Hi, I'm JT. I'm 30 years old, with more than half that time spent wandering the silicon wasteland of the internet. I live in the suburbs of Philadelphia. I'm an occasional C-Blogger on Dtoid, but I spend most of my time these days working as Program Director for the 8bitX Radio Network. If you like chipmusic and video game covers, feel free to stop by 8bitx.com, or blueshellmanifesto.com for my individual projects!
Hello, Dtoiders! I'm back with more radio goodness.
Tomorrow night on the 8bitX Radio Network, I'm putting together a six-hour supershow, and I'd love for the Destructoid community to join in!
7:00 PM: I'll be talking to YouTube a capella master Smooth McGroove about his rise to internet fame!
8:00 PM: I'm bringing in Mike Maulbeck of Code Avarice, to recap the story of his Stream Greenlight debacle and the overwhelming voter response!
9:00 PM: I'm grabbing some guests and opening the Skype lines! Two other 8bitX hosts will be joining me for an E3 preview that will most likely turn into an Xbox One bitchfest, and we'll be taking callers!
Other guests and events:
Josh Edington of The World Is Square will be drinking beers and embarking on his very first playthrough of Super Metroid. We'll be calling him to find out if he learned how to make Metroid crawl.
Careless of Random Encounter will be dropping by to provide updates on new projects from both him and his band!
Kyle "Comeback" MacFarland of Big E Gaming will talk about the current state of the fighting game community going into one of the most pivotal EVO championships in FGC history.
8bitX Station Manager Will Strouse talked to Mega Ran earlier this week, I'll be playing this hour-long interview in two parts during the night.
I'll be giving away a few games on Steam through the night, including The Binding of Isaac, Atom Zombie Smasher, and Jamestown: Legend of the Lost Colony.
Hey, Dtoiders. In about 5 hours, I'll be recording my music-and-game-news podcast, The Blue Shell Manifesto on 8bitx.com. I'll be talking all about E3 and all its news and conferences, and I'll be bringing in a bunch a guests to help me out, including Dtoid community members Jess "Ruckus" Brohard, Jon Bloodspray and ArcticFox, and I'll even open the lines to any other community members who want to join in the discussion!
On top of that, I'll be airing an interview with Brentalfloss, where he'll be talking about his new album, "Bits of Me", and giving his own thoughts on Nintendo's E3 conference!
On top of THAT, I'm also going to be giving away $20 on Steam to a random follower of my Facebook page (facebook.com/BlueShellManifesto) sometime during the show- and if you're in the chat and listening when I do, the prize will be DOUBLED!
Be sure to tune in at 9 PM Eastern tonight on 8bitx.com!
Submitted for the approval of Dtoiders everywhere, this is WNES Videogame Radio.
Airing weekly on 8bitx.com, WNES is a weekly internet broadcast featuring chipmusic, video game remixes, news, interviews, and glorious 8-bit nostalgia all packed into two solid hours! I've got Mega Ran, I've got Anamanaguchi, I've got the Protomen, I've got brentalfloss, the Oneups, Shael Riley, 8-Bit Duane, and lots more!
You'll hear all of the week's new chipmusic and video game covers right up front, and you'll get all the info about when and where your favorite acts are coming to your town. The chatroom is open, and Skype call-ins are welcome! I've already had a few Dtoiders (like Jon Bloodspray and AvianFlame) in the chat, and I'm looking forward to having more!
So far, I've interviewed musicians (Kirby's Dream Band and Blue of Hello, the Future!), promoters (MAGFest's Nick Marinelli and Jason Richardson of Philly's J1 Studios), pro gamers (tournament mainstays Dr. Chaos and Felax), and Jon St. John. If you want to hear a few of these for yourself, check out my YouTube page!
Tonight on WNES, it's military/FPS night, with lots of gung-ho game remixes and an interview with Stephen "ShanghaiSix" Machuga of FrontTowardsGamer.com! He'll be talking about Operation Supply Drop, which provides games and other entertainment to deployed servicemen! Drop on by, and chat or even call in about your favorite headshots, killstreaks, and midnight runs!
Tune in this and every week on 8bitx.com Thursdays at 10 PM!
(Now, for the disclaimer. Yeah, this post is pretty spammy. In my defense: I've been a Dtoider for years, longer than I've been plotting this project. Yeah, I'm using Destructoid web space to promote my stuff, but it's in the hopes I can make WNES another great part of the Dtoid community- I want to be able to plaster the green robot all over this thing, and I finally feel like the product's truly worthy of its notice. If that still isn't enough, then nothing is. I think I've earned this one.)
