Now that most of us have had our chance to call out some favorites from 2015, it’s your turn. This time around we narrowed down our categories to:
Let us know your top picks in the comments and feel free to throw in any special categories or mentions of your own. If you need some inspiration or missed them the first time around you can always check out our OSVOSTOTY picks for 2015: Michael, Brenna, Patrick, Ryan and Shawn.
If you ever wondered what would happen if Eggman (still Robotnik for some of us), Bowser, Ganon and Sephiroth managed to one day meet and combined their evil forces, you now have your answer: they’d form a boy band. Because what’s more nefarious than that?
Big Bad Bosses (or B3) is the collaboration between game composer Jake Kaufman (Shovel Knight, Contra 4) and a slew of faces from across the gaming community, such as Jirard Khalil (Big Bow) of the Completionist and Super Beard Bros, Nathan Smith (Sephy) of Nate Wants to Battle, Alex Faciane (Ronik) of The Dex and Super Beard Bros, Satchell Drakes (G-Ca$h) of Satchbags Goods, and several special guests. Their first album, Power Overhwhelming, features the team parodying some of gaming’s most recognizable baddies as they rap and chatter their laments of being the bad guys. You can get a taste of their antic in their released music video, “I’m the Boss”.
“Big Bad Bosses has been in the works for a long while. I’ve been wanting to work with Jake Kaufman for years, and after hearing the Shovel Knight soundtrack I knew it was time. I always thought it would be funny yet endearing to see into the hearts of the most famous videogame villains and to try to understand how they feel in the form of song, and the album came together better than anyone involved could have imagined.” – Jirard “Big Bow” Khalil
Power Overwhelming features ten tracks with a bunch of guests, including Grant Kirkhope (Banjo Kazooie), Arin “Egoraptor” Hanson (Game Grumps), DJ Cutman and a bunch more. The album can be purchased on iTunes and Bandcamp. For more, check out the official Big Bad Bosses website.
My day job has exploded into a whirlwind of spreadsheets and Word docs as everyone scrambles to do everything before the holidays. On the bright side, that means I’ve got more time than I’ve ever had at a job to listen to music. Not in the analytical, write-a-review way, more in the “know what I haven’t heard in a long time” way. I copied my entire game music collection onto a flash drive and while it is in no way complete, it’s full of soundtracks I love. Or as I would quickly come to realize: used to love.
For this installment of the Community Question we want to hear about your burnout songs. Those soundtracks you used to love listening to that aren’t in heavy rotation nowadays. The ones that send your finger flying for the Skip button that you used to insist on repeating at least two times in a row.
My go-to answer for this question is maybe a little controversial: it’s Super Mario Bros. There was a time in the early 2000’s when I loved hearing every marching band and high school choir turn in their rendition of the original game’s legendary themes. I grabbed remixes and arrangements, orchestrations and crappy band covers. But after thirty years with these songs there aren’t many treatments left that I don’t outright skip these days. It’s classic, iconic music without a doubt, I just don’t need to hear it very frequently anymore.
Less blasphemous are a lot of guitar rock and techno soundtracks from the mid-to-late 90’s. The early Need for Speed entries, Guilty Gear, GoldenEye, MDK2, Destruction Derby and many others were the soundtrack to my daily life back then. Today they typically generate only a nostalgic smirk before I proclaim “Next!” and hit the button.
Your turn! Let us know some of your old favorite songs or soundtracks you just aren’t that into in the comments.
Gaming and nerdy music has pretty much become a staple not of just video game conventions and festivals, but at anime-related events also. Going to concerts and performances after a long day of walking the halls of an event can provide some nice downtime, and sometimes can be the main draw for a lot of con-goers.
NekoCon, going on this weekend in Hampton Road, Virginia, had a three-hour block set aside last night for Nerdcore artists to perform prior to the DJ and dancing set later in the night. According to reports, after one song into the Professor ShyGuy performance, the artist’s mic was suddenly muted and after some confusion as to what might be going on, concert-goers were told to start exiting the concert hall – the block had been cancelled. This affected fellow artists MC Lars, Tribe One and Dr. Awkward as well. The dance party was then started early, and concert-goers were given this official reason for the move.
Due to unforeseen circumstances the Nerdcore concert has been canceled. The dance will begin at 8:15pm and go until 2am.
— Nekocon (@NekoCon) November 7, 2015
I emailed NekoCon to clarify on their reasoning, but got a similar response as the above tweet. “Per our official statement on our Facebook page, due to unforseen circumstances the nerdcore concert has been canceled. ”
According to sources and the artist, ShyGuy proceeded with his normal activities during a set, moving around on and off stage. That’s when concert staff began yelling at him and the audience to exit the concert hall, some staff claiming he “stage dived”. ShyGuy and those close to him report that nothing was ever communicated to them about restrictions or rules, and he was given no warning before everything was cut off and all other acts punished as well.
Just experienced one of the most unprofessional con events. I climbed off stage like sound guys have been doing & they cancelled all bands.
