Game Music Revue

Game Music Revue: Toy Music – Dancing Super Mario Brothers

  • Credited Performer: Akihabara Electric Circus
  • Released September 15, 1988
  • Label: Eastworld/Toshiba
  • VGMdb Information Page

In 1988 a group by the name of Akiharbara Electric Circus released two arranged game music albums. One featured nothing but reworked version of music from Super Mario Bros. 3. It’s a weird record.

The other is this, Toy Music: Dancing Super Mario Bros.

It’s fucking batshit. Continue reading

Game Music Revue: Ghost In The Shell Megatech Body Co. Ltd (Playstation Game Soundtrack)

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For all its acclaim as an anime action epic, the original Ghost In The Shell film is actually a pretty quiet affair, peppered with only a scant few minutes of solid action. The majority of the film is a drama, that alternates between police procedural and meditative discussions on technology and what it means to be alive in a world where humanity and machine seem to be one in the same. The whole thing climaxes not with a giant battle, but with a conversation between a robot and a cyborg, discussing if life has a point without mortality.

Accompanying all of this is a legendary score by Kenji Kawai, which combines modern technology and traditional Japanese instrumentation with an end result that resembles something that Philip Glass or Dead Can Dance might compose. Just like the film itself, the score to Ghost In The Shell is haunting and beautiful, a work of art that is nearly unrivaled.

Got all that? Good. Because the Ghost In The Shell game that appeared on the PS1 is a third-person shooter where you take control of a tank and blow shit up real good. And the soundtrack is non-stop pulse-pounding techno, all of which has the subtlety and nuance of a jackhammer. Continue reading

Game Music Revue: 8-Bit Music Power

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So this is a weird thing. Continue reading

Game Music Revue: iam8bit Vinyl Review Roundup

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Late last year, iam8bit jumped into the video game vinyl ring with their release of the soundtrack to Hohokum, a quirky indie title available on PSN. They followed that up big with their release of the soundtrack to Hotline Miami 2, a massive affair that came with the soundtrack spread across three colored discs as well as download codes to both the soundtrack and the game itself. It was a huge success, leading to three printings that have all sold out.

Now iam8bit is following that up with a new slate of releases. Three, Banjo Kazooie, Battletoads and Perfect Dark, are culled from the Rare back catalog, while the fourth, Journey, is the score to a relatively new game that was first released for the PS3 and later updated for the PS4. It’s really good by the way, you should buy it.

It’s ambitious for a company new to the vinyl game to ramp up their production so quickly, and with such big name titles. But thankfully it seems that they’ve done each title justice from an audio standpoint, albeit with a few notable presentation caveats and concerns that hopefully will get addressed with future releases. Continue reading

Game Music Revue: Streets Of Rage (2015 Data Discs Edition)

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A few years ago Death Waltz Records opened up shop and promptly took the the record geek community by storm with its high quality vinyl re-issues of classic horror soundtracks, presented with heavy duty sleeves and pressed on creatively-colored vinyl.

Since then, we seemingly become lousy with labels looking to cash in on this sudden re-issue trend. Some, like One Way Static and Invada, have done good by releasing quality soundtracks that sound great and feature amazing art. Others, like the atrocious Waxworks and the flipper-friendly Mondo (who bought Death Waltz rather than compete with them) have often sacrificed audio quality and consumer friendliness in efforts to put out ultra-limited edition items that not only sound horrid, but become impossible to find thanks to their finitely small print runs.

So I was a little skeptical at first when I found out about Data Discs, a new label dedicated to releasing classic game music on vinyl. With the vinyl craze continuing to reach new heights, I feared they were just in it for the money, hoping to snag a quick buck off of hipsters who put presentation and nostalgia over actual audio quality. Still, when I saw that they were releasing the soundtrack to Streets of Rage on vinyl, I had to take the bait and grab a copy.

I was hoping for the best and fearing for the worst – but thankfully I was pleasantly surprised. Continue reading

Game Music Revue: The 30th Anniversary Super Mario Bros. Music

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  • Credited Composer: Nintendo (Koji Kondo, Hirokazu Tanaka, Kazumi Totaka, Shinobu Tanaka, Mahito Yokota, Ryo Nagamatsu, Asuka Hayazaki)
  • Released September 13, 2015
  • Label: Columbia/Sony
  • VGMdb Information Page

Continue reading

Game Music Revue: Famicom Music

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Famicom Music 

  • Credited Composer: Nintendo Sound Team (Koji Kondo, Hirokazu Tanaka, Yukio Kaneoka, Akito Nakatsuka)
  • Released May 25, 1986
  • Label: G.M.O./Alfa Records
  • VGMdb Information Page

This was the first compilation release that G.M.O records put out after the original Video Game Music, and way to start the show with the showstopper guys. Continue reading

Game Music Revue: Darius – Taito Game Music Vol. 2

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Darius – Taito Game Music Vol. 2

  • Credited Composer: Zuntata
  • Released June 25, 1987
  • Label: G.M.O./Alfa Records
  • VGMdb Information Page

If Gradius is the grandfather of side-scrolling shoot-em-ups, then Darius is it’s weird uncle.

(In case you’re wondering, in this analogy R-Type is the cousin with the cool toys who won’t let you play with them.) Continue reading

Game Music Revue: Pia-Com 1

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  • Credited Composer: Various
    Released November 25, 2009
    Label: Dog Ear Records/Sony Music Distribution
    VGMdb Information Page

Continue reading

Game Music Revue: The Konamic Game Freaks

konamicKonamic Game Freaks (Compilation)

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