Friday, November 30, 2018

VGM Highlights - November 2018

As you might've noticed if you've read one or two of my blog posts, I play a lot of video games. What I mention a lot less however is that I also listen to quite a lot of video game music (VGM). But I thought it was time to change that! I sat thinking of some good way for me to get to talk about good VGM while also promote some of the great VGM podcasts I listen to. "Hey, I have a blog after all, that's what that is for right?". Right?

So my plan is to make a round-up of some of the great tunes I've heard in the podcasts I've listened to throughout a month, and what better month to start than dreary old November. It should be noted that I am far from up to date on most podcasts I listen to, I simply don't have the time. This means a lot of the episodes I listen to are not recent and in some cases even years have passed since they were released. But I figured that shouldn't really matter since good VGM doesn't age anyway. The idea is both for me to be able to talk a bit about VGM that I enjoy, but also to give a shout-out to the podcast that featured it. It's not intended to be a ranking of any kind and the same podcast can be featured more than once (or no time) in a month if I've happened to hear several, or no, particularly good tunes from that podcast within a month - which with my listening habits is a pretty random variable. This isn't to say that this was the only music I enjoyed, in fact I can count on the fingers of one hand the amount of times I've heard a VGM track in a podcast I felt like skipping. These are simply tunes that stood out a little extra to me.

You are always very welcome to comment with tunes you enjoy, I absolutely love finding new things to listen to!

We'll see how long I remember to and feel like keeping this up, but let's get started at least.

My first featured track comes from the VGMpire Podcast, episode 64, "Blast Corps Gemini" which was a highlight of the music in the games Jet Force Gemini and Blast Corps. Those are two games I remember seeing back in the day but know absolutely nothing about. I didn't even know they were made by Rare. This is by the way an example of a podcast that aired several years ago, as this was posted in February 2014. While most of the tracks were good, nothing really stood out to me, except this little gem from Blast Corps called "Angel City".

The N64 isn't exactly known for its stand-out soundtracks or sound, at least not to me. There are of course notable exceptions like Rare's GoldenEye and most of the Mario-games. And Turok 2, that stuff is awesome. And normally I am not a fan of a rock-style tune, but something about this spoke to me. I found it pretty cool.

Secondly we have a double-whammy from the Forever Sound Version podcast. First episode 52 in which the show celebrates its 2nd year with its own highlight of tracks that he's played over the last year. I guess this could be called cheating since the track in question technically is from an earlier episode, but eh *shrug*. The track is "In Game 7" from Colin McRae Rally 2.0. Even though I have listened to almost every episode of Forever Sound Version I can't remember when this was played so I am glad he played it again because I love it! While I don't play many racing games they often feature exactly the type of floaty, swirly electronica that I am personally very fond of.

The other track is from episode 54 which was the 4th VGM Battle. The entire episode was absolutely awesome and filled with so many good tracks it was difficult to choose just one, like "6:24" from Furi, "Slipstream" from Motorstorm Apocalypse and "Filmore" from Actraiser (which is one of my all-time favorite VGM tracks, but it's Yuzo Koshiro so of course). I strongly recommend listening to the entire episode. The track I've chosen to highlight though is "Theme of Exchanger" from Money Puzzler Exchanger because of its bouncy, happy style.

And finally a track from The Battle Bards podcast, which is the worlds only MMO VGM podcast and I amazed every single episode that they manage to make so much good material from that premise. There are clearly a lot more MMO's out there than you'd think. This track is from their episode 114 highlight of tracks on the move, aptly named "Vroom vroom". One of the hosts, Syp, plays the track unromantically named "Smuggler Track S Two" from GTA Online and it... is... AMAZING.

To me it perfectly evokes the feeling of driving on an empty desert road in the middle of the night, with no one to hold you company but the darkness and your own thoughts (possibly something smugglers do a lot). It does what all excellent music does and whisks me away to a completely different place, I zone out when I listen to this. It's like it's written note by note for me. I don't want to call favorites in my first ever VGM highlights post but yeah... this is probably one of the best VGM I've heard all year.

That's it for this month so stay tuned for whatever December will churn out!

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