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  1. Started thinking about some of my favorite music in RPGs this morning and realized that a lot of them are battle themes! And since a lot of us already know and love the classics (Chrono Trigger, FFVI, FFVII, and on) I'll list some of my recent favorites: Final Fantasy XIII-2 - "Last Hunter" The intro is pretty snazzy and I love the part from 2:50 to 3:04, which is sort of an enhanced arrangement of the intro. Xenoblade Chronicles - "Time to Fight!" The regular battle theme that plays when fighting enemies. It's got a great, symphonic feeling to it, and also even sounds like it could be a song from Kingdom Hearts. Xenoblade Chronicles - "One Who Gets in Our Way" It took some time for this song to grow on me when I first started the game. But it's got a great, dynamic intro, and when you hear it, you know that enemies are done messing around and things are about to get serious. Also, the part from 2:00 to 2:33 or so is super ace and leaves you feeling like you're taking the fight back to the boss in a big way. Great stuff. Xenoblade Chronicles X - "Black Tar" I SWEAR I'M NOT JUST LISTING XENOBLADE SERIES MUSIC This one may be a bit controversial since not everyone liked it, but again, I think it has a great intro and overall beat to it. The deep, metal undertones are pretty different for a JRPG, and the drum beats are fantastic and catchy to listen to. While the rap is very YMMV, I liked it, and thought it was an interesting touch. Child of Light - "Dark Creatures" I thought this was a great battle theme as it has a super symphonic, epic feel to it. It's a bit of a slow burn, but man, is it ever evocative of the journey overall. Cosmic Star Heroine - "Battle of Conflicts" Sound familiar to you? Cosmic Star Heroine as a whole is pretty much a homage to the likes of games such as Chrono Trigger, but this theme really drives home the impact of it. Great theme all-around, and the organ playing from 1:23 to the heroic crescendo that ends at 1:51 make it one of my favorite battle themes to date. Which battle themes do you guys really like?
  2. Jordan Haygood

    True (8-Bit Remix) | Silent Hill 2 x NES

    Here is an 8-bit version of "True" from Silent Hill 2. Basically, this is what the song might sound like if Silent Hill 2 were released for the NES. Note: The images used are from the Silent Hill 2 demake known as Soundless Mountain II (right image) and a cover of PlayStation Magazine (part of left image). What video game song would you like me to make an 8-bit version of?
  3. Here is an 8-bit version of Theme of Laura (otherwise known as the opening theme) from Silent Hill 2. Basically, it's what the song might sound like if Silent Hill 2 were released for the NES. Note: The images used are from the Silent Hill 2 demake known as Soundless Mountain II (right image) and a cover of PlayStation Magazine (part of left image). What video game song would you like me to make an 8-bit version of?
  4. Here is an 8-bit version of Cool, Cool Mountain / Snowman's Land (aka "Snow Mountain") from Super Mario 64. Basically, it's what the song would sound like if Super Mario 64 were released for the NES. What video game song would you like me to make an 8-bit version of?
  5. Here is an 8-bit version of Dire, Dire Docks / Jolly Roger Bay (aka "The Water Theme") from Super Mario 64. Basically, it's what the song would sound like if Super Mario 64 were released for the NES. What video game song would you like me to make an 8-bit version of?
  6. For our first video game remix, here is an 8-bit version of Bob-omb Battlefield for Super Mario 64. Basically, it's what the song would sound like if Super Mario 64 were released for the NES. What video game song would you like me to make an 8-bit version of?