— Professor Shyguy (@ProfessorShyguy) November 7, 2015
Considering my previous article about the treatment of game music composers within the industry, the treatment of game and nerd bands and performers by events seems to be a topic worth discussing as well.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
Nobody wants to think about it too early, but the Christmas season is a month away. However, you can get in early for the Golden Giving event in London coming this December.
Today, Games On Song, the UK games industry choir is proud to announce it will be returning to the stage for a LIVE Christmas carol concert, raising money for GamesAid.
Formed in 2012, the Games On Song choir is made up members of the games industry who volunteer their time and voices to sing and raise money for GamesAid; a UK based video games charity which acts as an umbrella to support a number of smaller charities who help disadvantaged and disabled children and young people. – GamesAid
So, the event won’t itself feature music from video games, but rather “classic carols and Christmas songs with a video game twist” sung by game industry members. What that twist is, exactly, remains to be seen, but it all goes to a great cause regardless and with members hailing from places like Bethesda, Electronic Arts, Ubisoft and others.
The event is being held December 16th in London, and tickets can be purchased via the Golden Giving website.
Delivering a little humor for your Saturday morning, the team from the band Starbomb (ie. Egoraptor & Ninja Sex Party) have added a twist to their rap parodying The Legend of Zelda called “The Hero of Rhyme”. Although not featuring music from the games, the references are plenty and the new animated video done by Studio Yotta is ridiculous and amusing and for once Navi is useful. (Not that it ends up mattering)
Far from the only animated music piece any part of Starbomb has done, it was nonetheless fun to watch. Player Select that “The Hero of Rhyme” is featured on can be purchased at CDbaby.
It just popped into my head the other day as I was (still, forever) cleaning up my music collection: what single game has the most music. The few that sprang to my mind were Final Fantasy games with their multi-disc soundtracks and Ocarina of Time that squeezes 82 songs onto a single disc. But that’s just in my own personal experience and I knew there had to be gargantuan soundtracks out there I was completely oblivious too. So I did what inquisitive minds have done for eons when a question exceeds their realm of understanding; I asked reddit. And, boy, did the r/gamemusic subreddit respond in kind. This is by no means comprehensive or scientific but here are some of the games that got thrown my way.
Runescape is a name I’ve heard for quite a while (14 years it turns out) but I’ve never known anyone into it or gone looking for myself. In the process of writing this post I finally did look it up and, oh, it’s an MMO. That explains why I’ve never gotten into it. Anyways, according to the Runescape Wikia there are 1,055 music tracks available in the game as of August 24th, 2015. Potentially more astounding, I’ve seen it mentioned that much of the music is presented in triplicate with new versions arranged for the Runescape 2 and 3 upgrades of the game.
Also out of my wheelhouse is Blizzard’s perpetual MMO, World of Warcraft. The closest thing I could find for confirmation is this YouTube playlist consisting of 547 tracks. As it was last updated in September 2014 it doesn’t include the 53 tracks from the Warlords of Draenor expansion which would bring it to an even 600. Blizzard also announced another expansion at GamesCom this year, Legion, which will surely add even more music.
Continuing the trend of games I’ve heard of but am mostly clueless about is EVE Online. It may not have the most individual tracks for a game but its base soundtrack of 74 songs is nearly seven hours long. Add in an extra 26 from the expansions and another 20+ tracks of mission-specific music and it’s another juggernaut of a soundtrack.
Finally, something I know. Well, I know most of the source material from Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, if not the spastic fighting game itself. You could argue against it as it’s basically a huge compilation of existing music but I’m throwing it in. Encompassing a huge swath of Nintendo’s history, and an increasing range of third-party properties, the current Smash’s soundtrack weighs in at over 450 tracks.
To round things up I also got mentions of this eight hour playlist from the original version of The Sims (with expansions), a link to Bayonetta’s ridiculous 5-disc, 150-song soundtrack and a great comment about the biggest soundtracks for the Commodore 64 and NES. Lastly, a few people pointed out that the most technically correct answer would be games with randomly or procedurally generated music. Proteus, Spore, Peggle 2, and Fez all use scripting to build a score based on what is happening to the player at the moment. These could result in thousands, maybe even millions, of different musical combinations that would never be repeated. It’s an accurate point but I don’t think it falls in line with the spirit of my original question. By the way, neither do games with licensed soundtracks like Rock Band which, at one point, was up to 1,692 tracks.
So, dear OSV readers, what do you think? Which individual game (expansions or not, it’s up to you) has the most music? Ring in with your own thoughts and suggestions in the comments and maybe we’ll get a little closer to a definitive answer.
Video game music lovers can probably recognize a video game track pretty quickly, even if it’s one they haven’t heard before. Even though video game music comes in a huge variety of styles and genres (which is part of why I love it), there are musical elements that tend to be very common in many tracks, common enough that many of them have become (well-loved) tropes. Today, I’ll be discussing rhythm, and specifically I’ll be taking a look at one of video game music’s favorite tropes: 5-beat patterns.
