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Super Smash Bros. for 3DS is arriving and I'm really excited guys. Not only for a rad portable version of smash, but also for some sick new arrangements of some of the most iconic game music in the history of the universe!! Now, there are people in the world with copies of the full game, and people with access to the demo, and unfortunately I am in neither of these camps, so my impressions of the pieces is form a context outside of the game, who knows there may be some that work really well in the heat of battle but for now, these are some of the tracks i'd like to share from what I've heard so far!
I would like to take a moment to appreciate some of the crazy good music we get as ORIGINAL COMPOSITIONS for this insane crossover arena brawler that is Smash.
Ever since I heard this arrangement of the main theme in the E3 Trailer in 2013 I've been pining to listen to it in all it's glory and HERE IT IS!! There are so many arrangements o the main theme for this generation of Smash Bros and this is probably my favourite but there are two other arrangements which I would highly reccomend.
I really like these two arrangements as they take the theme in different directions and stylistically are just groovy I really dig them.
But the new theme isn't the only original tune that gets some really rad treatments, there's even one for the Melee fans out there...(and it's insane)
There are some really good arrangements for classic Nintendo tunes in Smash Bros for 3DS. These are just some of the arrangements that jumped out at me and there are so many more that I'd love to talk about but there's no time for that LET'S GO!
1. Megaman 2 Title / Dr Wily Stage 2 - Megaman 2 I mean you just can't pass up a good metal arrangement especially when it's an official one and ESPECIALLY especially if it's Megaman.
2. Stage Select - Pikmin I'm a fan of the pikmin games and their music is really charming in a nonsensical, disconcerting kind of way. This is just a really lovely arrangement of some lovely music.
3. Bath Time (Vocal Mix) - Nintendogs When a short sample of this went up on the website I enjoyed it immediately and I was really confused as to why people weren't talking about it because it's a great arrangement of a really nifty tune.
4 Ground Theme - Super Mario Bros. IT'S A HALF DECENT ARRANGEMENT OF THE ORIGINAL MARIO THEME!! AND IN A SMASH BROS GAME NO LESS!! I'm so glad they did this. I was a bit bummed from Mushroomy Kindom in Brawl, but this just brings it right back to where it belongs.
5 Gerudo Valley - Ocarina Of Time OH MY GOLLY GOSH THIS IS THE ARRANGEMENT EVERYONE HAS BEEN WAITING FOR!!! Ever since I heard the original Gerudo Valley music when I was 8 I have wanted to hear an arrangement just like this and this delivers in spades. We finally have a definitive version of the Gerudo Valley music, guys. We did it. Video Games are over.
Obviously there are so many more pieces and arrangements which I'd love to talk about but I thought I'd try to keep this as short as I possibly could. So tell me, what are some of your favourite pieces from the Smash Bros series!? If you have the game, or the demo, or have listened to more of the new tracks, what are some of your favrouite additions!? I'd love to hear your selections!! HAPPY SMASHING EVERYONE!
In July of 2010, Playdead's game "Limbo" hit the XBox Live Marketplace. It's striking visual style and effective use of storytelling through gameplay was enjoyed my critics and consumers alike. It received various accolades and was recognised by many large publications such as Time, Wired and the Toronto Sun, who all placed the game in their top 10 lists for the year. Martin Stig Andersen was the Composer and Sound Designer for the game. Andersen decided to take a more non-traditional route in terms of sound and music when it came to Limbo. The background tracks the player hears in game aren't the typical sounds you'd expect from a video game, but they suit the game incredibly well. The music of Limbo, however isn't where the audio shines most, the Sound Effects and how they mesh with all other aspects of the game are what make the audio experience of Limbo so captivating.
One of Limbo's most recognisable features is the black and white silhouetted visual style, and Andersen's music simultaneously creates a great reflection and a strong juxtaposition of this. The sounds are vague, with not real beginning or end. They all blend together to create a general harmonic sense rather than a strict harmony or melody. This compliments the visuals as they are only defined from their outlines and otherwise blend together. The background is out of focus, with the player only able to notice the objects there if they purposefully pay attention to them. However, the music is rich with texture and harmony. Although it lacks definition, there is a lot of subtlety and purposeful use of timbre within the sounds. There are layers upon layers and many variations of tone. In this way, the music is the direct opposite of the visuals. Where the graphics are sharp and absolute, the sound is soft and unsure, this juxtaposition seems to give the world more depth and gives the player a feeling that there is much more lurking in what cannot be seen on screen.
The music only makes up one part of the overall auditory experience of Limbo, however, as the sound effects play a very important role in the game. As stated before, the game's visual style doesn't allow for much detail to be given about the game's environment. No texture, no colour, no reflection just silhouette. Although when playing the game, the player has a strong sense of the materials of the objects they're interacting with, along with their weight and various other properties. This is all thanks to the magnificent sound effects implemented throughout the game. Every sound in Limbo helps to paint the world the player is traversing through. This is a great example of the game giving the player information through sound without having to sacrifice the visual style or include impeding narration or dialogue. Not only this, but the sounds that objects produce in the game often play a key role in the puzzles within the game. A sound might signify an object has dropped off screen, or that a magnetic surface has bee turned on or off. All of these instances of sound within the game allow for a fluid, exploratory experience for the player and is just one of the reasons the game feels so cohesive.
Limbo's audio gives the player two types of information pertaining to the game world. Firstly, a very general, vague sense of atmosphere, provided by the background score, and secondly a very specific aural representation of objects within the world, giving it detail and allowing the player to identify sound effects with similar sounds in the real world. One piece of information that Andersen purposefully excluded however, was emotional information. This was an intentional choice from the game's director, Arnt Jensen. Andersen says in an interview with DesigningSound that he wanted to
"to avoid music that would manipulate the emotions of the player". This choice gave the game an entirely new dimension. All emotional interpretation was left solely to the player. There was no score to instruct them how to feel about a particular event, all the information was just presented to them as plainly as possible. This is probably one of the most important artistic choices the team could have made and it certainly turned out for the better, as it reinforced the melancholy nature of the game, and gave the player the agency to interpret things for themselves rather than have the game give them the "correct" emotional response.
Overall, sound plays an incredibly important role in "Limbo". It gives the player all the information about the game world they need, without sacrificing gameplay or visual style. The music both reflects and contradicts the visuals, giving the game world definition and depth. Limbo provides a unique take on music and sound within a video game, giving emotional ambiguity and a strong auditory identity.
What do you think? Did you find Limbo's music to add or detract from your overall experience of the game? What are you expecting for Playdead's next title, "Inside"? I'd love to hear your thoughts!
Also be sure to check out the full interview with DesigningSound it's a great read.