  7. Welcome to the thirteenth week of my Pokémon feature here on Game Podunk! In case you missed the last one, check it out! Stay tuned for future entries coming every Friday morning. Also! I'm extending my Mew giveaway to give you guys more time to enter. -------------------------------- Musically Inclined Somewhere, there is a parallel universe out there where I spent years of my life studying the craft of music instead of the craft of writing. I“m more than a little obsessed with music (particularly in games, with my physical/digital soundtrack collection being...well...larger than most, suffice to say.) The Pokémon games are no exception. I“ve actually purchased every single soundtrack available via iTunes! And I“m most definitely interested in Symphonic Evolutions. If and when they ever make their way to Florida, I hope to devote an Individual Values to reviewing a performance I personally witness! As each Nintendo handheld has gotten more and more powerful, Pokémon music has evolved, just like the critters themselves. Just listen to how the instrumentals have evolved between and the . Another great example—since the same theme exists across two generations—compare Looker“s Theme to . There“s absolutely no question that Game Freak/Junichi Masuda have learned a thing or two in nineteen years of developing games. Of course, I want to know what your favorite songs from the franchise (whether it be the games or the anime, even) are! Perhaps the Game Podunk Pokémaniacs will put together a ranking of Pokémon music sometime. It“s certainly a good discussion point. Remember the days when Legendary Pokémon didn“t have specific themes? In Red, Blue and Yellow, the music that played when you encountered Mewtwo was the same as when you ran into your first Pidgey on Route 1. But—after playing Pokémon ORAS—I“ve realized just how many Legendary Pokémon (and specific themes to make them unique) there are. One of the nice touches of that game was the flashback offered to the Legendary Beast trio from Johto. While Ho-Oh and Lugia got their HeartGold/SoulSilver theme variants, when encountering Suicune, for example—the original 8bit theme from GSC plays. What kinds of music from the games get stuck in your head, even if they“re not necessarily your favorites? The happy-go-lucky music that almost seems like it was arranged with parody in mind always make me smile. Whether we“re talking about Looker“s Theme, which I already mentioned, or something like the or the —the happy stuff is particularly the catchiest, for me personally. What are some of your favorites? Be sure to sound off below!
  8. Developer: Sega/Crypton Future Media Publisher: Sega Platforms: PlayStation 3/PS Vita Release Date: November 18, 2014 ESRB: T for Teen This review is based on the PS3 version of the game Hatsune Miku is an anomaly that I don“t completely understand. I get that her rise of fame started as synthesized vocal software (aka vocaloid) and her anime design managed to catch on in Japan. What I understand much less is how she became such a phenomena that she can take over established pizza chains, appear on late night American TV shows, or go on concert tours all over the world. Her cling to the title of the “most popular virtual singer” is not to be belittled. Still, if it means that I get more great rhythm games like Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd in the process, I could not care less about fully understanding her existence. Despite the virtual idol's strange popularity as of late, Sega still took a chance with bringing over the Project Diva series beyond Japan last year with Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F on PS3 and delayed Vita release early this year. Likely deeming that a success, Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd now finally sees a simultaneous release on both PS3 and Vita. Little has deviated from the central formula of previous releases in the series. This is by no means bad, of course. As with earlier entries notes appear from pretty much every angle until they overlap with their corresponding face button notes. To also keep the player on their toes, notes also have extra variables like direction based inputs or flicks of the analog stick, with an entire new star note that requires simultaneous taps on the analog sticks. It is certainly not ground-breaking amongst rhythm games, nor does it try to be, but it nails the intrinsic feedback of it. Despite how I may enjoy the recent Final Fantasy Theatrhythm: Curtain Call, that is an example in the genre where the core gameplay somewhat feels off-sync with the music accompanying it. Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd does not have that problem and pretty much always feels in tune with both the gameplay and music together. It may sound simple and arbitrary, but I think that is what separates a good rhythm game and a great one. Well, that, and the quality of the soundtrack. Vocaloid J-pop music is certainly an acquired taste. To be honest, aside from the soundtrack of Magical Beat it would be difficult for me to say that to say I care for most vocaloid tunes in general. I tend to enjoy the series more for the well-crafted rhythm gameplay than anything else. I say that, but I think the quality of the soundtrack really stepped up overall in Project Diva F 2nd. I have gone from liking less than a small handful in previous releases to finding, erm, multiple handfuls dangerously catchy in Project Diva F 2nd with its 40+ tracks (not including dlc). To match the crazy presentation the J-pop vocaloid soundtrack also likes to utilize bubbly, eclectic beats to some surprisingly intense rock-like rifts. What remains as the series' double-edged sword is how extravagantly it is presented. The visuals are very eccentric with their colorful vibrancy, expressive movements and dances, and the sheer variety of the motifs. One music video may play with an romantic manga style while another is completely different by having Miku fight with dual katanas and then dying (oops, spoilers?). It probably has a bit too much personality in how it is displayed for