Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Game Tunes

I'm doing a ton of writing and revising of various game documents as we race towards our launch later this year. To stay in "the zone" (AKA not reading or posting to blogs, ahem!) I am listening to lots of game music while I write. It's excellent stuff because: a) it generally doesn't have vocals, and b) it's very atmospheric and works in the background. (Just like in a real game!) Not to mention the fact that it is wonderful to revisit favorite games when the tunes are just fun to listen to. And you'd be surprised at how excellent some of the compositions truly are. On the current playlist:

- God of War: an epic soundtrack, to say the least. Very "cinematic" though perhaps a little too much in-game dialogue.
- Resident Evil 4: light on melody and long on atmosphere...actually quite scary! Great for deadlines.
- Metroid Prime 3: recommended by a friend. I forgot how awesome this music is. I've had the original Prime/Fusion soundtrack in my collection for a long time...this one is almost as good and echoes many of the original's themes.
- Diddy Kong Racing: well, it's a bit silly. But this is one of the best game soundtracks of all time. (By Rare's David Wise.) I played the crap out of this game. I hear the music in my dreams.
- Magna Carta: The Phantom of Avalanche: I grabbed this one from our Korean developer when I was in Seoul. I don't think this game came out in the states. The music is good, though cheesey in that proto-Asian style. A dance remix of the love theme at the end is rather sexy.
- Capcom Music Generation Rockman 1-6: If you don't think the stage themes for the original Megaman are some of the best game melodies of all time, then you're a dummy. I looked for this collection forever. I didn't even know it existed until I found it online.
- Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem: mentioned in a Chris Kohler blog post in the context of his Too Human preview. Reminded me how cool this game is. The music is excellent and brings back good memories of the game.
- Nintendo Power: Play It Loud!: this was a magazine bonus CD from the SNES era, and it contains music from some of the best games of that generation: Yoshi's Island, Super Metroid, Link to the Past. A fantastic collection and a great find.
- Super Mario 64: I ripped this soundtrack years ago from a cassette that I owned from back in the day. Now I found a much better and more complete version. Not to mention the fact that my original copy was not broken into tracks...just one long 32-minute song. Obviously, some classic tunes here. (Love "Dire, Dire Docks"! Cool name.)

Where can all this great music be found, you might ask? Now, I am not one to condone the proliferation of "illegal" intellectual property, so let me be the first to admit that I am rationalizing the following...visit Galbadia Hotel or Kingdom Hearts Insider to find these gems, amongst many (MANY!) others. But remember, it's always best to buy the original article when you can. (Hey, I bought my "Dragon Quest VII" OST when I was in Tokyo, dammit!) However, some of these things are so rare, hard to find, or just not available in this country that you would be a stalwart nerd indeed if you could resist the urge to dip your toe in these waters. Who knows how long these sites will be around, anyway?

Happy listening!

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