I try not to remember my elementary school years when I can. Vivid memories of being that awkward little girl on the playground just kinda trying to hold my own against the other children around me, each with their own desires to be popular and underdeveloped ways of achieving that goal. It very much felt like a little slice of the wild Serengeti; there was always a wounded zebra for the lions to take down and devour. And interestingly enough, there's a game out there that unintentionally recreates that same atmosphere: Minecraft. Single player Minecraft can be a very rewarding experience when you get into it. You can create massive structures, works of block art, or a giant penis made completely out of TNT. Unfortunately, only YOU would be able to enjoy your incredible mansion and your tower of testes. This is where the servers come in. Imagine what you and complete strangers could build together! Imagine the looks on their pixel faces when you show them the biggest, blockiest "pair" they've ever laid eyes on...
...and then imagine it being gone two seconds later. Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Griefcraft. This may be coming a bit late, but for those of you looking to get into the Multiplayer Minecraft world, let me introduce you to the hole you're digging yourself into.
While a lot of good servers are set up with safe zones and other rules to inhibit this kind of behavior, there are some players out there that get a twisted thrill out of staking out the world's spawn point. Usually in groups, usually decked out in complete diamond armor and weaponry, packs of players that can be more accurately described as wolves will descend upon players the minute they step out of the "Safe Zone" forcing the newcomer to either remain in spawn, continue to die, or just rage quit. More and more lately I've been seeing people really fighting against this kind of behavior, but it still does exist.
#2-"Pay" to Play
Keeping in mind that every server is probably being payed for out of one or two persons pockets, it is to be expected that with public, join-able servers, there will be a coin pot available for people to donate to in order to keep their world up and running. Usually, these donation perks are extra commands normally not available to players (teleporting, enchantment shops, flying) or sometimes you can use real money to buy precious materials like diamonds. But there are a lot of server's out there that require you to sign up on their site and sometimes even make a monthly donation to play on their server as an actual player with a name and not a Guest.
I have found myself in a situation before where I could not find a passive mob on the map that would provide sustenance if I was the last player on earth. I'm not sure I've ever felt the need to express that in chat. Granted, if people want to be charitable or ask for a bit of help every now and then, I see no problem in that. Hell, if we're all going to be living on the same World, it makes no sense to completely ignore our countryman's needs. But every world seems to have it's native hobo player - the one that can't build a house on his own, can't find food, can't mine material, and wanders the world in search of handouts. One time, sure, have a cooked fish. Twice....okay, but there's like a herd of cattle just over that hill there. Three times, you know what? here's a fishing rod - do you need me to teach you how to use it?
For whatever reason, on any given server there's going to be that one player that just cannot find the common decency within his or herself to just let the other players be. Said player will usually spend most of their time on the server getting into profane arguments with other players involving land and resources or sometimes just picking fights for the sake of fights. A lot of the time they will butt into conversations that don't even involve them just to see their name pop up on that chat window. Pretty much every server I've encountered has at least one of these players, the key is finding the server with the least obnoxious ones, or at least one with an Admin that will do something about it.
One of my most irritating experiences that I think I've had on a public server to date involved a very weird arrangement that I begrudgingly gave into with another player. I'd built a house fairly close to the spawn point, hoping to easily locate it again if I died. A new player came on, commented on how nice my home looked, and wanted to know if he could live there too. Knowing that I'd never hear the end of it if I declined, I rolled out the welcome mat. Upon returning the next day, a comrade of that other player spent probably the better half of ten to fifteen minutes trying to kill me and yell at me claiming that I was trespassing on the other player's home. There are going to be players that come along that don't want to put forth the initial effort of homesteading. If you build a structure close enough to spawn to be seen by the majority, just know that there will be at least a few eager-beavers looking to claim that castle, by diplomacy or force.....which leads me to my next and probably the most common issue with public servers....
