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Saturday, December 31, 2016

Favorite Tunes #169: End of the Journey

Man. 2016 is already over? Its been some ride, filled with some really great as well as truly disappointing games. I'm looking forward to what 2017 has to offer. Not just in terms of gameplay but soundtracks as well. Enjoy this last 2016 edition of Favorite Tunes.

Staff Roll 2 - Street Fighter Alpha 2 Gold (PS)

The Gold version of Alpha 2 features Cammy based off her X-Men vs. Street Fighter version as well as arranged music and a few theme themes. Between Gold's three different staff roll jams, it can be tough to pick out a favorite. Staff Roll 2 is super smooth.

The Credits Concerto - Donkey Kong Country (SNES)

Fun fact: I actually finished Donkey Kong Country for the first time around New Year's Eve in 1994. It was strangely calming to get an ending where the game lists all of the enemies and bosses as the go across the screen in DK's home. Probably because the last few worlds was the stuff of nightmares in terms of difficulty.

Reprise (Credits) - Shovel Knight (Multi)

Look, the good things to say about Shovel Knight have already been said and all of that stuff is 100% true. Go buy Shovel Knight. This game was more than deserving of a physical release and I was glad to see that happen. Jake Kaufman and Manami Matsume's work on the music of Shovel Knight soundtrack is nothing short of freaking brilliant.

Staff Roll - Final Fantasy VII (PS, PC)

I've often said that Final Fantasy VII's music isn't Nobuo Uematsu's best work. But I still think it is a solid score. The game's beautiful Main Theme is easily one of best of any Final Fantasy game. I didn't mind the many times it was arranged throughout the game, and it was wonderful to hear it one final time arranged with the classic Final Fantasy series theme.

Deep Drive - Rage Racer (PS)

Wildly different from the first two Ridge Racer titles, Rage Racer let you upgrade your car with cash won from races. The shift in tone was not just one from a gameplay perspective, but the visuals took on a more realistic (for the time, anyway) look. Of course Rage Racer was still an arcade style racer. even tough it was approaching things a bit differently this time around. The soundtrack still consists of electronica with some jazz and rock.

Credits (Super Smash Bros.) - Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Wii)

I thought we'd end things on a lively note. I ended up missing a lot of tracks from Super Smash Bros. Brawl due to not playing on certain stages often and not finding all of the music CDs. A good portion of the Brawl remixes came back in Smash for Wii U, so I've been playing catch up on what I missed, like this arranged credits theme to the original Super Smash Bros., which I gotta say, is better than the original.

Favorite Tunes Database

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Game Companies Really Need to Learn to Handle Criticism

As gaming channels on YouTube have risen in popularity over the years, game companies have become more willing to send them review copies of games as they would magazines and websites. Even channels that have well below 100,000 subscribers can get recognized by game companies and have review copies sent their way. But just because these companies are sending them games to review, that doesn't mean these YouTubers are obligated to do puff piece videos on their latest releases. This seems to be what game companies think because the minute the channel runners start singing a tune they don't like, all the review copies and free stuff stops coming in.

A lot of game companies have this sense of entitlement when it comes to giving out free stuff. They supply YouTube content creators with games and they expect glowing remarks. Said content creators don't stroke their egos, they get butt hurt. Jim Sterling has been blacklisted from several industry publishers for his very outspoken, negative reviews on games. Square Enix is one of several game companies that wants nothing to do with him.

Haedox, another YouTube gaming personality, used to be part of the Nintendo Brand Ambassador, which sounds like a pretty sweet deal. I mean, who wouldn't want free Nintendo games? Trouble is, the NBA program has a contract that Nintendo can terminate any time they choose under any circumstances. Wanna guess why Haedox lost his NBA status? Yup, he didn't function as an echo chamber, telling gamers that every single Nintendo game he was sent was good. He gave his honest opinion, which was just too much for Nintendo, so they terminated him as a NBA.

No one likes to have their product blasted to smithereens, but the cold, hard truth of the matter is, everything you put out isn't going to be enjoyed by all. What still puzzles me is that game some game companies are completely unwilling to accept this fact. Rather than suck it up and take the criticism, these publishers, cry like little babies, take their toys and go home.

