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About
So I play games, watch movies, eat loads of pizza, drink loads of Dr Pepper and comment far too much on this site.

Attending University, hoping to not fail too hard and become a Clinical Psychologist. And in debt. But a Psychologist first.

A Playstation fan (NOT FANBOY!) but I have a soft spot for the Mega Drive.

Chiptune music is my passion, Mega Drive being my favourite.

Kingdom Hearts is the best series ever. I will fight you if you disagree!

Anyway, enough about me. Here's Hitler-senpai.


Current blog series:
-Genesis Retrospective
Player Profile
PSN ID:Gaj76
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Another top 10 list! Cause there just ainít been enough of them amiright?

No but I love top 10 lists. Simple and straight to the point, without all the faffing and essay structuring. So here are my quick top 10 chiptunes. They are in order of awesome, of course.



10. Shovel Knight-Strike the Earth

Iíve not played Shovel Knight yet. I really should though, I think weíd get along so well (GajKnightÖShovel Knight, geddit, yeah, gg, job done) but Iím holding out for the Vita release. I did download the soundtrack the moment it became available though. Jake Kaufman OSTís are day 1 buys for me, no doubt, and Shovel Knight just didnít disappoint even slightly.

I could fill this list just with Kaufman tracks but suffice to say, heís truly a gifted artist and I hope he makes sweet, sweet music directly into my earhole for a long time.

Directly. Into. My. Earhole.

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9. Hotline Miami- Hydrogen

YES I KNOW ITíS NOT A CHIPTUNE! Itís still really, really amazing though. So let us just pretend it is and save ourselves 2.5 minutes of arguing. Also I couldnít think of another joke so thereís that. Humourís hard yo.



8. Sub-Terrania- Funky Writer

Sub-Terraniaís another game Iíve never played. I should really play these games to hear the context of their music. Regardless Funky Writer is a really good track, from a respectably good soundtrack. Itís got a foreboding atmosphere lurking behind all dat funk and bass.

Interestingly, Jesper Kyd composed this soundtrack. He also composed some of the Ass Creed and Hitman soundtracks, as well as Borderlands, State of Decay and Darksiders 2 (totally did not steal this from Wikipedia).

I also thought he developed Lone Survivor but that was Jasper Byrne. Easy mistake I guess. Not really. Iím dumb.


I couldn't find a proper Youtube video (they all sound funny) so here's a direct link to the album on Bandcamp.

7. 1001 Spikes-Abanís Theme (Both versions)

Another game Iíve not played! This is becoming a problem now.
But regardless of whether the game is good or not, the soundtrack is REALLY good. Abanís theme especially is the best track in the album. Misokaís version is classic stuff, great backing beat, lovely synth on top and all wrapped up with really good production.
Then the Key version comes after and dials it upto 11. The backing track is more aggressive, the synth is even synthier(?) than before, itís just so good girl. Love it.



6. Elemental Master- Until the End of the Earth

Iíve talked about this track and this album in my last blog (read it now nerd!) so I wonít go into too much detail. Suffice to say that this track made me go and hunt down the iso so I could play the actual game. Totally worth, it, fantastic game, even better soundtrack.


Extended version cause WHY NOT?

5. The Revenge of Shinobi- China Town

I have a love-hate relationship with Revenge of Shinobi. Iíve never beaten it, ever. It was the first game I ever played and it almost turned me off of games completely due to how BALL-BUSTING hard it is! Iíve recently bought it on PSN and died countless time just trying to get to the second level. Argggh, this game man, this game. Iíd call it cheap and out-dated but Iíd sound like a lame ass baby.

But one thing is clear. The soundtrack kicks ass. And China Town especially. It has that old Japanese feel to it with the oriental sounding tones but the sick bass and poppy sounds lend a modern semblance. Essentially this is the perfect track for an old-school ninja fighting in a modern city. One day I will know that feeling.



4. Altered Beast- RYSE FWOM YOUR GWAEV!

This is another track and album I covered in detail before (go read that too nerds!)
So hereís Altered Jesus.


Why is not a thing?!



3. Outrun- Magical Sound Shower

This is the final song from a game Iíve never played, I promise! But what a song.
I canít even begin to describe how, well, just how nice this song is. It reminds me of long drives in the countryside during sunset, or sitting in the garden reading while simultaneously dodging birdshit and suicidal squirrels. Good times. Itís simple, clean and oh so good.



2. Sonic 1- Green Hill Zone (AKA pure happiness)

This was coming. You knew it, I knew it, everyone knew it. It came.†

Everywhere.