Even with the introduction of the Faction play, general griefing is still a pretty common occurrence in any public server. There's an underlining fear that in the time spanning between you logging off and logging back in later, everything you have built and recovered from the world could be destroyed. Griefing takes many forms. Sometimes players will set fires to neighboring structures or foliage to allow your structures or even your crops to ignite. I've seen elaborate TNT trails topple enormous structures in a devastating domino effect. Griefers derive pleasure from destroying and pranking to create an illusion of omnipotence and just for the fun of it. "It took you two weeks to build that mansion and I just destroyed it in two seconds....you mad bro?". But their jests can also include force-suffocating characters by dropping sand/gravel blocks on unexpecting players, encasing them in near-to and unbreakable blocks such as obsidian or bedrock, or even something as obnoxious as filling a character's inventory with useless stock such as rotten meat or dirt by dropping it on them. Griefing is just....causing grief. Some servers say they will ban griefers, and some of the more active administrators actually do. But a lot of public servers just accept it as a thing that will happen and warn players that no punitive action will be taken just to close the flood gates of complaints. You will encounter it. Period. End of story.
If and when you do find the Cinderella Server to your glass shoe, it's wonderful. When you get a group of people that are in it for the love of the game and can effectively enjoy everything public play has to offer, it's awesome. You can make new friends, get ideas for builds, and just have fun. But....there will always be the possibility of any one of these players showing up at any time. After all....it is Griefcraft.
Holy god. I just made the most important thing in Animal Crossing: New Leaf ever guys: a Mr. Dtoid shirt.
Heehee. Sorry, not a particularly in depth Community Blog for those late night readrers, but if you don't buy this game for any other reason, I highly recommend it for those who think, "You know, I wish I could draw this on a grid and then wear it."
Alright. So This is my first request MWHA! And I most definitely have to thank Addison for the great request. This game had flown under my radar, but the music is really REALLY good, and I am very happy to share it with all of you!
Back in the good ol' days of NES development, Capcom released a game for the Nintendo Entertainment System by the title of Little Nemo: The Dream Master. This game was based off of a Japanese adaptation of a 1905 comic strip called Little Nemo. The game Little Nemo: The Dream Master, follows the story of Nemo, a little boy who is summoned to Slumberland to become young Princess Camile's playmate. Despite his reservations with playing with "a girl," Nemo is eventually convinced to fly off on a magical dirigible at the prospect of getting candy. From there, a vast and actually quite difficult adventure begins with little Nemo traversing the many levels in search for keys to progress. Each level is filled with various enemies and animals with different attributes and skills that Nemo can utilize by feeding them candy.
Nemo is a master of leap frog.
Composer Junko Tamiya (credited as: Gonzou) is the mastermind behind these melodies. This game came quite a bit later in Tamiya's career than Bionic Commando, which appears to be the game she's best known for. But there's definitely a reason why Capcom is quoted saying she "was very talented." And even though it's short, sweet, and to the point, I would have to characterize the Title Theme, as part of this talent.
The great thing about game music from this time period was that while the cartridges and such could not handle massive orchestrations for each game, the music was very intricate and special in it's own way. To this day, chip-tune style music is widely sought out because of the distinct sound. And Little Nemo delivers these sounds perfectly. I know that I've said this before, and it still remains true that Title screen and file select screen songs act as portals into the music world the player is about to be swept away in. This is perfectly illustrated by Tamiya's work in Little Nemo. The melody is playful and wonderfully embellished with some cleverly laid out harmonies and chord progressions. Just loop it! Over and Over again! Don't tell me that didn't put a smile on your face and make you want to climb inside a big lizard and crawl up trees!
Now I did find a couple remixes of the title music here on the web but I wasn't particularly impressed with either one myself. I will go ahead and list the one of them that I still thought was cool in a sense that it was pretty well laid out for guitar; just having some minor rhythm issues:
Thank you again Addison for bringing this game and it's amazing soundtrack to my attention. I think it's safe to say that I will probably be doing many more blogs about this game and Tamiya's other works. She did an excellent job capturing a childlike adventure and wonderment in this 8-bit dream.