I get that publishers ceasing to deal with YouTubers that dish out the occasional negative review is their way of silencing bad press. But that isn't going to make it go away. If anything, their actions are only delaying it slightly. Even if publishers don't send out review copies to gaming YouTube channels, they can still go out and buy the game and give it bad review if they didn't like it. I get that initial sales are important and by weeding out the "bad eggs" publishers can secure more sales because a good chunk of gamers count on reviews to be the deciding factor for whether they buy a game or not.

Criticism is never going go to way. It is always going to be a thing and publishers really need to learn to deal with it. It isn't like a switch they can just turn off. Publishers could take the criticism they get to heart and improve their games. You know, that whole learn from your mistakes deal. It is an idea. Or they could just keep cutting off those that have negative things to say about their games. I think we all know which route they are gonna end up taking.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Memories #22: Pac-Man

I'd love to say that my first experience with Pac-Man was the stand up arcade cabinet, but alas, I cut my teeth on the infamous Pac-Man cartridge for the Atari 2600. Not only did this game look like butt, it played like it, too. Horrible flicker, the ghosts not looking much different from when you consumed a Power Pellet and don't even get me started on the audio, which even for Atari 2600 standards was pretty awful. I probably put more time into this version of Pac-Man than I should have. At the time, it was my only option for munching ghosts at home. It was interesting to find out years later that the Atari 2600 version of Pac-Man was a contributing factor to the Video Game Crash of 1983.

If it looks like crap, sounds like crap, plays
like crap, it's Pac-Man on the Atari 2600.
The DOS version of Pac-Man is one I remember liking quite a bit. In the late 80s through the early '90s, my family didn't have a home computer so whenever we went to the computer room in school and they gave us time to play games, I would always jump on Pac-Man. I didn't care that the background was green or that all the ghosts were the same color. The game played infinitely better than the Atari 2600 version and made for some of the most fun I ever had in school.

The DOS version of Pac-Man, may have lacked
the colors of the arcade game, but was vastly
superior to the 2600 version.
Considering what arcades have became in the past few decades, I look back and consider myself quite fortunate whenever I come across a coin-op version of a classic game. Sometime in the early '90s, I was out at a pizza joint with my family. I was browsing the arcade machines when I was pleasantly surprised to see a Pac-Man arcade cabinet. Naturally, I was more than happy to drop a quarter into the slot to try the arcade version out. Playing the arcade version of Pac-Man for was like opening my eyes for the first time. The maze background was black, Inky, Binky, Pinky and Clyde all had distinct colors, the sound affects and musical jingles sounded better than ever and the game ran at a silky smooth framerate. It was Pac-Man utopia.

It is now easier than ever to get the arcade version of
Pac-Man on home console, complete with snazzy side art.

More than a decade would pass before I would get reintroduced to Pac-Man. With the passing of several console generations and superior technology, having arcade perfect ports of early 1980s games was (mostly) no longer an issue. In 2001, I picked up Namco Museum 64 because it was cheap and I was itching for some retro arcade action. Having enjoyed the arcade version of Pac-Man years ago, I was thrilled to be able to boot up and play the co-op version of Pac-Man whenever I pleased. Namco Museum 64 also where I played Ms. Pac-Man and Galaga for the first time, two games that would go to become some of my all-time favorites.

I recently bought Namco Museum Vol. 1 off the PlayStation Network for my PS3. I'm as terrible at the game as ever, but the simplicity of the game and the desire to achieve a high score keeps me coming back. Like a lot of fans, I do believe Ms. Pac-Man is the superior game, but Pac-Man is still a blast to play and without it, there wouldn't even be a Ms. Pac-Man to gush over.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Favorite Tunes #168: Christmas Time is Here Again

The wait seemed like forever but we've only got one day until Christmas. Hopefully you don't have to do any last minute Christmas shopping. If you do, I hope you come back in one piece. If you don't have to go anywhere, and you're indoors with friends and family, I hope you're enjoying yourself. Every year, I set aside a Favorite Tunes for Christmas/winter themed music and this year is no exception. The holidays are totally infectious and not even video games are safe!