would-be newcomers. Also, it becomes a developed skill to pay attention to the notes appearing and not constantly miss because of the extremely busy visuals. Heck, even the notes themselves will occasionally leave the player baffled the first time they see them—for example, a series of them will be in the shape of a heart. I may have personally become much better at not getting distracted, but even I get tripped up by several songs the first time I see them because of the aesthetic. I“m not going to pretend that I am great at most rhythm games, but it is clear that the standard difficulty has seen quite a spike over previous releases. So much so, that as one who has been able to complete hard mode in previous games, I have struggled quite a bit with some of the last songs even on the normal difficulty. Some of the last songs have inputs appear so fast that you don“t have any hope of sight-reading them and succeeding on your first try. For the first time ever I turned to the use of "help items" (which makes parts of songs easier at the cost of a score penalty) to even be sure that I even had the skill level to complete the song(s) anytime soon. Which, even then, I repeated certain songs quite a few times before completing them—I'm looking at you 2D Dream Fever. There is certainly more to Project Diva F 2nd than new songs and an increased difficulty, however, even if I don't really understand (or care to know) more than half of it. Customization options are abound from lots of unlockable costumes, accessories, and challenges to works towards, as well as a "Live Studio" which attempts to recreate a concert setting. Refinements have also been added to the edit mode, which allows players to customize music videos and upload/download them with other users, and the Diva Room too. To be clear, Diva Room is sort of a weird sim-like mode where you can use points earned through songs to buy stuff to customize a vocaloid's room and to raise their.affinity level with items, poking them (literally), or various minigames. Really, though, Diva Room occasionally feels creepy, the minigames within it are poorly designed, and room customization unappealing, so I don't really find any personal appeal in it. It also has a few new additions that are neat for returning fans. For example, being able to carry over saves from the previous game for new unlocks or the ability to convert a Japanese save file to English to carry over progress for possible early importers. Cross-save usage between both PS3 and Vita is pretty seamless for those that happen to have both. Also, Sega now has both a Romaji translation and the newly added direct English translation for those who want learn context behind the various songs, which is cool. Granted, I'm convinced that some songs make less sense in English, but it is the thought that counts. Lastly, a subtle, but smart (and dangerous) addition is "spotlight", which randomly selects songs in the main rhythm portion and gives the player one chance to complete a song for significantly more bonus points towards unlocks and pushes that "Just one more song..." mentality. As a smart performer, Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd improves upon previous gigs in nearly every way. It's flashier, has a stronger overall musical selection, useful new features, and is dense with content and modes to work towards. The only real problems is that its significant raise in difficulty can be rather daunting, especially for newcomers, and some long-standing problems with the series still remain. I may never understand the enigma that is Hatsune Miku, but at least I can be at ease knowing that a lot of fun can still be found with her newest rhythm game performance. Pros: + Music is better than the previous Project Diva F overall + Vibrant, varied, and entertaining visuals + Very responsive controls and gameplay that syncs great with the music + Plenty of unlockables and challenges to work towards Cons: - Standard difficulty has spiked a lot. - Diva Room still weirds me out - Visuals can be distracting Overall Score: 8 (out of 10) Great With a better overall performance and musical selection Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd has proven that this idol is not out of tricks just yet when it comes to putting up a great rhythm game show Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable PS3 code provided by the publisher.
  9. Game Podunk 2014 Videogame Music Trivia Contest It's been a long time since I've done a trivia contest, so I thought I'd get one in before the end of November. In the above video there are 50 tracks from 50 different videogames, all of which were release this year, 2014. Using this spreadsheet to fill in your answers, tell me which game each track is from! That's it! This contest is open to everyone (GP Staff excluded), although if you live outside the USA I reserve the right to make changes to any prize you may receive. WHAT DO I WIN? In the spirit of Black Friday, I'll be giving away a $20 Amazon Giftcard for you put towards some holiday shopping. Alternatively if don't use Amazon or don't live in the USA, we can work out an replacement prize. HOW LONG DO I HAVE? So as to have aple time to score the contestants and give out the prize in time for Black Friday I will be closing this contest WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 26 AT MIDNIGHT EST (11PM CST, 9PM PST etc etc) THE RULES: 1.This is a trivia contest, that means no giving away/sharing answers. If you do I'll have to cancel the whole contest, and that would suck for everyone right? 2.There are 50 tracks total. The highest scoring contestant wins (obviously). 3.PM me your answers, DO NOT post them here. 4. You may attempt this as many times as you wish (within reason, I don't want to have to recheck your answers 20 times) until the contest period is over. 5. In the event of a tie, there is the possibility of a tie breaker or simply splitting the prize. 6. Finally, if less than 5 people participate the contest will be canceled with the possibility of a consolation prize to the highest scoring participant. HAVE FUN!