Green Hill Zone is the best track in all of the Sonic soundtracks. And that comes down to one word. Nostalgia. That moment when you put Sonic 1 in and start the game proper. The graphics pop up, in all their sexy, 16 bit glory. Sonic moves like a blue streaked lightning bolt, with perfect momentum. And this track plays. One of the most magical moments in gaming right there.

Realistically, I would say that Chemical Plant Zone is really the best Sonic track overall. But my nostalgia goggles are firmly blinding me. Also Mega Drive Sonic>Mario. Come at me!


LOVE THIS SHIT!!!

1. Streets of Rage 2-The entire fucking album man, I donít know, sue me. Expander, there ya go.

What a contrived and totally expected first spot. Yeah I know. But if it ainít broke, donít break it. Thereís a reason people cite Streets of Rage 2 as one of the best soundtracks in gaming and thatís because itís baller ass, sick wicked awesome.

Expander is, I guess, the best track because itís fast paced, with amazing bass, synth, build ups, everything. All condensed into 2:29 of head bopping glory. But Go Straight has that amazing nostalgia value that only first level songs have. And Dreamer is just so awesome as well. And so is Never Return Alive. And Alien Power. And Revenge of Mr X.

Best. Soundtrack. Ever.


So that's my top 10 chiptunes. I think it's a pretty alright list. What do you think?
Leave your vitriol in that space below these words. See ya later dudes!








The Genesis (or Mega-drive, for us Europeans) is easily one of my favourite consoles of all time, just edging out the PS2 in my esteem. With it's varied library of amazing games, unforgettable experiences and innovation, it definitely deserves it place in video game history.†

But mentioning the Genesis without mentioning it's incredible musical accomplishments would be an oversight of biblical proportions. Paving the way for dance/synth music in video games, it gave us classic soundtracks from the likes of Streets of Rage, Revenge of Shinobi and Sonic the Hedgehog that still hold up as some of the best soundtracks available today.

With this blog series, I hope to bring back some attention to the forgotten gems in the Genesis library and rekindle my own love of these classics. The focus is on the music, as that is what I love the most about the Genesis but I'll also go into detail on other things. (Shout out to robertoplankton for the fantastic idea!)

So without further ado, lets start off this weeks entry with a game that is extraordinary in every respect, yet tragically overlooked: Elemental Master


The American box-art is much better than the Japanese box-art. And even better than the European box-art...which doesn't exist.

Elemental Master is a top-down shoot-em up released in 1990 in Japan and 1993 in North America. Sadly Europe never got it (damn you Sega!!!) so I only got to play it a few years ago through 'other means'. I'm glad I did though because it is fantastic in every way.

Interestingly, the game does have a story and almost all of it happens in the very beginning! As soon as you start a new game, a pretty good looking cut-scene starts that shows your character, Laden, confronting the antagonist, Gyra. But wait, what's this?! Gyra takes off his mask and reveals himself to be...Roki, Laden's brother! OMG! This all happens at the very beginning, before any gameplay at all and was pretty cool because I can't remember a game, especially a shmup, that would drop such a big story bomb literally 20 seconds in.†


You do that Laden. Enjoy your fratricide as well.

The music that played during this section also sets the tone for the rest of the game perfectly. Upbeat and with a strong techno vibe, if you're not bobbing your head to the beat then you clearly have something wrong with you. I mean seriously, this is super impressive stuff. So much going on and just, ah, I love it. So good!


Great tune. And it's not even the best one.

After the cut-scene, you had the choice to pick from 4 levels, each representing a different element (Fire, Water, Earth and Wind) and which can be tackled in any order, Mega-man style. After these are 3 more levels in linear order then the final boss. Moving onto gameplay, the game set itself apart from the other shmups of it's time by letting you control a character on foot (which leads to the 'running in place' animation looking exceptionally stupid), rather than a ship or vehicle, and allowed you to shoot at the top of the screen but also at the BOTTOM! This meant enemies could come up from behind or flank you and you'd have to turn around to shoot them. And since the screen auto scrolled and enemies would send projectiles every which way from both the top and bottom, the pace was RELENTLESS!

And there were other factors to account for too! Environmental hazards littered the level, like lava streams. So inbetween attacking enemies from the top and bottom, you also had to dodge these hazards. Chaotic doesn't begin to describe it.


This is a more quiet moment. Savour it as it doesn't last long.