Snowdin Town - Undertale (PC)

I love Undertale's music. Fan's love Untertale's music. We all love Undertale's music. I think even the haters would have to agree that the music is pretty freakin' sweet. Snowdin is the home of skeleton brothers, Sans and Papyrus, which plays some wonderful Christmasy music. I was saving this tune just for the holidays.

 A Little Light Snowfall - Yoshi's Woolly World (Wii U)

If for some strange reason, you have not bought Yoshi's Woolly World, do it right now. The game's price has been slashed and the collectibles and platforming make it a great stocking stuffer. As Kirby's Epic Yarn before it, the winter themes of Woolly World have a delightful Christmas flair to theme, making it perfect for holiday or winter listening.

Horizon of Light and Shadow ~ Eternity's Moment / X'mas Edit - X'mas Collections music from Bravely Default

I really should have picked up Bravely Default when it originally released. These days it commands more than the $40 asking price of most new 3DS games and I fear it may only escalate from there. I just found out about this sweet Bravely Default arranged Christmas track and enjoyed it so much that I had to include it in this Christmas edition of Favorite Tunes. This is from the Bravely Default X'mas Collections album that released in Japan a two years ago.

Happy Holidays! - Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX (PS3)

Between the plethora of side games and 2.5 mixes, it can be tough to keep up with all the Kingdom Hearts games. Square Enix finally announced the long awaited sequel for the main games, Kingdom Hearts 3. Which fans are still foaming at the mouth to play as said announcement was some time ago (read: more than one year ago) with no official release date. And F-ZERO fans thought they had it rough waiting for new games in that series. Anyway, here's some upbeat Christmas battle music.

SNOWFLAKES - Persona 4 The Golden (PSV)

I should probably bring up Persona music a lot more often as the games have some great music. True, I haven't played most of them, but the adoration of these games scores has not escaped me. This is actually actually the first PS Vita game to get mentioned in Favorite Tunes. OK, so it it is a port but that's being nitpicky. I went with this one because it's topical and it sounds so darn good.

Diamond Dust Act 1 - Sonic 3D Blast (Saturn)

I know I've posted this in a previous edition of a Christmas themed Favorite tunes years ago, but this theme just blends so well with the holiday season that I couldn't help but post it again. I might just make it a tradition to post this every year. It is easily one of my favorite winter themes from any video game. Merry Christmas, everyone.

Favorite Tunes Database

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Top 10 Mega Man Winter Stage Music

Today marks the first day of winter. Most of us in the gaming fandom loath ice base stages, almost, if not more so than water themed levels. But like aquatic music, we love us some winter jams. Mega Man music is fifty different flavors of awesome and I've wanted to call attention to winter based music in the series as a whole for a long time. So, I present to you a top 10 list of my favorite Mega Man winter themes.

10. Ice Man Stage - Mega Man: Dr. Wily's Revenge

Kicking off the list with the original ice themed robot, but not the game you may have been thinking of. I'm sure most of you are familiar with Ice Man's level and stage theme from the original Mega Man, and his track from that game is perfectly fine. It's catchy and a very jovial theme for what can be a pretty harsh stage. But I gotta say that I like the rendition from Dr. Wily's Revenge more. The addition of far more apparent percussion really helps make this version of the song pop while still keep the perky feel of the original.

09. Blizzard Buffalo Stage - Mega Man X3

And we have our first cold theme from the Mega Man X series, which will be popping up quite a bit in this feature. X3 is easily my least favorite of the SNES X titles. Capcom went a little overboard on the armor/item collecting and the most of the enemies are able to get in cheap, last second hits even after you kill them. Having said that, I do find myself enjoying a good chunk of this game's soundtrack. Blizzard Buffalo's stage can be quite the pain to navigate and the music paints an apt picture of a cold, frozen over environment. Yes, the them may sound repetitive but this is the kind of repetition I can get behind.

