Posted by: seanmalstrom | September 25, 2015

Email: Video Game Music

Hello Mr. Malstrom –

OK, the first thing to know is that I am not ‘Mister’. Just as MRS applies to married women, MS applies to single women. In the same way, MR applies to married men but something else applies to single men. For unmarried men, the term ‘Master’ is to be used. I believe its use disappeared because it was politically incorrect since ‘master’ for a single man sounded the same as, say, a slave master. Also, giving the title ‘master’ to single men is too revealing, and women will never ever allow its use into the mainstream again. When a man is married, he is no longer the master! Some artifacts of it can be found in pop culture such as the deceased gentlemen society. It is why in Batman shows, it is never Mr. Bruce Wayne but Master Bruce Wayne. If he is a kid, he is the ‘young master’.

In the real world, I insist women I date refer to me as ‘master’ with hilarious results. Women who lack humor will become outraged. Others will go along laughing. When overheard at the bar that I am being referred to as ‘master’, the other women ask her, “Why are you calling him master?” “It is because he is the master,” she giggles.

Since I receive no payment for this website, it is also a joke between the readers and myself. When emails start with ‘Master Malstrom,’ we can imagine a hardcore gamer, industry official, or someone else lacking in humor becoming outraged. How DARE he be called ‘master’! How dare he!

Other times, I enrage people by posting pictures of flamingos on the website. Now, I do not know why pictures of flamingos cause people to lose it, but I do it because life is about having fun. Here is a video of flamingos dancing. I am sure someone will be very upset by seeing flamingos dance!

PS- For those who don’t believe me about the term master, even the ‘Yahoo Asks’ people get it.

 

 

LOOOOOONG time reader, first time writer (but in all fairness, it wasn’t all that easy to track down your freakin’ email address – would have been too much for you to have a simple ’email me’ button somewhere? �� ).

 

This is intentional. I don’t have much time to update or reply to emails. I do read them all. And, besides, consider it a ‘game’ trying to get the email. There are times I am amazed how someone got the email especially if they are in the industry or analyst or someone.

 

I have always loved reading your take on the video game industry as I find your articles not only informative, but expressed in a very entertaining way – I find it ‘easy reading’ and can easily get lost in your blog for hours at a time. In particular, I have found your change in view of Nintendo (from ‘madly in love’ when the Wii came out, to downright hostile ever since the Wii U was released) to be almost directly in line with mine – and believe me, that says a lot as I have been an incredibly loyal Nintendo customer since the NES days. So having my view of them turn so negative these days is extremely out of character and is very telling about their direction…

 

I consider myself to be a consistent Nintendo fan. It is Nintendo, however, who refuses to be consistent. What I want is that awesome quality they had back in the 8-bit, 16-bit, and the 7th Generation. However, it is a very high standard. It is ‘God Mode’ standard in the game industry.

“But Malstrom, Nintendo cannot make Wiis every generation.”

Well, why the hell not? I am a selfish customer! I want Nintendo’s best. I used to believe that I was ‘stuck’ culturally in gaming, that gaming was for younger people. After the DS and Wii, I realized my standards were not out of line.

 

…but, that’s not why I write you today and certainly a conversation for another time. I’m writing because I wanted to share a link I discovered to a video game soundtrack that I have always found to be so incredibly endearing – I still listen to it today (nearly 20yrs after I last played the game!!): Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon

Now, I have certainly played my fair share of games (my first consoles were the Atari 2600 and my most favorite console, the ColecoVision) and there have been plenty of games that have had entertaining music – but I have yet to find one that surpasses the amount of quality music, as can be found in this particular title!! Right from the very beginning when you first head out on the highway, to my most favorite area in the Festival Village – each song appeared to be put together with a greatest attention to detail and contained some of the catchiest melodies I had ever heard! There were even times when I was playing the game, that I would leave Goemon idle in a particular area, just so I could continue to listen to the song – is that normal???

So, beyond my statement of ‘This is the best soundtrack in my opinion’ – was curious what your favorite video game soundtrack might be (you have a ‘music’ category on the website, so I can only assume you appreciate excellent music as much as I do)? Music is my favorite part of any game, and so I’m always on the lookout for something that will give me my next audio fix!

If I had to choose one single game for its music, it would probably be World of Warcraft. It has the largest quantity of music of high quality (especially since the game has gone on for over a decade) of any single game. People may mock WoW now, but listen to the music. Since I know no one is going to listen to 2 hours of music, here are some examples. NightsongInvincibleLament of the Highborne.  Grizzly Hills. Storm Peaks. And I can go on.

Ever since CD technology, there is no technical limit. It is all talent now. This isn’t the day of NES vs. Gensesis vs. SNES vs. PC Sound Blaster music. But if we want to go before the CD technology days, I’d have to go with Star Control 2. Stand out songs are Yehat Theme, Hyperspace, Thraddash Theme, Outfit Starship, Supox Theme, and I can go on.

What I like about Star Control 2’s music is that it was made by many different composers, all amateur (meaning they weren’t famous people), who sent them in as part of a ‘contest’. Very interesting how it was done. Star Control 2 is also a brilliant game and should be played by everyone. You can download it for free by googling ‘The Urquan Masters’ as it is open source now. Star Control 2 is like a combination of Asteroids (the combat), Old School Final Fantasy (the heroic epic story and great production effects), and Space Flight (the exploration). I’ve never seen any game like it and never will again.

 

 

I’d also be interested on your take regarding music production in modern games, because while my ‘gaming time’ has been greatly reduced over the years due to managing my kids who have taken over nearly all my TVs and gaming consoles, judging by some of the sounds I hear coming out of my son’s bedroom while he’s gaming I’m not entirely sure music is always getting the level of attention is should be. True? False? We have every console in this house (WiiU, XBOne, PS4, PS3, 360, Wii, etc.), handheld, and both Mac & PC – so hardware is not the limiter to the second part of this question: Do you have a ‘modern’ game with outstanding music that you would recommend?

Thanks for listening (reading) – I look forward to hearing back from ya…

 

Much of modern game music is slapping pop culture music into the game. I prefer the game to generate its own music, for that music to be distinct to that game like Super Metroid’s Brinstar or Donkey Kong Country 2’s Sticker Brush Symphony.

I don’t play many modern games at the moment so I can’t really point out any. Some of the Blizzard games have a nice rich score. I honestly can’t think of much at the moment. I certainly cannot recommend any music from Nintendo lately. Although, the soundtrack to Wii Sports kicked ass (though NO ONE will ever admit it!).


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