As an aspiring composer, I can tell you with true passion that the "Three Decades of Music" panel at PAX Prime 13 was an inspirational hit and quite possibly one of the highest energy panels PAX had to offer at Seattle this past week. Featuring C418 (best known for Minecraft), Danny Baranowsky (best known for Super Meat Boy), Jimmy Hinson (best known for Mass Effect 2), and the "living legend" Grant Kirkhope (best known for Banjo Kazooie/Tooie), fans from all over were treated to the experience of hearing opinions and stories from a harmonious collection of indie as well as AAA title composers.
The mood was almost instantaneously set as the panel began; Hinson began humming a note, and before long Kirkhope, Baranowsky, and C418 joined in, creating a beautiful chord that began to change shape over the course of about ten seconds before slowly dying out. But in those few seconds, the audience and panelists became tied together by the silky yet forever mailable and indestructible thread that is music. Beyond nuggets of information handed out about breaking into the industry and the evolution that has taken place in game music, the overall atmosphere of the panel was very playful. From time to time, panelists would lovingly jab one another over different aspects of their careers or musical aesthetics. But the core of the discussion was much more than a friendly roast of C418's relatively young age and Hinson's success with the sometimes trod-on series, Call of Duty.
The information passed on to the FULL HOUSE was very heartfelt and meaningful. Kirkhope and crew touched on important subjects such as the in-determined importance of documented musical training as well as what life can be like composing music for a your bread money.
This was taken a few minutes after they capped the line; maybe about 30-40 minutes before the panel started
As a member of the composer (well aspiring composer) community, it was immensely inspiring to see the flocking of game music enthusiasts to this one panel among the masses. It's a reminder that music is becoming more and more and actively recognized part of what makes games great. And It's a reminder that there are others out there like me (and probably you) that have either a deep desire to get into writing music for the many game titles just waiting to be created, as well as those who just love the accompanying sounds and songs that are crafted to embellish the mood of a journey or classic gaming moment. It's not just some weird hobby that someone may have developed over the many years of playing games. IT'S A THING.
All of the panelists touched on their musical influences and favorite soundtracks; another grand insight into the minds behind the melodies. The panel felt tragically short, and the audience could have easily been captivated for many more hours by the collective charm that these four had to offer. If I had to share one gleaming moment of this panel with those who couldn't be there, I would share a funny, yet very real moment brought on by Mr. Kirkhope. In response to the in-determined necessity for documented musical training he replied resolute, "If you can hear it, you can write it"; a very simple yet eloquent idea that artists sometimes forget. This was later jokingly quoted by Baranowsky as having been the "most inspirational thing he'd ever heard you [Kirkhope] say". But it still rang clear and true a thought, reverberating within the hearts of the audience.
My opinion is probably a bit biased, being a person who has a deep and strong rooted love for not only Grant Kirkhope's many compositions, but also C418's "mine-bliss" he created for Minecraft as well as the work he did with FZ: Side F. But this panel in particular was one of the most rewarding experiences of PAX13. And if they do another next year with any composers from the industry, I would say simply this: DON'T MISS OUT! PUT THIS ON TOP OF YOUR PAX PLAYLIST! I've said before,and I'll say it again. Music is a language we all speak fluently, and what better a way to come together at PAX than through something as alive and binding as music?
Begin Transmission: Remember not too long ago when I tapped you on the shoulder and shoved earphones in your ears, mumbling something that sounded like sweet nothings about game called Snowboard Kids?
*Shoves earphones in your ears*
So! Taking you back into the world of creative and more artistic racing, our good friends Atlus and Racdym decided that one take on the Snowboard Kids series was not enough to satisfy the cravings of their fan base. In early 1999, another cartridge bearing the likeness of our favorite kid snowboarders hit the shelves and did nothing but exceed all of our expectations. It was said that "The game-play of this game is similar to its predecessor's, yet very different." But by no means was that meant to be taken as an insult. All of the characters were redesigned with new outfits to match the course, the game-play was radically redesigned with a full load of new items and different ways to play. Yet it all still had the charm of the original Snowboard Kids that we grew to love.This of course, included the music.; ALL of the songs off the Snowboard Kids 2 soundtrack are just incredible. The one I'm going to refer to you today was a piece that really reached for the stars and took hold: Starlight Highway
This gorgeous piece of ear candy sets the tone for an out-of-this-world racetrack by the name of (can you guess it?) Starlight Highway. The story of this particular competition begins with young newcomer Wendy Lane summoning a flying saucer to come and essentially abduct both her and her friends for an all out battle on the surface of an orbiting space body. Once there, the crew debarks and straps on their gear, ready to glide across space age booster tunnels and rivers made of materials unknown!