08. Blizzard Man Stage - Mega Man 6

Mega Man 6 is often viewed by critics as one of the games in the series that isn't as good as the previous or later entries due to the selection of Robot Masters and lackluster weapons to obtain. Yes, some of the weapons are quite lame and we do have some laughable foes to put down. But even the best games have louse weapons and joke bosses such as Bubble Man from the much praised Mega Man 2. Mega Man 6 may not be as good as a lot of other entries, but it doesn't deserve the shunned status it often gets. Blizzard Man's stage is home to my favorite track in the game. True, it sounds on the melancholy side when compared to other ice based themes in the classic series like Ice Man and Freeze Man, which are very upbeat themes, but I don't have a problem with my ice music having a somber feel to it. I still find this tune very hummable.

07. Frost Walrus Stage - Mega Man X4

The first X game of the 32-bit era is my second favorite X game in the X series. It has a sweet selection of foes for you to fight, awesome stage design and Zero is fully playable, being a close range fighter in contrast to X's long range skills. Frost Walrus tune is noteworthy not on for being a chilly theme, but for have two versions of it. The first half of the stage plays a more windy, ambient theme with the first portion of them theme taking place outside. The second part of the tune is arrangement of the first half, adding drums while keeping the ahem, cool nature of the them. It wouldn't feel right to only include one version of this theme, so both parts make the cut.

06. Ice Brain (Poler Kamrous Stage) - Mega Man Zero 2

The GBA may not have the best sound chip, but there a quite a number of good soundtracks on the system. Case in point, all four Mega Man Zero titles. Background noise did not prevent the sound designers from making compelling music scores and Zero 2 has one of the best winter themes I've ever heard in a game. It sports a rocking guitar throughout but also has a gentle air going on through the course with a violin. Freaking beautiful stuff.

05. Chill Penguin Stage - Mega Man X

No matter how much you may detest cold type levels, I'm willing to bet that you'll get out of Chill Penguin's stage. The place is covered with more snow than anything else and what little ice there is does not present a problem because, well, ice physics do not exist in the first Mega Man X. You also get your first armor upgrade, the dash boots, which makes this stage an excellent place to start. Just as Ice Man has the honor of being the first cold themed boss of the Classic series, Chill Penguin is the first icy boss of the X series and he sports of very mission heavy style theme. If someone just listened to this song without any context, they might not know that it comes from a stage associated with winter elements. If I were just ranking the best X winter themes, Chill Penguin would be number one.

04. Frost Man Stage - Mega Man 8

When gamers think of Frost Man's stage, two words come to mind: jump, slide. Those words could easily sum of Frost Man's stage. Although it still serves up a degree of platforming, the snowboarding segments were enough to give many a player nightmares. But Frost Man's level has a very cool beat. The track is dominated by a sick baseline but it also has some blasting trumpets and some pick axes going to work as you make you way through the snow covered city. Frost Man's theme is often regarded as a fan favorite track and it isn't hard to see why.

03. Freeze Man Stage - Mega Man 7

We've arrived at the top three and I imagine that after seeing what track I placed in this spot, some of you may want my head on a fence post. To that I say, one, stop being so bloodthirsty and two, I've got nothing but love for Freeze Man's ridiculously cheerful theme. This sucker just screams "winter wonder land" and I love it to death for that. Freeze Man's infectiously upbeat tone has the power to snap anyone out of a bad funk. It is worthy of every bit of praise that it has received. It's just that, well, as great as it is, there are two other cold themes I like better than this one.

02. Cold Man - Mega Man & Bass (SNES ver.)

The first time fans in the west were treated to this game was the 2003 GBA release. Mega Man & Bass was not an easy game on the SNES to begin with, often said to be one of the most unfairly cruel games in the series and the GBA screen crunch only made it that much more brutal. Tracks in Mega Man & Bass may not be as memorable as other games in the Classic series, but it still has some stand out tunes like the Opening Stage, Ground Man's level and of course, Cold Man's theme. I've seen some fans give this theme the subtitle hyperthermal jazz. The baseline that plays throughout the course is amazing but the guitar/saxophone solo at 29 seconds in is the true show stopper of this track.