Enemies are fairly standard fodder and aren't really stand outs, though they look very nice. They could use more animation to feel more, well, animated but they're fine. The bosses though completely blew me away with the large amounts of animation that they had and them being multi-sprited only added to their size and presence. The battles really felt fun to fight and dodging and weaving the hail of projectiles was exhilarating. The water boss stands out as a firm favourite, as does the final encounter with Roki. And the ending cut-scene...well, that was seriously good shit, made the entire journey worthwhile!

But despite all this, the game won't tax shmup enthusiasts. Laden has a lot of powers and all are useful everywhere besides a few encounters where you have to use a specific power. And you can charge them up for very powerful attacks. Add to that health increases and pickups everywhere, you get a moderately easy game. I managed to beat the game on my third go and I don't even play shmups!


This boss was the one that killed me the first time. But I got that fucker, got him GOOD!

Finally getting to the best part of this game, the soundtrack. It kicks so much ass you don't even know. This is one of my favourite Mega Drive soundtracks, up there with Streets of Rage 2 and Sonic 2.†

Standouts include 'Until the End of the Earth', an amazing, high energy track that just has so much awesome in it that I can't even describe it. By far the best track in the game, which is saying something.



Then there's 'Blood-stained Lake', which hooks you with it's satisfying bass claws and doesn't let you go.†



'Fate' is another fun track with some really heavy bass and a super quick tempo.†



'Calling on the Dark Dragon King' rocks. I love the distorted sound the Genesis makes here, it just fits so well.†



And the song that ends the game, 'Setting Out'. The upbeat, happy vibe is so good after the final boss and the variety in the track with all the build ups just shows that the composer had a lot of fun writing this piece.



These are only some of my favourite tracks from the game. All the tracks are amazing and worth listening too in their own right.



So that's another one done and dusted. I hope reading about a fairly obscure Mega Drive game was at least partially entertaining. If not then I hope the music tickled your fancy!

What do you make of Elemental Master? Sound like something you'd enjoy? What about the music, is it your cup of tea? Till next time nerds, Gaj out!

Download links
http://www.16bitaudiophileproject.org/elemental-master/
MP3 (320), FLAC and 96/24 FLAC available.








The Genesis (or Mega-drive, for us Europeans) is easily one of my favourite consoles of all time, just edging out the PS2 in my esteem. With it's varied library of amazing games, unforgettable experiences and innovation, it definitely deserves it place in video game history.

But mentioning the Genesis without mentioning it's incredible musical accomplishments would be an oversight of biblical proportions. Paving the way for dance/synth music in video games, it gave us classic soundtracks from the likes of Streets of Rage and Sonic that still hold up as some of the best soundtracks available today.

The point of this blog series is to appreciate and, hopefully, discover new music that we can all listen to and enjoy. I will critique aspects here and there but mostly it's about the appreciation. Or lack of, if you don't like it, which is fair enough. You weirdo.

So without further ado, lets get started with a soundtrack that I've fallen in love with all over again...Altered Beast.


This was so metal back in the day. Still is. What's more impressive that a werewolf on fire?!

Altered Beast was originally released as a pack in game back in 1988 and received a good reception, with praise aimed at it's graphics and particularly it's use of parallax scrolling. You played as a Roman Centurion who is resurrected by Zeus to save his daughter Athena from the evil god of the underworld, Neff. Besides idiotically confusing Roman and Greek mythology (though who doesn't) it's also a side scrolling beat em up in which you can transform into a wolf and kick lots of mythological ass by kicking shit.

Unfortunately it's aged rather poorly. Playing it today, the graphics are not especially impressive, though the death animations of enemies are still amusing. What has aged really poorly is the rock hard (dare I say...cheap?) difficulty. So not really a game to recommend playing in the 21st century.†

It's soundtrack though, I can wholly and unconditionally recommend.



"Ryse fwom yuor Grawe". Those 4 words inspire so much nostalgia and hatred, it's unreal. Every single time you died, which my 8 year old did A HELLA LOT, you'd hear Zeus utter those dreaded words. It grated so much back then. But now, it's strangely nostalgia. Iconic even, of a bygone era when games actually had difficulty.

Talking about the track, this is very much the best track in the game. It starts of regal and foreboding, as you take your first steps in the game the synth trumpets sound to herald the beginning of your quest to rescue the fair damsel. The beat in the background just adds to this whole feel of conquest and adventure. It's one of my favourite tracks to begin a game with and it sets the tone of the so perfectly. This is ancient Rome, you are a warrior, a goddess is in danger and only YOU can save her. Perfect.