THE MAGFEST CHIPTUNE SHOWCASE will be taking place all day Saturday, starting with a panel at 10:30 AM, and going into an 8-bit rave from 11:30 AM to about 3 PM. The following acts are slated to appear:
CHEAP DINOSAURS: Playing out of Philadelphia, PA, Cheap Dinosaurs is Dino Lionetti (formerly of Chromelodeon) and Bucky Todd on drums, with other musicians drifting in and out of the lineup
SOUNDS LIKE: The kind of nuanced, multilayered sounds that make beating up hordes of faceless mooks so goddamn memorable.
GEORGE & JONATHAN: The rising stars of the chipmusic scene, DC's George & Jonathan play jazzy, trippy rock using Studio Pixel's Cave Story soundboard.
SOUNDS LIKE: Sonic the Hedgehog, if he spent the early 90s going to clubs and raves instead of speeding through colorful landscapes.
ZEN ALBATROSS: Friend of Destructoid, Motherboard.tv all-star, Duke of New York, and deeply experimental chipmusic composer, Zen Albatross likes to bend squarewaves 'till they break.
SOUNDS LIKE: A Game Boy going to an S&M club.
NOTE!: Another member of the vast and varied Brooklyn chiptune scene, Note! loves heavy, steady beats laced with smooth melodies.
SOUNDS LIKE: Dance music, only the parts outside the "thump, thump, thump" are actually worth hearing.
(try as I might, I couldn't find a video for this one, so here's a link to Note!'s 8bitcollective page)
NOISEWAVES: A two-piece ensemble out of Michigan, these guys love to keep it slow and atmospheric.
SOUNDS LIKE: If Brian Eno were a video game composer.
WIZWARS: A staple of the west coast chipmusic scene, Wizwars is one of the more prolific lo-fi artists, with 12 solo releases, 3 split albums. Loves to experiment with various genres and styles in chipmusic form.
SOUNDS LIKE: If Action 52 had an awesome soundtrack.
INVERSE PHASE: AKA Brendan "Mr. MAGFest" Becker, Inverse Phase is dedicated to making 8-bit de-makes of pop music, with covers including Cee-Lo's "F*** You", U2's "New Year's Day", and Real Life's "Send Me An Angel".
SOUNDS LIKE: That song you're sure you heard before, NES-style.
ENSO & NO CARRIER: Visualists extraordinare, these two gentlemen will be painting the walls with elaborate, pixelated visions throughout the chiptune show.
LOOKS LIKE: Your NES game collection on an acid trip.
"Late one night during a radioactive electrical storm in the skull-shaped lab of an evil scientist, an archive of old video games and music production software got mixed in with source code for antagonist robots. The accident overloaded countless robots, but one survived. This robot was different. His existence would not be bound to 8-bits. For he had a new weapon. It was more powerful than fire, stronger than wood, and more dangerous than snakes. It was music, and he took it to the streets."
~DJ Cutman's official backstory
SOUNDS LIKE: If your local dance club was more awesome.
Staring down DJ Cutman at the Videogame DJ Showdown late Thursday night is JamSpace devotee DJ Awesome, making his first official appearence at MAGFest, bringing a love of music and a jacked-up Atari 7800 into the DJ arena.
(no video to be found here, either. hopefully, we're all in for a surprise.)
A_RIVAL: (appearing during Saturday concerts)
The 8-bit Pimp himself, A_Rival mixes old-school hip-hop with old-school game sounds to become the freshest, illest white boy you've ever seen.
SOUNDS LIKE: Dr. Dre meets Dr. Mario.
Let's face it: there's going to be a metric crap-load of stuff going on at MAGFest 9 this year- and it can be tough to decide what's worth checking out. So, for the benefit of the Destructoid community (and my own audience, whom I've linked to these articles), allow me to give a little insight as to who's showing up and what's happening at this year's Music and Gaming Fesitval.
THE BANDS: MAGFest will feature 12 of the best musical acts in the video-game cover scene over three days of concerts! Here's a little more info about each one.
THURSDAY'S BANDS: (concerts start at 9:00 PM)
BIT BRIGADE: This Athens, GA band puts on a very special act: Master speedgamer Noah McCarthy takes on a classic NES game, and these guys play the musical accompaniment in real-time! They've done stints as "Megaband", "Contraband", and "Ninjaband"- who knows what they're going to perform at MAGFest?
RARE CANDY: An offshoot of Entertainment System (see Friday's bands), this band features none other than MAGFest concert head Dominic Cerquetti on lead keyboard. While similar to their mother band, Rare Candy is much more electronically driven and tends to make more daring musical choices in their arrangements.
LISTEN FOR: Their surf-rock rendition of the Final Fantasy 4 boss theme.
THE X HUNTERS: Brentalfloss once said it better than me: this band will bubble your crab, spark your mandrill, and boomer your kuwanger. It's all Mega Man X, all the time for these Philadelphia, PA rockers.
LISTEN FOR: How many different stage themes they can play in one medley.