Sure! I'll go! Cuz you know, this seems to always go well with the people in the moving pictures.
The song utilizes the same sounds and synths that are characteristic to this series, but the way this particular piece was composed was very clever. It SOUNDS space-agey! And, it is incredibly gorgeous! The melody is just urgent enough to give the player just the right amount of pressure during this twist-and-turn race. It also features an excellent use of fifths throughout (for those who are musically inclined) and dances ever so fantastically up and down the chromatic scale to create a marvel that rivals the stars themselves.
RIVERS! IN! SPACE!
I was able to find some pretty good mixes of this song out there in the forever expanding void of the internet:
I was hoping to find a bit more information on the specific composers of this piece for my readers, and my web-diving did net me a few names. Tomohiko Sato, Isao Kasai & Sayuri Yamamoto were listed as composers for some of the other pieces woven into this game so....maybe them? If someone does know exactly who is responsible for the millions of chills I get during this piece, please do not hesitate to correct me! They should be properly commended for their work in the various songs from this game, because Starlight Highway, among the others, is nothing short of a Masterpiece. End Transmission.
Am I the only one who feels like anytime I mention a GameCube game that I'm talking about an ex-boyfriend/girlfriend that I dated for maybe a week? Well, your relationship with the short-lived GameCube set aside, there were actually some decent titles put out for this system, even though it only put out titles for about seven years. One that may have flown under your radar, was the relatively entertaining and kinda quirky Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy. This game has it's flaws as all games do, including a save-point debacle that causes a door to be permanently sealed and subsequently causing the player to have to restart the entire adventure over. But one thing that I did very much enjoy whilst exploring the various lands of this game was the music and I would be remissed if I failed to mention the delicate yet powerful piece for the land of Heliopolis.
Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy was released in North America late 2003, developed by Eurocom, a company recently fated to bankruptcy, and published by THQ. The storyline follows a demi-god by the name Sphinx and the undead Tutankhamen, mummified by the disguised dark god, Set. The game mischievously bounces between the two lead roles, with Sphinx doing most of the exploring of the various realms, and "The Cursed Mummy" sneaking around the castle of Uruk, solving puzzles to retrieve items to assist Sphinx. One of the areas Sphinx sails to, is Heliopolis.
You better get used to this face because he makes that same terrified look through the entire game.
"Heliopolis was once a great kingdom. Now it's no more than a forsaken desert wasteland." This composition is the background music to the realm where Anubis' temple is built. It provides the perfect ambiance as you explore the shores looking for the various species of monsters and solving the problems befallen the locals. The song is a perfect example of how well done the soundtrack for this game was put together as it utilizes some very eastern-desert sounding instruments to create the ancient-Egyptian sort of mood to dive into. I personally love the marimba/xylophone in the background of the piece giving a very soothing attribute to the main melody.
The composer listed for the soundtrack was Eurocom's "in house" composer Steve Duckworth. Considering how marvelous Heliopolis was for my ears, I was quite surprised to find very little information on Duckworth out in the expanse of the world wide web. But some of the other games you may recognize Steve from include 007 Legends and Cruis'n World.
Now, due to the pretty much COMPLETE lack of reception of this game, I was not even close to surprised to find a grand total of zero remixes of this song. In fact, when I mentioned the game to my friend, he quickly responded with, "Oh yeah, that game. I don't remember anything about it, but I remember that sphinx looking guy." But who knows? Maybe this blog will scroll across someone's browser one day and inspire them to make a remix for this game; a game that would appear to have been lost within the sands of time.