Then, when you collect enough power-ups, you quite literally go into BEAST MODE and turn into a fricking werewolf. The track changes as well and the eponymous "Altered Beast" track takes over. This track is probably my second favourite in the whole game. The thumps in the background just raise my blood pressure to dangerously high levels (for me anyway. I'm not very active.)†and the overlay just propels me onward to dash attack or fire blast everything in my way (because apparently in the Altered Beast universe, werewolves have the power to perform Haodukens. I can dig it).


Sending a Haoduken straight into Satan's dick? How metal can this game get?!

The rest of the soundtrack carries on the general theme of the game. Gaum-Hermer is a bassy number that instils a feel of dread as you explore, Closed in Upon me does this as well with it's strong, forceful beats and downtuned overall feel that makes you feel like you're going through a slog as you desperately try to get to and destroy Satan, erm, Neff. Special mention must be given to I'll Be Back as it just is so good as destroying your will. The ultra low beats juxtapose with the high, thin synth to almost feel like a cry of pain and the succession of 4 quick taps never fail to back this feeling up. This plays on the last level before the boss fight and is literally perfect.


And then this thing plays. WHERE'S THE CONSISTENCY?!!!

Now this track just baffles me. I mean, it's a great ending track and is well made, produced, etc. But it just doesn't fit here at all. I just turned into a werewolf, pummelled a thousand enemies by kicking them in the face and haodukened Neff's dick into oblivion. And I get this far too chipper tune as reward? I would have preferred something a little more gloomy, more mysterious but with a tinge of glorious victory. Just my two pennies.

But anyway, it doesn't diminish from an extraordinary soundtrack that captures the feeling of battle and adversity. For a pack in game, it's rather quite impressive.

[hr]
Well folks, that wraps that up. I hope this has been a somewhat pleasant read and I plan on doing more of these, should time allow. Perhaps as a fortnightly thing sounds about right. Tell me in the comments about your thoughts on the music! Does it capture that spirit of adventure for you as it did me? Do you love Genesis music in general as much as I do? (Clue: You don't, it's impossible).

Also I will be providing download links for this album and future albums from a website I 100% trust and completely recommend. They are doing God's work there and I hope you won't mind me supporting them a little. I'm not a spam/troll/plug account, I promise!

Download link to Album: http://www.16bitaudiophileproject.org/altered-beast/
Options for 320 MP3, FLAC and 96/24 FLAC available. (96/24 FLAC is da best, just sayin').

Take care guys and girls, see ya soon!








The title says it all. Exams are over! Get hype!

So I thought why not make a blog about myself. It's great stress relief and I kinda don't know what to do with myself at the moment. That weird feeling after exams where you wonder what next...

So anyway, here's just a small snippet of me.


Me in one year. Fuck.

1. I'm studying Psychology at University.

Yep I'm studying Psychology. It's funny really, in secondary school I didn't give a shit about Psychology. I picked Maths, Further Maths, Biology and History, with the aim to study optometry at University. After failing Maths but getting a D in Further Maths (I don't know either) and finding Biology as boring and dull as a Brian May concert, that changed rapidly.

So I dropped Maths, Further Maths and Biology and picked up English Literature and Psychology. I was pissed. I'm not used to failure so this stung hard. But, weirdly, I started to really like Psychology. Learning about these crazy (pun intended) psychological issues people face, like Depression, Schizophrenia, Bipolar, etc was super interesting. And I was really good at it, which helps I guess. And here I am, doing it at a University level.

I'm in my second year and I hope to graduate with a First and go do a post-graduate at Warwick, with the ultimate aim being to become a Clinical Psychologist. Lots of work ahead of me. But I think I can do it. Just about.


I like to worm my way into a good book.

2. I'm a avid reader of pretty much everything put to paper

I got into reading in primary school. We had to read during free time or do homework. I chose to read and have kept with it since then. Back when I had unlimited time, I'd get the maximum number of books from the local library (8) and read them within two weeks. Then I'd rinse and repeat ad nauseum.†

Now I don't read that much but I still do read a least 1 book a week. I've read everything, from Woolf to Wilde to Conrad to Bronte. I've even read The Divine Comedy because it sounded so metal (pro tip: It's hard as fuck). I'd like to read more though. I miss the days of just reading, with no exams or 'future' hanging over my head.


I'm a shy guy.

3. I am INCREDIBLY shy

Shock and awe, THE GajKnight is a shy person in real life! Well hell yeah I am!