01. Absolute Chill (Chill Man Stage) - Mega Man 10

While III composed the bulk of Mega Man 10's soundtrack, all of the Robot Master stage themes were handled by a composer that worked on the first eight console Mega Man titles. Mega Man 8's composer, Shusaku Uchiyama, was the sound composer for Chill Man's theme. When I first heard this theme back in 2010, I immediately fell in love with it and listened to it over and over and over. I love the lonely, isolated feeling that this track gives off and I'm amazed that Uchiyama manged to convey as much through these chiptunes. I love the into to this track and the cool down period at 59 seconds in. About a year after Mega Man 10's release, an unused version of Frost Man's theme reached our ears. The introduction of the track would go on to become part of Chill Man's music.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Favorite Tunes #167: Rise the Curtain

Christmas is right around the corner! I finished my Christmas shopping now I just gotta finish wrapping the gifts. If you were expecting some Christmas themed tunes, you'll have to wait. Christmas/winter themed jams will be posted next week. Until then, enjoy some music from The Lost Vikings, Pokemon Gold/Silver, a jazzy Mega Man arranged theme and more.

Degeneracy [STAGE4 - PLANT] - Battle Garegga (SAT)

Battle Garegga was never released outside of Japan and the Saturn port demands a pretty penny. M2 handled the PS4 port, which was just released in Japan. Battle Garegga has some exceptional music and the Saturn version boasts an arranged soundtrack by original composer Manabu Namiki along with Shinji Hosoe, Ayako Saso, and Hitoshi Sakimoto among others. I just love the jazzy feel of Stage 4.

Area 2 - Gun-Nac (NES)

Whenever people discuss the best shooter son the NES, Life Force is usually one of the firs games to spring to mind. And it is a perfectly fine choice. But the overlooked Gun-Nac is worth your time. A parody of Compile's Aleste shooters, Gun-Nac uses many of the gameplay elements from the Aleste titles including long levels and a sick power up system. Oh and we can't forget about the soundtrack.

Game Corner - Pokemon Gold/Silver (GBC)

I have not played enough of gen 2 of Pokemon to know what kinda games they've got going on in the game corner, but even if the games don't interest me that much, I'd probably hang around just so I can hear this sweet chiptune jazz.

Space Ship - The Lost Vikings (SNES)

Guide three vikings through space, desert, and other locals as they attempt to find their way back home. Might sound boring on paper but the execution made The Lost Vikings a fan favorite and one of Blizzard's fondly remembered titles. Matt Furniss really went to town on the music in this game. The game was released on multiple platforms but SNES soundtrack ranks pretty high for me.

Rise the Curtain (Rockman Medley) - ROCKMAN Utopia album

I feel I'd be remiss if I didn't include at least one Mega Man track since today is Mega Man's 29th anniversary. Hard to believe he'll be 30 next year. Regardless of the current state of Mega Man game affairs, I'm thankful that he has had plenty of good games for me to go back and experience and so many good tunes to listen to. This is an arranged medley of tunes from the game that started it all, Mega Man.

Wrecking Crew Medley - Super Smash Bros. for Wii U (Wii U)

Given the sheer scope of Nintendo's history, it can be hard for every single game to get some form of recognition in Super Smash Bros.. Having said that, Wrecking Crew was represented quite well in the Wii U version of Super Smash Bros. Wrecking Crew was given its very own unique stage, which is pretty impressive when you consider the series only has two games (Wrecking Crew '98 was never released outside of Japan.) Veteran composer Manabu Namiki wrote the jovial Wrecking Crew Medley and I have it cranked to the max in My Music.

Favorite Tunes Database

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Fantastic First Level Themes Vol. 7

They say you never forget your first. First kiss. First car. First level of a video game. We're here to focus on that last one. The first level of a video game can say a lot about the rest of the game. It can be a great way to grab the player for invested play time. For a lot of us, not only do we remember the first level because it is the start of a game, but because the music with that beginning level really stayed with us.

Thunder Landing - Super Contra (ARC)

Is there any better way to enter a level via dropping down from a helicopter? Yeah, probably, but it's still really freaking cool. After your feet are planted on the ground, you get to shoot anything and everything in your path. I've played the first stage of Super C so many times that the music quickly became a permanent part of my memory. The NES version is good, but I find the arcade music to be better.

