I read an article called: Where did the Groove Go? by Jim Sterling. It's about how and why video game soundtracks used to be better. While agree on them being amazing I don't think it's as simple as saying "Old soundtracks were better". I started writing a reaction on Dale North's tweet about the article on Facebook but it turned out to be a little longer than a simple comment. I don't have a sound and clear answer but I do think it could bring forth an interesting discussion.
I think it's way more complex than the writer of the article makes it out to be. Are the older tunes really better or is it nostalgia? I love the old 8-bit tunes but for a large part because it brings me back to the days I was playing those games. Also, it's the way we played games back then. Not a million hours of game-play. Just a handful of levels which you needed to play through again after being game over. Which made it so you heard the same tune a gazillion times. No wonder I still remember the Sonic the Hedgehog soundtrack. I would probably get really annoyed if soundtracks today were handled in the same way as before. "AGAIN THIS @##$!@%**& SONG?!" Which kind of happened with Burnout: Paradise. I've played that game for many many hours and can't stand "Paradise City" by Guns 'n Roses anymore. It is different of course since I already knew that song. But it will remember me of the (amazing) Burnout: Paradise until I die.
As the writer pointed out it isn't all bad nowadays. Unlike him I do remember the Killzone soundtrack very well. Full orchestra, modern but I still think it's amazing. Just like the Metal Gear Solid and Assassin's Creed series (all of them). I know every single song. What about Shatter? That was some gorgeous soundtrack. It made the game and really sticks. Halo has an amazing soundtrack. Everybody here will instantly hear the Gregorian choir in the mind. There are many many more recent soundtracks we can come up with. Although I don't know what the deal is with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare[i/] because, just like the author of the article, I don't remember anything of it. But I do know the [i]Call of Duty: World at War soundtrack by heart. Might have to do with the fact I beat that on Veteran which was a nightmare. Many hours of replay. So yeah, that could be it.
Overall I think soundtracks nowadays are more mood pieces than actual songs. And when they are we remember them more easily. Everybody knows Portal's "Still Alive" and can sing along or at least hum along. It's an easy, simple and catchy tune and we heard it a million times. Which is the same with older soundtracks. Which evidently proves the whole point.
So okay, let's change those "mood pieces" to some quirky 8-bit tunes and it would destroy the game. I'm guessing here because it will never happen. Maybe it's actually a good thing you don't remember the soundtrack. How often do you find yourself shopping in a grocery store without noticing the music playing? There is some solid science behind that. Maybe nowadays it's more like Elevator Music? In that case the author of the article is right. We won't remember it. But is that always a bad thing? If the music blends in with the game it at least fits.
It also has to do with our brains of course. Just a few beeps and bops to remember. That's quite a bit easier than a whole orchestra. Add the fact you heard them over and over again and it's no surprise you will remember them till the day you die. It's the same with shitty pop music. Simple, easy and usually stuck in your head whether you want it or not. But you do remember them. But wait a second, does it really have to do with it being a full orchestra? I'm pretty sure every body and their mom can hum a few classical orchestrated pieces written by Beethoven, Mozart and the like.
What about the amount of games and music in general? I didn't have as many games as I own now. Just the few games I bought after saving for months. So when I played Super Mario as a kiddo all I listened to was that. For a hell of a long time. Over and over again. Today we take our music with us and listen to many different songs throughout the day. Put a single modern soundtrack on your iPod and I will guarantee you will be able to remember them.
What would happen if I let a 10 year old boy listen to the Sonic soundtrack without ever having heard it before? The kid might think it sucks. To be really sure the soundtracks from this day and age are forgetful and rubbish we should ask this generation again in 10 years.
In conclusion, I think older soundtrack were awesome but not necessarily better. We played games and therefore listened to the soundtracks in a different way. There are always exceptions to every rule which isn't different with video game soundtracks. Some of them really stand out, no matter if you hear them more often or if they're easy to remember. Nobuo Uematsu for instance really is that much of an amazing composer.
I got a bit over excited and posted too many pics. Maybe not too many but certainly too big. By doing that I almost raped the forums so I've decided to post the pics in this blog. Now if you haven't already, please check this epic forum post.
Warning: A lot of pics of great memories.
Great moments in pics chosen at random from my Photobucket:
This pic of me made by Haxan:
Me and Pew making fun of Germans:
Revealing Dale's true identity:
Re-creating Jimbo's bathroom in LBP:
Making fun of Pikeman:
The adventures of Chad:
Making the Destructoid.com LittleBigPlanet level. It still blows my mind thinking about it:
Jimbo's Seal of approval:
James Ewing (aka Ha-Puken) wanting to send me a bottle of tequila but sending me his US PS2 with Front Mission 3 and 4 cd's full of epic music instead:
TheGHost making me (and a million other Dtoiders) a card:
Best game ever:
Sadistic and Sadie:
Raping fail-blogs with Sadistic:
My PS3 kicking the bucket (originally a video with sounds and all but I'll post this pic to make it easier):
Dan Clancy sending me his Killzone 2 T-shirt (the one on the left):
Wanderingpixel making me a motivational poster:
So there you have it. I could've added more but this is a bit too much already. All these things are making me wear my Dtoid T-shirts with pride!
