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.
Continue reading “Immune to Silence: Refining the Classics”
In this day and age, it is very, very hard to go into a game completely blind. Even if a person doesn’t read reviews or anything, just the act of looking up a game online for purchase will expose you to some kind of rating or opinion on the game. Personally, I’m mostly okay with that. I do my research, and, I mean, I write these articles to let other people know whether I think a game is worth their time, as well.
It really surprised me, then, that there was a game that I hadn’t heard any buzz about before it was released. Even more so because it was from the fairly high-profile team that had created Bastion, which was itself something of a sleeper hit a couple of years ago. As it was also one of the first fairly high-profile indie games to hit the latest generation of consoles, I figured I would check it out and see what it was all about.
Continue reading “Opening Turn: Transistor”
I’m sure that anyone who reads this site, other sites, or has been on the internet at all in the past few days knows that there have been some pretty negative things that have been happening in the video game industry. I feel like there have been a great many other people who have been a great deal more personally affected by these things than I have been, and those people do a much better job of addressing the situation than I ever could.
So, I’m going to do the only thing I feel that I can do. I would like to list, briefly and in no particular order, the things related to video games that have made me and others happy, and which I think are positive things happening in the industry right now. Some of these things involve games I intend on reviewing at some point, and some of them are just observations I’ve made in the past month-ish.
Continue reading “Things That Make Me Happy: September 2014 Edition”
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.
Continue reading “Let Me Tell You a Story. A Very, Very Weird Story.”
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.
Continue reading “Stand Tall and Shake the Heavens: Emotionally Invested”