STATIC DISCLAIMER: All the stuff in here is purely my opinions, and they tend to change depending on what mood I'm in. If you're going to get bitter if I say something about you that you don't like, then maybe don't read. I avoid using names as much as possible, and would request that people who know me do the same in their comments. Basically, I often vent my frustrations on here, so if you happen to be someone who frustrates me, expect to read a description of someone very much like you in here!

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Game music is w00t

Game music is so cool.

Nobuo Uematsu has been a hero of mine for a while. I had a real passion for music, and studied it for a semester at uni, but withdrew because I couldn't deal with the crazy and almost incomprehensible mix of traditionalism and post-modernism that pervades music at an academic level. Things aren't allowed to change, unless it's within the current definition of modern music.
For example, Beethoven's music is great, but music written in 2005 that sounds like music from Beethoven's period and is about the beauty of creation is not great. Great music in 2005 needs to sound like someone driving a truck through a scrap heap, and have some relation to the plight of feminists or homosexuals in oppressive modern society.
You see? There are clearly defined boundaries for what is "acceptable deviation". Anyway, enough about my opinions...

Nobuo Uematsu is a hero of mine, because the music he writes is outside of any box that people would like to put it in. It's like movie soundtracks, and yet not attached to the "acceptable" medium of film. Not only that, but unlike movie soundtracks, it has an enormous cult following. I was a bit surprised to learn following the "Night in Fantasia" concert in 2004 which featured music from the Final Fantasy games, that the members of the orchestra for that event were not bored geeky conservitorium students, but rather world renown professional musicians. Many of them have played in orchestras all over the world. See, I never put myself in the "bored and geeky" category, but figured that the vast majority of people who would be interested in listening to video game music must be part of that demographic. However, I've learnt over time that I'm very wrong. Video gaming is becoming a staple of EVERY teenager's years, and depending on their personal preferences, many of them have played Final Fantasy games and other RPGs with similarly epic soundtracks. And as a result, many of them enjoy listening to the music, as it not only is fantastic music, but it relates to a particular moment that they experienced while playing the games. Whether it was an emotionally climactic point in the story, or an exciting and rewarding accomplishment, the relationship between the experience and the music is forged, and that makes for a fantastic listening experience when enjoying the soundtrack.

Anyway, I could write pages on this, but I have to stop now. Lunch calls. Hope you all enjoy.

1 comment:

Nathan Zamprogno said...

I hear you, but for once I can claim to be *much* geekier still. You see, I grew up with the trusty Commodore 64, and some C64 games had some absolutely awesome music. Its SID chip had three voices and four waveforms (sine, sawtooth, pulse and noise). In order to strike a note you had to program seven different machine registers with an 8 bit value for each voice (two for the frequency of the note, one for the waveform and four more for Attack, Decay, Sustain and Release). I used to do this in BASIC as a hobby. I sucked (but learned a lot. I can almost remember the POKE values even today). There were some magicians who could make it sing. No, really, I mean "sing". As in speech synthesis. Can you imagine a multi level game with animated characters and several synthesised speech grabs in only 48 kilobytes of addressable RAM? There were names that seemed godlike to us then, Martin Galway, Rob Hubbard, all composers who wrote ditties so catchy I have days where I still can't get them out of my head.

...Mind you, I can't get the evil leprechauns out of my head either, and there's only so many bodies you can bury in a suburban yard.

Anyways, all I can say is thank god for SID emulators where I can relive the tinny, primitive brilliance of "Thing on a Spring", "Way of the Exploding Fist" or "Parallax" anew.