  10. If you're like most of us here at Game Podunk, you are currently recovering from an excessive amount of game shopping. There might even be a shiny new system in your hands! So what about yet another video game-based purchase? As its name implies, the Game Music Bundle is a collection of game soundtracks. Their sixth bundle is by far the largest yet. Spending $1 grants 5 soundtracks: Braid by Jami Sieber, Shira Kammen, Pam Swan, Cheryl Ann Fulton Dust: An Elysian Tale by HyperDuck SoundWorks Electronic Super Joy - Part 1 by EnV Famaze by Disasterpeace Rogue Legacy by Tettix & A Shell in the Pit Paying $10 adds in the massive second tier with 19 additional soundtracks: 7 Grand Steps: What Ancients Begat by Mousechief Artemis by John Robert Matz Bientôt l'étéby Walter Hus Big Steel Wheels by C-jeff Electronic Super Joy - Part 2 by EnV Guacamelee! by Peter Chapman, Rom Di Prisco Kentucky Route Zero Act I by Ben Babbitt Kentucky Route Zero Act II by Ben Babbitt Mighty Switch Force 2 by virt, coda, surasshu, DJ Bouche Null Divide by MTMB Studios Papo & Yo by Brian D'Oliveira Pivvot by Whitaker Trebella Risk of Rain by Chris Cristodoulou Shimsham by Dain Saint The Stanley Parable by The Blake Robinson Synthetic Orchestra Super Ubie Land by Hyperduck Soundworks, Calum Bowen, Renko, and more Thirty Flights of Loving by Chris Remo Tiny Barbarian DX: The Serpent Lord by Jeff Ball Zineth by Evan-Daniel Rose-Gonzalez So basically, if you pay $10 or more then you're going to have 24 shiny new game soundtracks to download. The soundtracks are available in MP3, FLAC, and ALAC formats. The bundle ends in 13 days.
  11. Here we are, moving steadily closer to the end of the year. The weather's getting colder, and everyone's preparing for the holiday rushes brought on by the new generation of gaming and the general December holiday happenings. While most of us are desperately trying to work through our backlogs, musicians instead hit their computers and instruments, pumping out a ton of free gaming music for us to listen to while fighting the holiday shopping crowds. Scroll on down for eleven completely free albums to add to your MP3 player of choice! Hardcore Adventure Box: World 1 Hardcore Adventure Box is a metal tribute to an event well beloved by Guild Wars 2 players, the Super Adventure Box, and this is the first of four planned albums based off it. The Super Adventure Box had an 8-bit inspired soundtrack, so this remix is a definite upgrade of sorts to the original tracks. Some people may prefer the original, but there's no denying this has a charm of its own. Sample Tracks: You have to check the Bandcamp page! Download here BadAss Boss Themes: Volume II The first of OCRemix's offerings this month is a compilation of heavy metal remixes of boss battle themes. Much like the the first BadAss album, it's all metal all the time, and it may not be to everyone's tastes. However, those that do love heavy metal will find a high-quality gaming album download. Sample Tracks: Download here Haunted House Despite it being the month of Halloween, this album is the only release this month that is even somewhat themed after the holiday. Haunted House is a remake of the thirteenth game of the Touhou series, Touhou Shinreibyou: Ten Desires. The bullet hell series isn't as well known for its soundtrack, but the tracks represented in Haunted House are solid, and remixed in a techno/dance style that's refreshing. Sample Tracks: Check the Bandcamp page! Download here Super Guitar Bros. Super Guitar Bros. is a simple album with a simple premise: Two guys on guitar playing video game music. Given that so many gaming remixes nowadays are high-energy, rockin' or techno filled remixes, the simplicity of just the two playing guitars and nothing else makes for a different type of album to listen to. Sample Tracks: , Download here "Survaillant" Soundtrack [survaillant] is a horror game made in 48 hours for the Asylum Game Jam--since it's free, you can check it out here. The game itself is actually praised for its soundtrack, especially since it was also compiled in 48 hours, and the four track album is available for free as well. So, give the game a try then download the music! Sample Tracks: Check it out within the game! Download here The Hedgehog Initiative: Genesis Oh my... that's quite the album cover. Anyway, The Hedgehog Intiative: Genesis is the first of Belchism's guitar tributes to the blue hedgehog. This first album offers eight guitar covers from the Sonic games of the Genesis era. Unlike Super Guitar Bros., though, these are electric guitar covers, so expect a more 'rock' feeling vibe from these remixes. Sample Tracks: Check the Bandcamp page! Download here Mega Man 3 - Turn of Events Remastered This Mega Man 3 tribute album by Hyde209 was originally created about a year ago. Since then, the musician has gone over all the tracks and remastered them, giving an overall better album in the process. This remixed album takes practically every track from Mega Man 3 and remixes them with a fair amount of