Started gaming in kindergarten, when the most advanced piece of hardware I could get my hands on was a black plastic handle and an orange button attached to a brick. I used it to blow up little squares on a black and white television screen. A couple years later, I was molested by the girl next door after beating her copy of The Legend of Zelda. I have mixed feelings about the experience.
Unfortunately, over the years, my ability to maintain a passion for games has waned (as in being able to play through them start-to-finish). This is due to various reasons and issues that would be too emo to get into at this juncture. But suffice to say, though my passion has waned, my interest in them has not, as evidenced by my being here.
Nihil (or Nils) is the pseudonym I currently use for writing and gaming on the internet. I came across the Destructoid website by searching for information on Way of the Samurai 3. Tubatic pretty much has the most comprehensive coverage on it I've seen anywhere. And for that, and the other thing, I thank him.
Thanks again for the high response on my MM, guys. I literally spent Tuesday all day and night tinkering with it when I probably should've been attending other responsibilities, like eating babies and pushing old people down stairs. But what can I say? Y'all are worth it.
What I wanted to bring up in it, but didn't really have the time to do, were soundtracks of my youth that got me started on loving this type of music. I already mentioned Bucky, but that's only one out of a million that deserve the spotlight. There are a few other choice OSTs from various generations and consoles that I wanted to share. I apologize if your computer can't take the video dump.
First up, before I forget about it again, is Red Alarm:
Of all systems, the Virtual Boy is one that, even back then, I never imagined having music that would move me and make me never forget the times I had with the game it was attached to. That song above is the main theme song for the game Red Alarm, a zero-gravity flight simulator that takes place in cyberspace. The song opens it up with a slow but steady cinematic of your virtual-jet-plane-thing getting ready to take off into dark territory. As it blasts off, so does the music. I fucking love this song because it presents the game and its classic bare-bones plot in the way that music can illustrate a narrative in your mind that doesn't even require you to know exactly what's going on. You just feel it.
You soon realize, with the help of the upbeat tempo and somber tone of the music, that you're embarking on a high-octane mission that you are most likely not going to return home from. But because there is so much at stake, that doesn't matter. Your life is forfeit in the grand scheme of things, because you are a soldier, a hero. All that matters is that you complete the mission - insurmountable opposition be damned.
Another rare gem that I probably spent hours listening to on repeat is the theme for X-Men on the Sega Game Gear.
This had the same effect on me as Red Alarm's tracks, but in a different way. With the added narrative of the X-Men's backstory, it gives a different perspective on the task at hand. There's more emotion involved. It's a more personal story because of the individual struggles and tribulations of the X-Men members. That human element; of loss, anger, regret, and hope. It's sad and oppressive, but that comes with the territory of being a mutant, on the frontlines of a war for peace.
I got in late to the original Mega Man series, because I started out with the X-series on SNES and thought, "Why bother going back if this part of the game series is awesome as is?" I didn't want to downgrade my experience playing these games, just so I can be hip and say that I've played every single one. I got what I needed out of X through its challenging gameplay, thrilling set pieces, and inspiring sci-fi/action tunes. Especially from the intro stages that set the tone, every single time. Kind of like X-Men, there's this human element feeling of struggle, like the weight of the world is on your shoulders. This is somewhat alleviated though - through the popping tempo set to the onscreen action - letting you know that it's alright to enjoy yourself as you blaze through explosive robo-enemies like the fucking badass that you are!
Sometimes music doesn't need a narrative to get me pumped up. It just needs to be cool. Energetic and fun. The kind of music you watch Jet Li lay the Wire-Fu beat-down to.
You hear that? That's the sound of me envisioning every way I can break every bone in your body, without being charged for murder. Fighting game music has a way of doing that. If you're a fan of martial arts movies, you don't even need me to tell you what kind of state your mind and body goes into when you watch a fight scene and you're like, "Pffff, I could do that." and proceed to jump off the arm of your couch or some such nonsense.
Interestingly enough, one of my favorite soundtracks of ALL FUCKING TIME is SoulCalibur 3's. What's interesting is that it doesn't sound like your typical fighting game soundtrack. But then again, if you're a fan of the series, you know that SoulCalibur isn't your typical fighting game!
It has the quality of a big budget action/adventure movie or anime. This song, the theme for Yoshimitsu, is hands-down my favorite out of a ridiculously beautiful, unabashedly emotional, and utterly epic soundtrack. I swear, the entire album is flawless. Here are some other choice epic tracks:
Going back to music with a narrative; I want to mention a couple RPG battle tunes that hit me pretty hard the very first time I heard them --
KH - Night of Fate
Coming from a game filled with Disney cartoon cameos in it, I didn't expect - like, at all - something like this; especially in the beginning phase of the game. Hectic strings. A fast-paced, dire piano motif. A rhythmic metal clanking throughout. You're thrown head-first into a conflict that probably isn't your own, but it just became personal. Maybe someone is chasing you; maybe you're the one chasing after a kidnapped significant other. But one thing is certain: you need to stay on your toes if you want to survive the night...
The situation doesn't always have to be dire to get your "Oh shit!" juices going, though. You may get hurt in battle, but it can be a fun, exhilarating experience as well. A perfect example of this is Breath of Fire III's battle theme.
Some rockin' electric guitar, jazzy organs and pianos, and a steady but awesome drum tempo keeps things infinitely light and entertaining. It kind of has to be, because you're going to be listening to it for hours, and hours, and hours,and hours...
Come to think of it, I can't think of a single TMNT game soundtrack that didn't do the same thing. Good fucking times, man...
Alright, well you've got better things to do than hear me jabbering on and on about awesome music. But like last time, please feel free to leave a comment or talk about some of your own adrenaline-filled choice tracks, and I'll see ya on the flip. Lates!