Friday, April 29, 2011

Songs to Grow On: Seaside Town

Yoko Shimomura has written so many songs that it's hard to do her justice within the confines of a single article (especially one that's written while I was so ill). Here is one of her more upbeat songs from Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. This song is very fitting for a seaside shanty town, and this music only appears after you have rid the town of the evil Yardovich. It's a little short, but I think it provides a nice, optimistic start to the weekend. Here's to the wonderful weekend ahead!

"Seaside Town" -- Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Composer Spotlight: Yoko Shimomura

Recently, a friend of mine and I had planned to start a video game music Internet show in which we would highlight different games and composers in the industry. Although the plan never really got off the ground due to schoolwork, we did have a few ideas for the show lined up. Our first episode was going to feature Yoko Shimomura, the composer for Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, the Kingdom Hearts series, the Mario & Luigi series, and many other games. She's one of the leading female composers in the field, and she seemed like an appropriate person to kick-start our show with. Since our show didn't become a reality, I'm hoping that this blog can be a source of information on leading video game music composers as well.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Songs to Grow On: Chun-nan - Night

It's Friday! Almost time to start the weekend. I thought I'd share one of the songs I've been listening to a lot this week. After the Sonic Unleashed article, I finally downloaded the entire soundtrack and have been obsessed with how wonderful it is. This is another song that's really captured me, and I hope you enjoy it too.

"Chun-nan - Night"

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Warning! Danger! A Brief Look at Status-Indicative Music

One of the great things about video game music is that, like film orchestration, it underscores the actions that are taking place and sets the mood for the situation you're in. If you're fighting an enemy, the music often changes to something more upbeat with perhaps a darker timbre. If you're in a small town and surrounded by friendly villagers, the music is most likely calm and melodious. In addition, music cues are often triggered by one's effectiveness within the environment. For example, if you win a battle or complete a stage, a victory fanfare often plays to indicate that you've done a swell job. Conversely, if you (or a supporting character) die(s), then a lachrymose dirge may accompany you (or, you may get a "whoopsy-daisy" ditty).

As the music in video games (and the technology to support it) evolved, these soundtracks gained the ability to travel right along with the player and his or her performance. It's an experience that is unique to video games, and the assault on your ears may be what spurs you into victory.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Sonic Unleashed, or, The Hidden Treasure in a Hairy Situation

I had to think long and hard about what to talk about in my first real post. There are thousands upon thousands of games out there, and there are so many soundtracks to talk about. However, the soundtrack for this particular game has been buzzing about my mind (and my iTunes library) for a while now. Why this one, though? It's certainly not a classic; it's not even a great game.

Friday, April 15, 2011

"It starts."

Starting a blog is hard work. First you have to think of an idea that you want to communicate with other people. Then, you have to think of a way to effectively communicate that idea to people. Blogs have a purpose, for one reason or another: entertainment, education, an outlet for various creative ideas that would be lost otherwise. Hopefully this blog will be that for me.

I believe two things. Firstly, I believe that video game music holds a great value to our society in the modern age. The scores from video games literally encompass every existing genre and create some of their own, which is not an easy feat. It's music that expresses action and emotion, and it's designed to elicit memory from its players. Secondly, I believe that video game music is unjustly disregarded as an art form. This may stem from the fact that video games themselves are not yet considered an art form (due to their underpinnings in commercialism), but this is no reason to disregard the work that these composers put into expressing the environment of a virtual world with the power of music.

Hopefully these ideas will be clearer after I write a few posts. I'll end this post with a video game song that may challenge the idea that music from video games is "not real music."

You'd better believe that Professor Layton will be getting his own post.

If all goes as planned, I shall have my first real update soon. So, stay tuned!