[This article was originally posted here at VGMOnline.net, and is archived here with their permission. Please go check their site out because it is wonderful.]
Few studios can modernize the ‘retro’ style quite like Zeboyd Games does. With releases like Cthulu Saves the World, Breath of Death VIII, and the last (and best) two entries in Penny Arcade’s On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness, Zeboyd has shown that not only do they understand what should be in a retro-styled game, they also understand what should be modernized and streamlined for modern sensibilities. Their games have always had a sense of humor to them; homage and respect to what came before are delivered with tongue firmly placed in cheek. Their latest game, Kickstarter success story Cosmic Star Heroine, represents their first foray into ‘serious’ storytelling, and also their longest and most meticulously-designed project to date.
For the game’s score, Zeboyd turned once again to the Ireland-based Hyperduck Soundworks, who had previously composed the score to On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness 4. In addition, they also composed the absurdly good soundtrack for Dust: An Elysian Tale, as well as the soundtracks for Kingdom Rush: Frontiers, A.R.E.S.: Extinction Agenda, and others. They also have several remixes on their Bandcamp page from such games as Chrono Trigger, Zelda, and Duke Nukem 3D. It’s obvious that they are quite enthusiastic about the blending of old and new, making the choice to once again partner with them for the Cosmic Star Heroine soundtrack seem like an obvious one for Zeboyd to make. Continue reading
Filed under Greg, Music, Reviews
Everything old is new again.
This old idiom, while applicable to a great many things both artistic and not, has a much deeper meaning for those whose musical passion lies in the revitalization of old video game music. For these musicians, it isn’t so much that trends move in cycles, but rather that they are playing an active role in interpreting old music for audiences in new and interesting ways. Whether through the preservation of the original styles or by the creation of new and novel interpretations of classic game tracks, it’s clear that the growing interest in the video game music community is exceeded only by the amount of talent that those in the community draw from.
Enter The Returners, a band whose name (on top of the obvious reference) literally means ‘the ones who bring something back’. In two years since the band’s inception, they have made a name for themselves playing sets at Nerdapalooza and its spiritual successor Orlando Nerd Fest, as well as an impressive number of shows at smaller venues in and around their home base in Austin, Texas. Most recently, they played at PAX South, opening for The OneUps and Paul and Storm. The combination of high profile conventions and several local shows has succeeded in earning them a growing fanbase and a similarly growing anticipation for their first recorded album.
Filed under Greg, Music, Reviews
I walk into a tavern in the middle of a small seaside fishing village. Since I’m really, really, abysmally bad at geography, I’m really not sure which sea I’m on the side of. I’m guessing it’s the Baltic. Seeing as how everyone around me is speaking Russian, there’s a 75% chance it’s the Baltic. It’s probably the Baltic. Anyway. I walk in, expecting to see a few tired fishermen unwinding after the day’s catch. While I do see that, I also see a lot of other people as well. People who, like me, have come from far and wide to this place without really knowing why. I step up to the bar and order a drink. It doesn’t matter what I order, I still get a scowl from the bartender as he hands it to me. I then notice the man at the end of the bar. He is an elderly gentleman, and for some reason that I don’t think can be adequately explained just yet there is a man sitting beside him with an accordion. Curious, I walk over to the man and start to listen to his accordion-playing companion. The man looks at me, intelligence, and more than a little mischief, in his eye, and speaks to me in English, his voice strong but starting to crack from decades of use. “Let me tell you a story.”
“Uh, er, okay…” I reply.
There is a trend in the circle of bands that cover or create video game inspired music to always be striving to do more with less. Many times, this is by necessity, as the great majority of cover bands draw inspiration from the music and video games of the 1980’s and 1990’s. As technology limited what music could be put in the games themselves, there is an inherent room for expanding those songs. Though the scene started out with a definite focus on heavy metal, there has been a more recent trend in bands that bring diversity to the table and therefore have caused a slight shift in focus. In the past year or two, the focus has not been just on ‘more’ (more energy, more metal, more badass), but on ‘different’.
Codename Trigger Thumb aims to fall directly in the middle of that spectrum, and in my opinion they succeed at it quite brilliantly.
I sit here, staring at a blank document on a computer screen, thinking about what I can write about the music I have listened to. No, that isn’t a good way to describe it. A better way would be to use the words “the experience I have just had”, because that’s what it is. I realize, as I think about it, that no words can adequately describe it, and I realize how cliche that sounds because we live in a world in which we are bombarded by sensory experiences every second of every day. Our only escape from our own senses is sleep.
And if I could dream the most perfect stream of songs that represented my own consciousness, it wouldn’t be half as good as ‘Identity Sequence’.
People who know me know that I am possibly one of the world’s biggest connoisseurs of video game music there is. Mostly, this is because I play a whole lot of video games, and enjoy music in all its forms. This being the case, I tend to notice when new things start happening in the video game music scene, or at least when things start to converge in new and different ways. As such, I’ve been jotting down all the observations swimming around in my head and realizing that they could be used to inform others about a pretty neat little trend that’s started to pop up in recent years: Chiptune.