techno and rock. If you're looking for more Mega Man tracks to round out your gaming music collection, you can't really go wrong with this somewhat conservative remix. Sample Tracks: The remastered songs are only available on Bandcamp. Download here Free Stuff: Volume 1 The title of this album couldn't align with this article more if it wanted to! Free Stuff Volume 1 is a 10 track album containing, you guessed it, free gaming music. These remixes tend to be a bit more conservative than others on this list, but the tracks are still of good quality, and worth the download. Sample Tracks: Just... check the Bandcamp page. YouTube's scary. Download here Bionic Commando ReMixed: OK, We'll Groove OCRemix is actually bringing us two albums this month, this second one being a 13 track album of remixes from the original Bionic Commando. The series may not have been doing well in recent years, but the original game's soundtrack is still solid, and the various remixers have been giving that soundtrack some loving. Sample Tracks: Gridlock, Download here Asteroid Smash Asteroid Smash is a neat little iPad game that features 4-player multiplayer... on one iPad. It's a very action packed retro-styled game, and the seven track soundtrack also reflects this overall style. These high energy chip tracks are a nice fit with the frantic game. Sample Tracks: Trailer Download here Oldie But Still a Freebie! 2012 VGMC Recordings This month's oldie is actually a very short album--only three tracks! However, I'm sure you have enough albums to listen to for this month, and I don't want to give you a reason to miss out on some awesome work by the Video Game Music Choir! Their name gives away what's unique about them: They're a choir designed around singing video game tracks to the world! That might sound a little odd (since most gaming songs don't really have lyrics), but they do it well, and this album is a perfect sampler of their work. Sample Tracks: Check their YouTube page Download here That's it for October! This month we've gotten a nice spread of genres and games represented, with something even the pickiest audiophile can enjoy. As for next month... will artists be too busy to pump out more free albums for us, or will the season of giving inspire them to make even more? We'll see in November! Which album is your favorite this month? Let me know in the comments below!
  12. I just thought that this was hilarious. Completely unrelated to gaming, but hilarious.
  13. So... does anyone have some neat tribute music videos to share? I mean something like this: Anyone else have tribute music videos to share, gaming related or otherwise? [/shortestopeningpostevar]
  14. Blazeknyt

    Transported to DISTANT WORLDS

    I was lucky enough to go to Distant Worlds this year, on October 6th! It is a concert of just Final Fantasy music. You read that right, just Final Fantasy music, but completely performed by an orchestra! I was rather surprised at how excited I was to go to this concert, because I“m usually not one to go to them. Since this was an orchestra, people showed up in various levels of dress. Some were dressed formally, others were dressed in a business style, some more casual, and I even spotted one person in full blown cosplay as Yuna! But this concert was a blast! As my brother put it, it was a giant nostalgia trip. There were plenty of songs I recognized and quite a few that I didn“t. There were some medleys that were played, where songs from a few games transitioned very well into one another. There was also a special 25th anniversary song that was played. The conductor noted that the team tries to make the songs as close to the games as possible. I had forgotten how great the Final Fantasy VIII battle theme was, and loved it when the main theme played. I wish Dancing Mad (Kefka“s theme), the Final Fantasy VI boss theme, or the World of Balance Map theme played, but you can't have everything. However, they did play the opera! Specific singers were brought in to play Maria and Draco, and there was a narrator too! The 25th anniversary special was a great original, and the choir/chorus ended up spelling the word “chocobo†during the end of the song. The man, the myth, the legend, Nobuo Uematsu was there! This is the second time I've seen him, (the first was at PAX East 2011) and he even played a song! It was the introduction music from Final Fantasy VI, and he played on a keyboard. It was pretty cool, to see him play live. The conductor, Arnie Roth told the story about how Nobuo Uematsu would play in the concert…and that was if Arnie Roth agreed to play violin! Now I“ve never seen the conductor decide to play an instrument during the concert he himself is conducting, but I thought it was one of the best aspects of the show. The concert ended with the ever so popular , and Nobuo Uematsu joined the chorus and sang along! I very much enjoyed the aspect of original medleys and songs combined with the orchestral sounds of the game music. See if you can spot Nobuo Uematsu! All in all, it was a great show!
