcements and leaked to us the entire band lineup for their upcoming MAG 8.5 event in Alexandria, Virginia. The performers, in no particular order, are:
Temp Sound Solutions
You Bred Raptors?
8 Bit Disaster
The World is Square
Those Who Fight
MAGFest 8.5 hopes to recapture the spirit of the smaller ‘Fests in days of yore, and will be held Sept. 12 – 14th at the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center. Tickets are limited, so any and all interested parties should register sooner than later.
I feel that I must get one thing very clear before you continue to read this review. My speciality is piano music. I am a pianist, I listen to a lot of piano music, from Mozart to Debussy, and I go to piano concerts in London. I’m also as close to an expert on the use of the piano in games as you might get, from the triumphant fanfare like riff from Halo 3 to the myriad of Final Fantasy Piano albums. As a result, my standards may be unrealistically high. I also have a confession to make: I’ve never played Journey! I know I know, it’s on my to-do list. This is particularly heinous of me as not only is the game supposed to be amazing, but the soundtrack is said to be excellent as well. However, this might not be a bad thing for this review, as I will not be influence by the game or the original soundtrack. I will take the music at face value, in its own right, separate from its related media.
It’s interesting to note that the composer, Austin Wintory, seems to have had little to do with this album. Transfiguration has been arranged by the Laura Intravia, the singer in the last track, and performed by Robert Thies. In general I think this is a good thing because, as a composer myself, I know how hard it can be to separate myself from my own compositions. I prefer to arrange for other people so I can focus on the advantages and disadvantages of the instrument, rather than being influenced by my own work. So with that said, let’s take a look at Transfiguration. (more…)
If you’re a Nintendo fan, you probably can’t wait for the new Super Smash Bros. games that are coming out for the 3DS and WiiU this year. While you are waiting, you should probably check out this upcoming Super Smash Bros. arrangement album. To celebrate and pay tribute to the franchise, a new arrange album titled Harmony of Heroes will be coming to Super Smash Bros. fans this fall. The album is being produced by Shinesparkers, the group that brought us the Harmony of a Hunter albums, a set of arrange projects that were dedicated to the Metroid franchise. Harmony of Heroes aims to give the music from the Super Smash Bros. franchise a similar treatment.
The album will be covering pieces from across every iteration of the game series. There are over sixty different artists contributing to this album including Zack Parrish, Sean Haeberman, and Vomitron. There’s also some excellent artwork being made to accompany the project’s release. The collaborative project will feature over ninety pieces of music. This colossal arrangement album will be available for download on the Harmony of Heroes site this fall. Be sure to check the Harmony of Heroes Facebook page and the Harmony of Heroes site for more information.
If you haven’t heard, there’s this new little Kickstarter for a 2D platformer/shoot-em-up hybrid game called Temporus that’s currently seeking funding. Why that is relevant in this case is because Ubiktune founder Dmitry “C-jeff” Zhemkov is the one who will be composing for the game should it reach its goal.
Featuring a chiptune prog flavor inspired by the FM synthesis of the Sega Genesis era and retro NES 8-bit synths, C-jeff currently has a preview on his Soundcloud of what he plans to do with the Temporus soundtrack should it reach its goal.
“Think the ambient chiptunes of FEZ combined with the classic progressive rocky stylings of Transformers: The Movie (1986), and you’ll have the basis for Temporus. It’s this, and so much more.” – C-jeff
Beyond that, should the project reach its stretch goals, a remix album will be created featuring other names in the game music industry such as Jeff Ball (Tiny Barbarian, Globulus) and Mitch Murder (Kung Fury, Interception LP) and the one and only Mr. Vince DiCola! (Rocky IV, Transformers: The Movie, Saturday Morning RPG)
The Kickstarter has under 2 weeks left in its campaign and looks to have some interesting style in its construction that draws inspiration from games like Mega Man and Cave Story, so why not throw a few bucks at Temporus to help fund a fun-looking indie game that is sure to have some great tunes to enjoy?
The creators of MAGFest, the Music and Gaming Festival, have launched another event that will take place from September 12-14 at the Hilton Mark Center in Alexandria, Virginia. Unlike the regular MAGFest event, which takes place in National Harbor, Maryland every January, this event is taking place at the original MAGFest venue this fall. A few years ago, the main MAGFest event was moved to the National Harbor location, when the festival got bigger and required a larger venue. This new event aims to bring back the vibe of the early MAGFest days to current day festival attendees. Essentially a smaller and more intimate setting for game and music fans. MAGFest 8.5 will be happening in addition to MAGFest 13, the latter of which is set for late January.
For those of you not familiar with MAGFest, it’s a festival, as the name implies, dedicated to games and music. The event features tons of concerts from videogame cover/remix bands and guest appearances by some of the top videogame composers in the world. Past composer guests have included Nobuo Uematsu, Yuzo Koshiro, Chris Huelsbeck, and Tommy Tallarico.
Because of the smaller venue size for MAGFest 8.5, the tickets are going to be limited to only 2000 attendees. If you’re interested in getting out to this event, grab tickets and hotel reservations while you still can. Guests and music performers have yet to be announced. Information on hotels and tickets can be found at the MAGFest 8.5 website.
If you frequent videogame news sites like Destructoid, the name Dale North is probably familiar to you. He’s been a contributor and editor for many news sites across the web. Currently he is the Editor-In-Chief at Destructoid.com, providing readers with insight on games and gaming events. But did you know that Dale North is also a talented musician and composer? Recently he was tasked with writing the music to the game Dragon Fantasy: Book II. North has done some work with music remixes, including work on Overclocked Remix, but this is his first time writing and releasing an official videogame soundtrack.
The game Dragon Fantasy: Book II is an indie title that pays homage to old-school RPGs. Everything from the combat system down to the SNES era pixel art is meant to evoke the games of the earlier console generations. For this project, North is tasked with producing original music that can engage the players and at the same time contribute to the sense of nostalgia that the game is aiming for. A complicated composition task to undertake. So does Mr. North rise to the challenge? Read on to find out. (more…)
If you haven’t heard, the soundtrack to Shovel Knight, one of the most anticipated games to come out of Kickstarter in the past year, has officially been released on composer Jake “Virt” Kaufman’s Bandcamp. Along for the ride is also a special arrangement album featuring several of the game’s tunes done by several artists in the arrangement scene.
They’re good. Really good. Currently-top-on-Bandcamp good. And at a “Name-Your-Price” dollar amount to get both albums, you have no reason not to get them. And to take it a step further, Kaufman has even released the .NSF original files for anybody to has a compatible player to enjoy!
We’ll no doubt be doing an extensive review of the albums in the near future, but until then, be sure to grab them and enjoy the awesome.