Today marks the 20th anniversary of the release of film adaption of Mortal Kombat, which blew away screens on August 18th, 1995 and proved that game-based movies weren’t destined to be steaming piles of crap. (Its sequel, unfortunately, undid a lot of that progress but thankfully we’ve also seen other media depict MK favorably) It’s been two decades, and I still have a hard time thinking of any actor that could possibly portray the creepy badassedness of Shang Tsung more than Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, or a better fight scene in a game-based-movie than Johnny Cage vs. Scorpion.
In terms of the game itself, Mortal Kombat never had more than a handful of themes within the three titles it’d had by the point of the movie’s release that really stuck with me too much, other than tracks such as Mortal Kombat 2‘s “The Dead Pool” or Mortal Kombat 3‘s “The Pit”. The movie, on the other hand, sported an original soundtrack that really changed both how I felt about music in fighting games, and introduced me to some new genres of music I hadn’t explored before. It’s that music that I want to give props to after 20 years.
Based on our discussion about organizing video game music, it looks like a lot of us still keep folders and files meticulously arranged on our PCs. While that may seem like the obvious answer to this community question there are more services, software and sites to play music on than ever before. Some people want to take it all with them, some want to ditch the dedicated music player and stream solely from their phone. Some spend all day at a computer and stream from the web. So, how do you listen to your video game music? I’ll start.
Through the 90’s I used Winamp on PC almost exclusively. It provided a ton of customization and grew to support all kinds of file formats, visualizers and extensions. If I was driving I had an array of burnt CDs for every mood. In 2008 I got a Zune 120 because I wanted all my music with me at all times (and because I don’t love Apple). Commuting 30 minutes every day to and from a retail job, it became my daily driver for music and podcasts. The companion PC software is still one of the most beautiful music managers I’ve ever used but it was never as full-featured as I wanted. Soon I purchased MediaMonkey to rip, tag and organize my music and I have just recently started using MusicBee because — gosh — it’s pretty. I also use PowerAmp on my phone but I only keep a small contingent of new albums and 5-star favorites on there most of the time.
As the last decade has brought dozens of streaming sites and radio apps to every platform, I began dabbling here and there. Bandcamp has been a wonderful revelation for me, although I probably listen to full albums for too long before finally buying them. I’ve just recently begun using YouTube when I want to check out an unfamiliar game’s soundtrack and I even started using Spotify on the PlayStation 4, although that’s usually for non-video game music.
So that’s me, what about you? Fill us in on how you listen to game music and what you use to play it in the comments. I’m really looking forward to seeing how people do things completely differently than I.
Looks like it’s time to check out another new site that aims to collect and curate the world’s music. Soundsgood.co is a French site that’s been around since October of 2014 that emphasizes curated playlists and big, modern visual designs. It also hopes to minimize the work of those building playlists by matching up tracks across an array of services. Say you found a great track on Soundcloud but you’ve already built a playlist on Spotify. Or you’ve got a great collection on YouTube but some of your links mysteriously disappear. Soundsgood currently connects to YouTube, Soundcloud, Spotify and Deezer with support in the works for Rhapsody/Napster, Rdio, Xbox Music and Beats Music.
While it sounds great for French hipsters looking for a playlist of dream-pop for their Summer music festival, how does it fare for those of the video game persuasion? Surprisingly, Ubisoft is already there as a music label with playlists from Far Cry 4 and Assassin’s Creed Unity. Beyond that, the pickings are slim but the playlists are pretty good.
Galway to the Galaxy highlights Martin Galway’s Commodore 64 work which is almost completely foreign to me. Bit-nique is an eclectic collection of SNES, PC and arcade favorites from the 90’s. Chiptune Porn is a huge playlist full of the usual suspects and BAGARRE features 90 tracks from one-on-one fighters and character action games. If I may be so bold, I’ll include my own playlist I made while checking out the site for this post. Lounge Land 1-1 is a collection of original pieces and remixes with a jazzy lounge vibe. It’s a playlist I’ve been meaning to make for a long time and Soundsgood gave me the motivation to finally do it.
Despite the slight language barrier of some pages, Soundsgood is really easy to use. Playlists and channels are featured with huge images and the persistent player offers all the controls you’d expect including a little view of the YouTube videos. Something about it inspires artistic creativity even if you’re just pasting in links to Twisted Metal music; it’s very French in that regard. Have any playlists of your own to share? Maybe dress them up on your own Soundsgood page or just link us in the comments.
When he’s not busy producing some of my favorite bangin’ video game remixes, DJ Cutman can be found playing through a ton of games on his YouTube channel. It’s here that he’s launched a new series called SmashTalk where he chats with other personalities from the gaming community while they play a competitive game.
The pilot episode features comedian/songwriter Brentalfloss and is as amusing as you’d expect for an interview conducted during a game of Mario Kart 8. Alongside complaints about red koopa shells there’s a good discussion about Brentalfloss’ academic education, his favorite childhood games and a message to others trying to break into the YouTube scene. He also lays out the history behind Wario while winning a race; the guy is talented. Check it out up above or over on YouTube.