Strangers just make me anxious. I worry about how they†perceive†me, if I look funny, if I'll say something stupid and make a fool of myself. I'm perfectly alright with friends and people I know. But strangers are scary yo.

I'm an introvert as well. So I don't go clubbing every week or the like. A nice, meet up with friends to watch movies and joke around is more my style.

Maybe that's why I'm so interested in Psychology. Maybe it's all just a convoluted way for me to look for a cure to my ailment, a quest for me to fix myself. Or maybe I'm being stupid again. Anyway, I'm shy.


I don't know what anime this is but I like it already.

4. Pizza, Chicken Wings and Dr Pepper are the foods of the Gods

These three foods are the best foods created by man. They are all any sane and healthy human being needs to survive and the apocalypse will be when God descends from above on his chariot of broken dreams and baby tears and takes all my Pizza, Chicken Wings and Dr Pepper.

And when he does, I'm gonna go Kratos on his ass so hard.


Sea-salt ice-cream is the best. And Roxas and Axel fanfiction is disturbing.

5. My favorite game is a 3-way split between Streets of Rage 2, Final Fantasy XII and Kingdom Hearts 2

Don't make me pick a favorite, I really just cannot decide. They've all been at the top at one time or another until I finally decided to make them all first.

Streets of Rage is the best 2D beat em up ever and has one of the best soundtracks in existence. Final Fantasy XII made me fall in love with RPG's and none have come close to beating it, even slightly (well Ni No Kuni...NO! NO!).†And Kingdom Hearts 2 is just a very special game. I just love it with every fiber of my being.

Bring on FFXII HD, Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD ReMix (and Kingdom Hearts 3!) and Streets of Rage 2 HD (I wish).


I get all the bitches. And hammers.

6. I'm a property developer

I buy houses, do them up and then sell them on or keep them as rentals.
So far I've worked on, err, about 23 houses. I started when I was 12 with my dad, just learning the basics like putting floors in, plastering, installing kitchens, etc. Now I do it almost by myself. Me and my mum buy the houses, I do them up and she does whatever with them afterwards. We make a great team! Though she gets very bossy. (But don't tell her I said that or I'm dead ;))


Not my cat. He's way cuter.

7. My cat is cuter than your cat, FACT!

This is true. My cat kicks your cats butt in the cuteness factor. No contest.
I love that little moggy.


Literally me.†

8. I'm so British it's actually painful

My favorite tea is Earl Grey.†
I have a jacket with the British Flag emblazoned on it.†
My accent is quite posh and I have a habit of drawling my r's and s's. Rather.
I can recite Monty Python and the Holy Grail almost fully from memory.
I don't mind queuing. Honestly, it's†efficient†and neat.
Corgi's are cool as fuck. Huskies are the best but corgi's are a close second.
My teeth are slightly discoloured from all the tea I drink.
And most importantly, I spell colour properly.


Dropping sick beats like it 1723!

9. Music is a understated part of who I am

I listen to a lot of music. All different types as well (except Dubstep, fuck that noise). I'll give anything a try as long as it sounds good.

Some of my favourite albums and soundtracks include:
-Jar of Flies-Alice in Chains
-Ten-Pearl Jam
-Castlevania: Symphony of the Night OST (PS1)
-Channel Oragne-Frank Ocean
-The Fat of the Land-The Prodigy
-Journey OST (PS3)
-Machine Head-Deep Purple
-Nola-Down
-What We All Come To Need-Pelican

And many more I can't even remember.†



10. (Insert soppy thing about Dtoid here)

But seriously, Dtoid is a really nice place. I feel extremely welcome here, everyone is incredibly individual and†interesting†and it's just nice. And you rock. Yes YOU!

Well that's me guys. Thanks for reading my far too long blog, I hope it was at least somewhat enjoyable. Though I haven't even scratched the surface of things I wanna talk about. Maybe I'll write another one of these in the future. Who knows.

See ya on the front page, nerds!
Photo Photo








Sup everyone!†

I'd just like to say that this is my first blog and I couldn't think of any better first topic than buying a brand new handheld.†

I should get it tomorrow, fingers crossed. So excited!

The games I bought with it are 999 and Castlevania: Mirror of Fate. I'm not sure what else to buy, all the other games are far to expensive for me. Leave me some suggestions for games at £20 or less, I'd appreciate it.

Hopefully this is the beginning of a long and illustrious gaming relationship. Also this is my first Nintendo console ever. I no longer am a Nintendo virgin!

Thanks and see you on the FP nerds!
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