Universe -Stage1- - Gradius V (PS2)

My personal favorite of the Gradius series, Gradius V is one of the finest shooters on the PS2. The music was handled by Hitoshi Sakimoto, mostly know for his RPG soundtracks, but he's no stranger to other genres as he wrote the score for the Saturn classic Radiant Silvergun. Making your way from base to the void of space, the music flows wonderfully with the transition of the two environments.

Sky Station Galaxy - Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii)

The Super Mario Galaxy games really know how to reel you in with the first galaxy. The first game kicked things off with Good Egg Galaxy, wowing players with an amazing orchestral piece and Super Mario Galaxy 2 opens up with Sky Station Galaxy, which has a wonderful arrangement of the game's main theme.

Ruins - Undertale (PC)

The fame of Undertale is not unlike that of Cave Story. Both games are indie titled developed by a one man team and both titles gained lots of wide spread attention. Your first area of exploration in Undertale is the Ruins, which serves as a tutorial. It's a pretty humble place as is the music that goes with it.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Licensed Games That Don't Suck Part 2

How's that for a catchy title?

Licensed video games have certainly come a long way. While it is far more common to see some TLC being put into most licensed products these days, there are still stinkers mucking up the video game scene. But we won't be talking about those crappy games here (for the most part, anyway). No, this is all bout the licensed video games that are actually good.

Chip & Dale Rescue Rangers (NES)

Solid Snake may have made using a box to hide in for cover popular but he's hardly a master at using it to defend himself. No, that honor goes to two pint sized rodents, Chip and Dale, members of the Rescue Rangers. Not only can the two titular heroes throw boxes at enemies, but they can hide in the box and approaching enemies will take damage just by touching the boxes they hide under. How does that work? Your guess is as good as mine, but the fact that it does is both cool and fun. Chip & Dale is a pretty easy game and it won't take you long to beat alone or with a friend but it does the cartoon series it is based off of justice and its a good time whole it lasts.

Batman (NES)

What? No HD Batman games are getting a mention here yet? Patience, grasshopper, we'll get there when we get there. Batman on the NES is based off of the 1989 hit Tim Burton Batman film. Like the film, the game is dark and gritty. Batman is also hard, like, really friggin' hard. He may be the world's greatest detective and packing a nifty wall jump skill, but he's gonna more than that to save Gotham from the Joker.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time (SNES)

This year's Mutants in Manhattan was another Turtles disappointment, serving to remind fans that the bulk of the good Turtles games were in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It was originally in the arcades, but many feel that the SNES port of Turtles in Time one up's the co-op version. Sure, the arcade version has four player support but the SNES version has the Technodrome a fully playable stage, exclusive bosses and some sweet mode 7 effects. This is arguably the best Turtles gaming experience you're gonna get.

GoldenEye 007 (N64)

OK, so GoldenEye may be a bit dated now, but the game is still far and away from being what you'd call bad. I feel the N64's odd controller design really worked in the favor of FPS on the system. Or that could just be a testament to how well designed GoldenEye is. Moving, aiming, strafing, it all felt natural in this in GoldenEye. When you weren't fulfilling mission objectives in the game's single player mode, you were killing your friends in GoldenEye's highly addictive multiplayer mode. Many a night was spent with my friends running around, shooting, nuking and blowing each other up. Online gaming may be large and in charge but local multiplayer should never be counted out.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Favorite Tunes #166: Vroom Vroom

This week's Favorite Tunes is kinda racing themed, but not 100%. You'll find a few tracks that don't have you getting into cars and listening tot he purring of engines. Anyhoo, enjoy the tunage.

Time Attack - SEGA GT 2002 (XB)

I wonder if SEGA will ever realize that they do have other racing IPs they can use that don't star a speedy blue hedgehog. Hey, I love Sonic as much as the next fun, but I wouldn't mind seeing Virtua Racing come back on SEGA GT. Jazzy racing music? Why yes, I'll have some, thank you.

Title - Paper Mario: Color Splash (Wii U)

Oh, Color Splash. You were hated so much before release because you resembled Sticker Star, a game the bulk of the Paper Mario fanbase despises with a fiery passion. But it turns it you're a pretty good game with tons of laugh out loud dialog and some truly splendid music. Not only do a I stop to look at the cute title screen intro, but the accompanying music is both catchy and charming.

