I know it isn't precisely relevant to AA--well, maybe if you love Secret of Monkey Island. Anyway, I wanted to tell you guys about a fantastic pirate-themed band I've been listening to lately: Toucan Pirates. I downloaded their "Battle Songs" album from Amazon and have been listening to it repeatedly.
Download Mat's podcast here.
Video game music (VGM) has come a long way from its bleeps and bloops of yore. Early arcade games had brief snatches of music, but no real memorable melodies. Out of the early home video game systems, the first real mainstream console to feature consistently memorable video game music scores was the Nintendo Entertainment System. While some view the old-school chiptune sound of the NES era as childish and simplistic, they would be greatly mistaken-- because of the limited range of electronic "instruments" available, these compositions featured truly unique melodies combined with a stylish chunky electronic synth to create a sound many enjoy.
While it's not actually a game, I thought our readers might enjoy taking Jake Mandell's hearing test. It's a free FLASH application that takes about 6 minutes to go through. I'd suggest wearing headphones and turning off the iTunes before starting, though. It's more fun than you think! Hopefully you folks haven't been blasting your eardrums with to many SID files cranked to 11...Link via Gizmodo.
Error Macro has a blog up that's so funny it'll have you in tears: The Worst Songs in Videogames. The author has really done some great work here, both in selecting these horrid numbers and actually sampling them for your listening, er, torture? In actuality, these are really hilarious, and it brings to mind all those suits and culturally clueless Japanese business overlords who gave this crap the thumb's up.
To put it mildly, I'm a big fan of electronic and computer music. Please don't confuse that with techno, dance, trance, or house music. While I have nothing against these other sub-genres of electronic music, I, er, don't listen to them. Think instead of acts like Tangerine Dream (my hero), Klaus Schulze, Vangelis, Jarre, and, to some extent, Kraftwerk. However, my latest obsession is with a genre I've recently discovered: Space Synth. What's great about this genre is that unlike most electronica, these tunes actually have melodies (i.e., you'll be humming them for weeks after you've heard them). I think I've found where all the talent ended up that lost mass consumer appeal in the late 80s! At any rate, I've found a website where you can sample some excellent space synth and see what you think.
It seems like more and more amateur bands are doing covers and re-imaginings of classic computer and videogame themes. The latest such band gaining some attention is The Minibosses, a Phoenix act that has even made it on on NPR. The Minibosses specialize in Nintendo classics. What a perfect blend of dark and dork: Heavy metal versions of 8-bit tunes! I'm in heaven--or, Valhalla, at least.
My favorite game cover band is Press Play On Tape, a group from Copenhagen that do some pretty outstanding C-64 tunes. If you haven't seen their fabulous Boy Band Video, do yourself a favor and check it out now!
The folks at Chiptune.com have really gone all out with their Amiga-inspired web design. I really like the way they've managed to duplicate the look and feel of the classic Amiga Workbench (version 1.3). They've even got the Guru Meditation error and a working Juggler! The only thing that doesn't seem to work properly is the right mouse button. The site is dedicated to chip tunes, which are a type of computer music that doesn't use digitized sampling. The result is what I consider a more authentic type of music that uses the computer more like a musical instrument than a dubbing or playback device. Have fun!
From the official release:
Gamers ask and Xbox 360 delivers with revolutionary free upgrade for all Xbox 360 connected owners.
As readers of Armchair Arcade know (see Matt Barton's "The Rise and Fall of Game Audio"), the Commodore 64 (C-64/128) is a unique sound machine, not out of place itself as an instrument with its powerful SID chip. The Prophet64 has finally been released and it looks to help take the venerable Commodore system to a higher level of audio integration in today's world (click here to see another interesting modern C-64 sound integration option).