  15. Harrison Lee

    2013's Best Of: Awesome Albums Part 1

    Taking stock of the past few months in gaming, it's easy to see that 2013 has been one of the most generous, star-studded, quality-packed years. The same can be said across a number of other media industries, whether it's film or music. But when you have so many different things to sort through and watch, play or listen to, it gets tough to find the real gems. Over the next few weeks I'll try to sift through 2013's massive releases and highlight some of my personal favorites that are worth checking out. Awesome Albums (Part 1) The Wonder Years: The Greatest Generation What does it take for an album to really stand out? How can a band truly define a genre and transcend norms to create something unique? These questions get harder and harder to answer as musical tastes evolve. For instance, when I was just a wee young lad, pop-punk was all the rage. I never subscribed to the genre but all of my friends seemed obsessed with bands like Yellow Card and blink-182. Now that I'm older I find myself going through each band's catalog, trying to recapture whatever magic I missed in my youth. Truth be told, I sometimes struggle to find what kids really liked about them. I guess it was the combo of raucous attitudes and a rebellious tone that really sold pop-punk's success. Fast forward to 2013 and there are barely any relevant pop-punk bands left. Those that remain have slowly lost ground and continue to lose relevance amidst the rise of alt-rock. Unless you're All Time Low (which seems to have an eternal fanbase), it's nigh impossible to try and resurrect the long-dormant pop-punk genre. That is, unless you're The Wonder Years. Few bands have had as meteoric a rise as The Wonder Years and they've rightly earned their new-found fame. Tackling themes of post-collegiate disillusionment and problems that adults who grew up with blink-182 now face, The Wonder Years have curated a rabid audience. From what I've experienced at their concert and other firsthand accounts, the fans know each and every lyric of the songs. I've even had the chance to join in on a number of the songs they've played, which speaks to the band's ability to resonate with the youth. The Wonder Years are nearly pitch-perfect for my generation and the previous one, but I can already see the younger listeners growing in numbers. The music is mature with all of the catchy pop-punk hooks and none of the filler. And as time goes by, The Wonder Years only get better. This leads me to my current Album of the Year, The Wonder Year's The Greatest Generation. Few records are as perfectly paced or written as well as The Greatest Generation. The Wonder Years really did a fantastic job with Suburbia and the Upsides, but their newest album is on a whole new plane. It makes pop-punk relevant again while redefining the typical lyrical content. The Greatest Generation is a deeply personal album for lead singer Dan 'Soupy' Campbell, tackling depression and anxiety. But these themes are interwoven and outed to highlight how common they are among the recent generations. Soupy wants to relate to you on an intimate level; The Greatest Generation does that at every chance it gets. Listen to the whole album for the best experience (especially to appreciate the last track), but if you have to pick a few tracks to give a quick spin, here are the album highlights: Passing Through A Screen Door, Dismantling Summer, The Devil In My Blood Stream, Chaser, Cul-De-Sac. Brick + Mortar: Bangs EP Brick + Mortar are an odd lot, to be sure. Founded by front-man Brandon Asraf and drummer John Tacon, the duo is a fusion of darkly-tinged electro-pop and lo-fi rock. They emerged from relative obscurity with hit single Bangs and have since played at Coachella and many other venues to acclaim. Their newest release, the Bangs EP, is the kind of album you'd have to hear at least once in your life. It's perfect for the end of summer or when you just feel like tripping out. While not every song on the Bangs EP is my favorite, few debuts are as strong or well-composed as this. Brick + Mortar have proven their ability to meld genres into a gritty, dark, seductive hybrid. A few of my album favorites include the titular Bangs, Keep This Place Beautiful and the heartfelt No I Won't Go. Like many songs from this EP, No I Won't Go has a fairly deep story behind it. Brandon rasps a fight against addiction against the backdrop of an insidious bass-and-drum combo. It's darkly beautiful and terrifying, a paradox that perfectly highlights how skilled John and Brandon are at creating meaningful pop. And in many ways, you feel the duo is speaking to your own faults and problems. Bangs EP is personal, tripped out, mechanical but smooth, and altogether chilling. You likely won't hear anything quite like it for a good while. Balance and Composure: The Things We Think We're Missing Balance and Composure wasn't a big favorite of mine for a long time. I didn't get why this gritty rock band was so popular. Their debut album, Separation, just wasn't doing it for me. A few years later the quintet comes