FRIDAY'S BANDS: (concerts begin at 6:00 PM)
BRENTALFLOSS: (appearing in the JamSpace at 2:30 PM) New York's clown prince of video games, Brentalfloss' satirical "With Lyrics" videos have made him a Youtube sensation. He's done guest spots with Mega Ran, Video Games Live, the Megas, and many others- and was also the emcee at last year's Bit Gen.
LISTEN FOR: His newer stuff, including Zelda 2 and Halloween Kirby.
ENTERTAINMENT SYSTEM: Perhaps the best pure VGM band playing today. Entertainment System are also the chief organizers of the Bit Gen Gamer Fest, a summer concert in their hometown of Baltimore, MD, where many MAGFest bands also play. Their newest album, the Mario/Zelda tribute Rock n' Roll Cereal, is due for release in the next few weeks.
LISTEN FOR: Plenty of cuts from the new album- Mario and Zelda galore!
THE ONEUPS: This funk/jazz/fusion quintet out of Fayetteville, AR classes up whatever joint it's in. Headed by OverClocked Remixer and Bad Dudes frontman Mustin, Their complicated, inventive arrangements all seem to scream to doubters, "this is so music, you unimaginative jerks!" Their latest release, Super Mario Kart Album, is available now.
LISTEN FOR: All of it. Everything the Oneups play goes down smooth.
ARM CANNON: Overclocked Remixer and Bad Dudes member Danimal Cannon leads this Buffalo, NY group, which plays metal video game covers with splashes of jazz, reggae, and electronica. Their mascot, Pizzor, is a beast on the drum kit.
LISTEN FOR: Their Mega Man 3 medley, as well as the wrestling theme mashup "I'm A Real Sexy American Boy".
THE PROTOMEN: A ten-piece rock ensemble from Murfreesboro, TN that has written two concept albums based loosely on the Mega Man mythos. They'll be playing the entirety of their self-titled debut album on Friday, an electrified rock opera about robots, revenge, and oppression.
LISTEN FOR: "The Will Of One". Be sure to chant along. "We! Have! Con! Trol! We! Keep! You! Safe! We! Are! Your! Hope!"
THE MINIBOSSES: One of the original video game music bands, the Minibosses have been relatively dormant the release of their 2005 album, Brass. They played the first four MAGFests, but this is their first time back since 2006. They're considered a chief influence by many of the other bands performing this year.
LISTEN FOR: Ninja Gaiden, for starters. Other than that, they're sure to have some new tricks after this long of a layoff.
METROID METAL: This VGM supergroup includes Kirby of Temp Sound Solutions and Danimal Cannon of Armcannon. They met up several MAGFests ago, and after a mind-blowing JamSpace session, they went into business together as the ultimate Metroid tribute band.
LISTEN FOR: Brinstar, Tallon Overworld, Norfair... if you love Metroid, this is a can't-miss.
SATURDAY'S BANDS (concerts begin at 6:00 PM)
THE MEGAS: A rock band out of Los Angeles, CA that specializes in rearranging music from the Mega Man games and adding lyrics and story. Their first album, the Mega Man 2 chronicle Get Equipped, gave them their notoreity, they've continually teased that the follow-up Mega Man 3 album will be out at MAGFest.
LISTEN FOR: At the very least, "You've Sparked A War", the Spark Man theme, released as a single last summer.
POWERGLOVE: Currently the most successful VGM band, this spiked-shoulderpad crew mixes game tunes with melodic death metal. They've toured heavily with other metal acts such as HammerFall, Sonata Arctica, Mutiny Within, and DragonForce. They recently signed a deal with E1 Records, the largest independent record label in the U.S., joining a lineup that includes the likes of Black Label Society, the Wu-Tang Clan, and Stabbing Westward. Their first release with that label, Saturday Morning Apocalypse, is available now.
LISTEN FOR: "Mario Minor" and "Power, Wisdom, Courage".
THIS PLACE IS HAUNTED: This crew from New York, NY flirted with breaking up over the past year, but simply fired their drummer instead. Now they're back in business, ready to bring their intense, bass-driven game medleys to MAGFest 9. Outside of their video game albums, their 2006 rock release Ghosts In The Graveyard comes highly recommended.
LISTEN FOR: Their epic medleys, including Double Dragon and Sonic the Hedgehog.
YEAR 200X: This group of indie metal vets from Lansing, MI have been steadily growing since 2006. They're currently working on the follow-up to their 2008 debut album, We Are Error.
LISTEN FOR: Their soaring rendition of "The Moon" from Ducktales.
THE PROTOMEN: The Protomen return on Saturday to play the entirety of their second album, Act II: The Father Of Death, which sounds like what would happen if Dennis DeYoung recruited "Born To Run"-era Bruce Springsteen and the Electric Light Orchestra to help him make Kilroy Was Here.