I love you all.
EXTRA SPECIAL PIC:
[EDIT: Here are my other memories I shared in the forums as well, just to make it complete]
Great moments in words:
Finding out that Hamza changed my name into "Mr. Sadistic's Sex Slave". It only lasted 2 days. He changed it back because it got scary.
Endless chat sessions on PS3 video chat with Jimbo, James, Shipero, Pikeman, Moosehole, Haxan and several others. Basically having our own private Destructoid PS3 vodcast with ever recording it.
Writing themed FNF blogs.
Meeting James Ewing (Ha-Puken) in person. Which is possibly the best thing ever.
The frontpage article that got raped with SFW porn pics. (Randombullseye already mentioned it)
The generosity from several Dtoiders. Moosehole, James, Shipero, Jimbo and Dan Clancy in particular.
Trophy whoring with Moosehole.
Singing along with 90's Euro dance hits for hours and hours with Shipero.
Daily video chats with Shipero.
Meeting awesome people online in general.
The Killzone 2 Destructoid Clan and playing that game All Night Long while singing "All night long".
Yes, I've got good news. People with borked PS3's are succesfully being able to sign in again. We're checking things out right now. But it seems that the problems are over. I'm actually in a video chat with Shipero right now. But do mind, some people still can't sign in.
It's cold outside. Rain and snow hammering the streets. Wind blowing from every direction, determent to knock you off your feet. The way home from work is miserable. The sound of your wind screen wipers on your car is hypnotizing. "Flick flack flick flack." You've already closed your eyes multiple times behind the wheel, nearly dozing off. Then finally you can see your house in the distance. You collect all your strength to stay awake and make it to the save haven you call home.
You take off your cold wet clothes and change into something warm and comfortable. After making yourself some hot chocolate you settle yourself in your favorite, supposedly leopard print, chair. Closing your eyes for a second. Upon opening your eyes again you see it. Shiny or matte, fat or slim, it doesn't matter how it looks. It is your one and only Playstation 3. Suddenly you don't feel so exhausted anymore. The sound of the rain and wind outside fades away into nothingness. You take one last big sip of your hot chocolate, wipe off your brown and creamy milkstache and get ready for...
FRIDAY NIGHT FIGHTS
Wow, that's a lot of Hot Chocolate. Now, let's see what we're going to play tonight. I'll guarantee you that it was worth getting home for. Makes you forget all the bad shit happening outside. Embrace the warmth of the PSN.
8PM EST: Marvel vs. Capcom 2 Host: Santanaclaus89 (PSN: Moosehole)
Serv-bot. That's all you need hear in order to get excited for this game. Pick that little yellow cute looking fellow and punch people with plates and table cloth. And potato's even? I don't know but he sure is awesome.
9PM EST: Tekken 6 Host: JackofNoTrades(PSN: JackofNoTrades85)
Join Jack and pick Jack. That robot, not the real Jack you dummy. Show him and other what you're made off. Or get punched to pulp by some bear or any other animal. It's all good. And a lot of fun too!
9PM EST: Uncharted 2 Host: FalconReaper (PSN: FalconReaper). Possible other Backup Host: Takeshi (PSN:JohanHin)
This game has even more rewarding fight mechanics than the fighting games. *Punch in the dick!* What a gorgeous game. Every PS3 owner should own this game. So if you do join us
10PM EST: Modern Warfare 2 Host: Santanaclaus89 (PSN: Moosehole)
Got banned on the 360? No worries, you can join us any time. Don't overdo it or face FNF's own cute little banhammer. So cute it hurts.
Takeshi. Smashing things since 1981
Well that's it for this weeks festivities. Punch and shoot your way through endless hordes of Dtoiders.
I can never treat Friday the 13th in the same light hearted way as before.
You might have noticed by reading the FNF post, Friday was a bad day for me. It was only just the 13th when it happened, as if it was waiting for it that sarcastic bastard. I was just playing a video game when I heard 3 short beeps. It was my black shiny beast. It was sending out Morse codes in a desperate manner trying to get rescued. It never got further than the "S". I couldn't just say "Oh well it's dead. Let's buy a new one.". No sir. That's why I made this short reconstruction of how it happened and how I tried to rescue it.