out with the sophomore The Things We Think We're Missing. Somehow, Balance and Composure heard my feelings of discontent and produced one of my favorite rock albums of the last five years. Hitting the blunt force of a hammer, The Things We Think We're Missing has some of Balance and Composure's best writing and musical composition. Having listened to the whole thing front to back, I finally see what the buzz is about. The album opens with the hard-rocking Parachutes and seldom lets up from there. The album channels 90's grunge and elements of classic rock, as well as numerous contemporary influences. You can see the DNA of Nirvana in a fair few of the songs including Notice Me. The latter half of Balance and Composure's second effort is easily my favorite. It starts with the heavy Cut Me Open that leads into the stellar Reflection. Seriously, Reflection is darn near flawless. It's the reason you should give The Things We Think We're Missing a chance. I'm Swimming and Keepsake are great songs in their own right but lack the staying power and brilliance of Reflection. All that said, Balance and Composure have truly crafted a fantastic rock album that'll stand the test of time. This deserves a hallowed place on your shelf beside the top rock albums of the past few decades. That's it for Part 1 of my Awesome Albums of 2013 round-up! Stay tuned for more amazing musical pieces you need to snag. Part 2 Teaser: letlive, Haim, Artic Monkeys, CHVRCHES.
  16. Developer: Michael Todd Games Publisher: Michael Todd Games Platform: PC Release Date: August 7th, 2013 Having my ears blasted by intense electronic music and the occasional......uh......moan(?) is not what I would call an ideal setup for a first impressions of a game. Adding in some flashing rainbow colors might worsen my experience just a bit. However, upon playing the game that utilizes these three very unique elements, Electronic Super Joy, I can certainly say that it kinda grows on you after a while. ESJ (as I shall call it) is a strange and challenging platformer created by a guy named Michael Todd. Nice job MT, you just secured ESJ into the OPHWG (Official Pixel Hall of Weird Games). Now that's a lot of abbreviations! Anyway, on to the game. There's no end to the pumping electronic music and the flashy visuals, but luckily you can alter the moans to a more "PG" option. Definitely a great added touch right before release (the game was in Early Access for a bit). Well, I should quit babbling about the small stuff and get on to the actual game! There's 4 worlds in it, each with generally ~15-20 levels besides the last world, which only has 5 levels I believe. I managed to get to the boss of world 2 and could barely manage to get very far in the level at all after my time playing. However, I got stuck multiple times like this and after going back and trying something new or honing my reflexes almost always I could pass the levels in a try or two. So thankfully, the game isn't too hard for inexperienced platformer players! Every level is very possible to beat once you understand the weird tricks the level design is trying to throw at you. Now, this leads to the inevitable question- is ESJ really as hard as it claims to be? Well......to be frank, I'd have to say no. There's a few levels that will challenge inexperienced gamers, but for the most part I would say anyone can progress far in this game with some patience. Each level can be cleared just by carefully timing jumps, stomps, and horizontal movement of your character (who by the way, is some guy who lost his butt via the despicable Groove-Wizard, that is literally the plot). With so few levels, you may think this game is nowhere near the price, but considering that you can try and get the hidden star on each level, speedrun them, or unlock some difficult achievements may lessen the price tag. If the game ever goes 50% or more off though, this would be an instant buy if you like platformers! One thing that did manage to keep me entertained was the simple, immature humor this game throws at the player. Things in even the description are kinda funny, such as: "The Evil Groove-Wizard rules the world with an iron fist. Captain Lewis, of the 43rd Queen's Disco Troop, has vowed to resist his tyrannical rule! ...And he stole Little Anni McGee's teddy bear! Can you defeat the Groove-Wizard and end his Tyranny? Can you be a hero?" There's also another instance involving the Pope......that I won't speak of. Overall, I'd say I was fairly pleased with ESJ. It provides some great tunes and colorful visuals while very gently tearing your hair out over the moderate difficulty. It's a nice blend, and if you enjoy platformers this is certainly a game you should consider! I give this game a: 7.5/10 Also, you can win a copy of the game (on Steam of course)! Simply comment below telling me what your ideal technical combo (graphics+music) in terms of style would be for a game! An example would be: "Hardcore Rock music with cutesy graphics" I'll be closing this and choosing my favorite combo as the winner this Friday, August 30th, 2013! So get your entry in! Good luck!