LISTEN FOR: "Breaking Out", which wears its classic-rock influences proudly on its sleeve.
TOMORROW: Chiptune artists!
WEDNESDAY: The rest of the stuff!
"We can't tell our kids to do well in school and then fail to support them when they get home," Obama said. "You can't just contract out parenting. For our kids to excel, we have to accept our responsibility to help them learn. That means putting away the Xbox. Putting our kids to bed at a reasonable hour. It means attending those parent-teacher conferences and reading to our children and helping them with their homework." ~President Brack Obama, at a July 2009 NAACP speech.
“Children are playing a game that encourages them to have sex with prostitutes and then murder them... This is a silent epidemic of media desensitisation that teaches kids it’s okay to diss people because they are a woman, they’re a different colour or they’re from a different place.” ~Hillary Clinton, 2005, at a childcare symposium speech.
I'm sorry, Kauz. I can't fight with you on this one.
The television industry is firmly entrenched in American culture, as is the movie industry. Nothing short of massive social upheaval will ever loose these two juggernauts of modern entertainment from their thrones, no protest, no comittee, no act of congress could ever be potent enough to shut down the cameras for good. They're completely immune to the effects of criticism, from themselves or from anyone else. Neither the Chomskys nor the Bozells of the world have any real power to go after these titans of world media. Americans of all stripes and affiliations would dress themselves in copies of the First Amendment and take to the streets at even the mere hint of a crackdown.
But video games? There's an entirely different story.
In 1985, when the modern American gaming industry was born, the people who run our government and our media today had already left their childhoods far behind. When tasked to recall the phrase "video games", they're most likely to come up with some vague recollections of Pac-Man or Space Invaders, and will rarely fail to mention it in some dismissive, patronizing tone. You know, for kids. If they played video games at any point in their lives, they certianly don't indulge in such a pointless waste of time anymore, no sir. They're too busy doing important stuff to bother with them Worlds of Warcraft or Super Mario Men.
And that's the best we can hope for. They were happy to simply ignore us when we were kids. We're just playing with toys, after all, we'll grow up and watch sitcoms all night like responsible Americans. But, we didn't stop playing. We grew up, and our games grew up with us. When the blood hit the screen, their jaws hit the pavement. We're their babies! These are toys! How could they be so violent and corrupt?! These game companies are clearly trying to destroy our children! We've got to save them!!
That's been the rallying cry ever since. We all know what they think of us and the games we play. The fictional portrayals of gamers as overweight, pastrami-stained, pasty-faced shut-ins too busy arguing with their loser friends over their Faceyspaces to get out of the house and find a girlfriend. The endless stream of news stories about that Grand Theft Auto game in which you can run over hookers and cops without any Real Life Consequences, and pedophiles using Pictochat and Xbox Live to lure YOUR CHILDREN into a real-life game of Dig Dug. The unyielding exhortations of demagogues, congressmen, and the freaking president himself about how simply putting down the Xbox or the Ipod will magically transport you to a world where people are nice to each other, God loves everyone, and there aren't five job seekers for every one position created.
At best, the generation that runs the world misunderstands gamers. At worst, they hate us.
In 20 years, should nothing change, our generation will start to take control, and the concept of video gaming will be secured in the American landspace every bit as much as TV and movies. At that point, we can begin to take the swords to the industry. We can make all the criticisms we need, cut out all the dead wood, and demand a higher standard from the purveyors of the medium.
But not yet, dammit. We're too vulnerable. We're already besieged by our media and our governments. We can't give them the rope to hang us with. They'll most assuredly use it, so that we've got nothing better to do than watch Two And A Half Men every night and see Vampires Suck on the weekends. They're suffering too, and they'll sooner smash every controller on the planet than take even one look at their own issues.
So, we must endure. We must suffer gladly the things about this industry that piss us off, the Gamestops and the red rings and the wave upon wave of pandering. We have to. The gaming industry now presents a direct threat to old media, frightened parents, and the politicians thatcater to both. Any blade we stick ourselves with will be thoroughly salted and run straight through by these people without a moment's hesitation, in the hopes that somehow, we'll all wake up from our lives of visual junk food and watch some good, old, wholesome Desperate Housewives.
We have to be positive, even to the point of cloying. We have to defend our industry whenever we can, no matter how much it hurts. Now is the worst possible time for an overhaul of gaming morality. We even try it now, and everything we've loved and grown up with will end up crushed and rotting in a desert landfill.
Your points, Mr. Kauz, are all valid and worthy of greater investigation by everyone involved in the gaming business- players, critics, and developers alike. But, not yet. Not when a chink in our armor, any wavering in our insistence that video gaming is how we wish to spend our free time as responsible adults, can cause the whole thing to cave in.
The wolves are at the door. Now's no time to renovate.