A Path of Inspiration
I had sort of a strange start with my interest in video game music. I missed the whole NES and SNES bandwagon, admittedly. This explains why, when someone asks me “hey, how about that killer tune from Mega Man?!” I just draw a blank. I did get opportunities to play games on these systems several times, but I never owned a modern console till the PS1 (I did own a ColecoVision, though, which pre-dated the NES). Nearly all of my gaming in my teenage years was on the Commodore Amiga, which, for its time, was quite advanced and definitely ahead of its time. It was, I believe, the only home computer at the time that supported such a wide array of colors displayable on the screen at once (a whopping 4096!). The graphics and audio were awesome!
One of the first Amiga games I can recall that grabbed my attention musically was Defender of the Crown. It had a catchy soundtrack, and technically it was more than just 8-bit which was so prevalent then.
Shadow of the Beast 3, composed by CoLD SToRAGE (aka Tim Wright), made a huge impact on me, specifically this music from the forest level. It struck me as a really memorable piece, and I still really like it to this day. I remember recording this tune, along with other tracks from SoB3, onto a cassette tape and taking it with me to school. :) I was that hooked!
David Joiner wrote some really great music for The Faery Tale Adventure. Again, due to the Amiga’s advanced sound board, I think it was represented best on that system. (warning: another longplay vid [3 hours!!]) By the way, how crazy is it that this guy did the programming, animation, and music for this game?! And all three aspects are done really well, too.
Around the time I was playing all these great games, I started experimenting with composing on the Amiga, using MED and OctaMED, and that really served as my launching point into composition.
Fast forward to about 1998, where things started getting more serious for me and I started to really carve out a path towards working in the game industry. Big inspirations for me were the music for Baldur’s Gate I and II, Champions of Norrath, Neverwinter Nights, Icewind Dale (yep, big RPG fan), Heroes of Might & Magic III, and many more. You’ll find tracks from all of these and others below. If there’s one thing these all have in common, they more or less have strong, memorable melodies, and I think my attraction to music that had those qualities led me to pursue that while writing my own material.
Hope you’ve enjoyed this brief musical journey!
I tried desperately to find more music from the Amiga version of The Bard’s Tale (especially the horn arrangements), to no avail. If anyone has them, please let me know!
A Favorite Game of Mine
Funny name for a game, but trust me when I say Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup is a turn-based dungeon-crawling RPG with a ton of depth and complexity to it. Lots of races and backgrounds to choose from, a huge list of skills and cool spells (such as extracting potions from corpses and then using an evaporate spell to throw the potion at enemies, exploding on contact?!). Plus, the game gets hard. Eventually you must strategize and plan your moves carefully, because once you die, you’re dead. No re-loading a saved game in this one: once you die, all your saves are wiped.
It’s obviously extremely low tech on the graphics side of things, but don’t let that deter you from checking out this addictive game. It’s got a tutorial mode, so once you get a handle on the key commands, you’ll be able to focus solely on the experience.
Best of all, it’s free. :) If you try it, let me know on Twitter what you think of it. Be sure to grab the “tiles” version for graphics, or you can simply play online without downloading anything.
Anonymous asked: Do you actually play vidya games?
When I have time! Lately I’m kinda into gaming on my iPhone. Sometimes I’ll block off a weekend and lock myself in my studio and sit down with a game, playing pretty much non-stop. Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood was the last game I did that with. Next up is either the new Deus Ex game or LA Noire.