  17. Marcus Estrada

    Game Music Bundle 5 Loaded with Indies

    The last Game Music Bundle, while awesome, ran into a few issues due to people coming out of the woodwork to claim ownership over classic game soundtracks. Thankfully, this time around that sort of thing isn't apt to happen. The focus of their latest bundle is once again centered around modern indie games. Level one costs $1 and includes these albums: FEZ Original Soundtrack by Diasterpiece FTL: Faster Than Light - Original Soundtrack by Ben Prunty Gunpoint - The Soundtrack by Various Artists Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded by Austin Wintory Monaco: What's Yours Is Mine by Austin Wintory World of Goo Soundtrack by Kyle Gabler Level two costs $10 or more: Anodyne by Segaia Anodyne Remix Album by Various Artists Drox Operative Soundtrack by Soldak Entertainment/Tori Kamal Frog Fractions by Various Artists The Forge by Austin Wintory, Malukah, Tina Guo FZ: Side F by Various Artists FZ: Side Z by Various Artists Hero of Many by Trickster Arts Little Inferno Soundtrack by Kyle Gabler Marble Time: Original Soundtrack by Calum Bowen Me and My Dinosaur 2 Official Soundtrack by David Saulseco Monaco: The Gentleman's Private Collection by Various Artists Super Panda Adventures by James Dean Each soundtrack is available to purchasers in either MP3 or FLAC versions for download. Those who contribute the most money of anyone also get a shot at a prize. Right now, the max purchase price is $50, but that will likely change as time goes on. After all, they are offering goods such as sheet music signed by Austin Wintory.
  18. Marcus Estrada

    Grant Kirkhope Shares Perfect Dark Album

    One of the things that has always seemed odd is how many video games have great music but never get an official album release. Instead, fans end up rigging methods to capture or rip the audio themselves for free consumption. Grant Kirkhope's music has been available by album, but the albums have since become hard to come by. That's why lately Kirkhope has been uploading tracks himself. Last month he uploaded both the Banjo Kazooie and Banjo Tooie albums to his BandCamp page. Visitors could pay to download the tracks but they were also available for free. It was quite a generous move on his part considering he could easily charge for all downloads. Now Kirkhope is back again with the soundtrack to Perfect Dark for the Nintendo 64. Some modern gamers might not understand the appeal of Kirkhope's work but the music coming out of Rare was quite memorable. Of course, the games were pretty great as well. With three albums released in a row we now wonder what game might be next.
  19. Only a few weeks ago, composer Grant Kirkhope was kind enough to put the soundtrack for Banjo-Kazooie online. The much-loved Nintendo 64 game had great music but little means for fans to legally get a hold of it. Users could choose to pay for the download or simply take it freely. Now Kirkhope has done it again. This time, it's Banjo-Tooie tracks that have shown up on his Bandcamp page. There doesn't seem to be any cause for the latest upload, but it's likely he received a lot of positive reaction from fans over uploading the initial soundtrack. Anyone can go and grab the fourteen track album from his page for the low, low price of free just like before. Or, if you'd like to be lovely you can send some money Kirkhope's way. As with before, FLAC, MP3, and other common file types are available for the download.
  20. KORG DS-10 originally came to Nintendo DS in 2008. Instead of being a game, it was a program which users could make their own music with. In 2010, North American gamers were given another taste of the program with KORG DS-10 Plus. This version had a few new features which could be accessed when played on a DSi. This week, Detune shared information and a trailer for their next game. KORG M01D, based off the massively popular Korg M1 synthesizer, is heading to the 3DS. Unlike the previous titles which hit retail, this version is an eShop exclusive. Users will be able to share songs with others via wi-fi. In case people wish to edit their music beyond the 3DS, they'll also be able to grab their projects from the SD card for later PC use. Japan is set to get their hands on the software in May but the rest of the world has to wait until Summer. The trailer shows off features as well as a song composed with KORG M01D by Nobuyoshi "Sanodg" Sano: