Category Archives: Music

Let’s listen to some (obscure) game music!

Rockin'

(Crossposted from theexperiencebar.com)

This isn’t an article about JRPG soundtracks being performed by symphonies or the great song selection in Grand Theft Auto or the Fallout series, or Song of the Dragonborn, or the track lists for Guitar Hero/Rock Band/other random plastic-instrument game. Those already get a lot of attention.

Here, I wanted to focus on the really obscure songs that I think add immeasurably to a game yet never got the recognition they deserved. I have a couple that were written specifically for games that stand on their own as eminently listenable songs in their own right, and a couple that so complimented their game that the entire game would have been lesser without them.

And I’ll even give you a surprise at the end.

There aren’t that many that spring to mind, so luckily this will be short and not one of those absurd “100 best video game songs of all time” lists.

Off we go!

This is why we can’t have nice things

The Man

As you can see in my previous post, I have a new PC in the office. This involves logging back in to all my accounts and setting things up just the way I like them, which can take a significant amount of time if you happen to be particular about it, which I am.

One of the things I did was copy my music library over to the second hard drive so i can have access to it here. I don’t use it all that much, I tend to rely on YouTube more often (although I’m not sure why when I have local copies), but that’s how it is.

Anyway, I decided to fire up Groove, a service I have never used before as that is what Windows 10 wanted my music player to be, and as I was scrolling through my list I found the late, great John Denver’s hit “Country Roads, Take Me Home.”

That sounded good, so I fired it up. Except I couldn’t play the song, and Bam! I was hit in the face with why I don’t like digital distribution and have gone so far as to set up my own personal Netflix. To explain what happened, have a look at this picture:

And again

Bowie

Once again, I am here writing about the loss of a giant in the recording industry. Mine is but a small voice in the sea of condolences flooding the Internet, but David Bowie, whom everyone knows and everyone loves, has passed away in a death that unlike that of Lemmy, I – and apparently many others – never saw coming. His last album, Blackstar, had the clues but we were all too busy enjoying it to notice.

Before I continue, it must be noted that another icon of another type, but no less important of stature, passed away the day before we lost Mr. Bowie. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a gargantuan fan of horror movies, and so it was with equal sadness I learned of the death of Angus Scrimm, otherwise known as the Tall Man from one of the crowning, best examples of low-budget 70’s horror, 1979’s Phantasm. I loved this movie, for a brief time I was even comrades with some of the people involved with its creation, and it has been a staple in my life for as long as I can remember. It was very unique, offered some novel horror-movie ideas, and the silver ball sentinels were genius. I will simply acknowledge Angus Scrimm’s significance with a respectable BOY!

Now back to David Bowie, and why you may be wondering why I would be writing about him on what is primarily a tech blog. First, it’s because I’ve always been a huge fan, from his eclectic to his standard. I’m a fan because his music is magic. And I’m a fan because he wrote and sang about technology and science quite a bit. Songs like Space Oddity, the lyrically brief Sound and Vision, the spoken-word Future Legend, and, frankly, the entire Ziggy Stardust album, not to mention his movie The Man Who Fell to Earth (a movie I dare to watch and not be deeply impacted by) put technology and science into mainstream pop and made it acceptable to be into those kinds of things, things that were never considered to be all that cool. If you read science fiction,. if you dreamed of outer space, if you thought about the future, David Bowie was telling you it was ok. I have read tribute after tribute addressing these ideas, and now more than ever it seems like his influence in that sphere is coming true. Now, these things are considered part of regular life and many bands write songs dealing with science and tech; back then, not so much (so thank you Rolling Stones and Zager and Evans for also being innovators). There are even chiptune bands!

EDIT: I don’t know how I forgot about this, but I was just reminded that he also starred in and contributed to the eccentric 1999 PC game Omikron: The Nomad Soul, and even had his own ISP! His influence is obvious throughout both of these, and they’re just more examples of how much foresight and influence he had.

Even the way I found out about it was technically eerie. It was 11:34pm, I was in bed, the house was dark, yet I noticed a glow coming from the adjacent room. It was my Mac’s screen glowing brightly, which was unusual since it goes to sleep after 5 minutes of inactivity. I got up to see what the issue was, and as I sat down the browser refreshed the news site it was on to show the new stories, and the page was flooded with the news of his passing. It’s like someone or something wanted me to know right then.

David Bowie was transformative and transcendent in his style, his music, and his influence. Also, Labyrinth is a masterpiece.

The recent loss of Lemmy, by the way, is not void of this concept either. He played for a brief stint in Hawkwind, a surreal prog-rock group that sang about science and technology with as much – if not more – zeal than even Bowie, it was their conceptual anchor. Here’s their video for Silver Machine, a song about spaceflight.

Honestly, I’d be happy if these people who influenced so much of my personality, my character, my tastes, and my individuality would just stop dying – can someone meet Joe Black already? Give me a break, it’s been too much too soon!

Going Up