Shake the Street - Turbo OutRun (ARC)

Other SEGA racers? Well, how about OutRun, probably the most famous one of the bunch. Of course you've also got OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast, my favorite of the series as well as Turbo OutRun, which has sadly, not seen a re-release. Well, that is what I would say, but Turbo OutRun will be appearing on SEGA's 3D Fukkoku Archives 3, which is the Japanese eqivilent to SEGA 3D Classisc Collecrtion. Here's hoping for a stateside release.

K. Rool's Acid Punk - Donkey Kong Land (GB)

Think the Donkey Kong Country gameplay can't be captured on the GB? Think again. Not only that, but David Wise managed to pump out some killer beats. Some tracks are chiptune versions of the SNES themes, while others are original compositions.

FFVIII Circuit - Chocobo Racing (PS)

You say you didn't know there was a Chocobo racer? There certainly was. It was even released outside of Japan. You get plenty of cheerful, high energy music with this game and it's pretty good stuff. I think I may actually like this arrangement of Final Fantasy VIII's Don't Be Afraid (the normal battle theme) more than the original.

Rainbow Road - Mario Kart: Double Dash!! (GCN)

It certainly isn't my favorite Mario Kart title (this is the game that gave the Spiny Shell it's OP status) but I wouldn't object if Nintendo did decide to revisit the two character kart gameplay. It actually took me some time to warm up to this theme. Upon some repeated listening, it grew on me. It combines the main theme of Double Dash with part of the theme of Mario Kart 64's Rainbow Road.

Favorite Tunes Database

Monday, December 5, 2016

Nintendo: Doing a Crappy Job on NES Classic Edition Restocks

I walked into my GameStop last week. They had a hefty supply of the latest amiibo wave. Rosalina, Wario and Waluigi were all there for the buying. Nintendo was even kind enough to ship my store a plethora of Ness, Lucas, Samus, Pit and Robins! Now that is great news for anyone not wanting to go online and paying shipping for an electronic toy. You know what I didn't see a nice chunk of? NES Classic Editions. The closest my store had to an NES Classic Edition was a display standee.

It isn't like Nintendo didn't know the NES Classic Edition was going to be a super hot item. Sure, they did launch that sucker just in time for the holidays, but even if we weren't about to roast some chestnuts or whatever it is you prefer to roast over an open fire, anyone with the slightest ounce of intelligence knows the NES Classic Edition would sell like hotcakes. Unlike a lot of these other systems that come with a ton of pre-installed games, a lot of TLC went into the NES Classic Edition. I only wish Nintendo went the same distance to make the freaking thing easier for us to get a our grubby hands on.

Available if you can actually find one and may
or may not be at an insane price.
Nintendo has done an absolutely craptastic job of making the NES Classic Edition obtainable by supplying retailers with abysmal amounts of units. I'm no retail expert but when the majority of stores are getting units that don't even make it into the double digits, then you know your supplier is effing up. Target may not be the king of video game sales, but they do have a pretty meaty video game section and it really is quite telling when a store like Target can't even get six NES Classic Editions.

At least this game is easy enough to find. Unlike the NES
Classic Edition, Nintendo made buying the latest Pokemon
game hassle free.
Yes, I'm fully aware that time and money goes into making a product. But Pokemon Sun/Moon is ridiculously easy to get your hands on. Nintendo made sure they had more than enough supply to meet the demand. Even if you didn't pre-order the game, you can easily walk into just about any store that sells video games and leave with a copy of Pokemon Sun/Moon. Bottom line? Nintendo felt like making sure they had enough copies of Sun/Moon to go around but couldn't be bothered to have the same attitude when it came to a little box containing some huge hit games that helped get them where they are today.

One of the worst things about this whole ordeal is that since Nintendo can't get with the dang program on this, they enable scalpers to go about their notoriously aggravating practices of buying what little NES Classic Editions are out there and then re-selling them for astronomically high prices. The other bad bit is that retailers often have to feel the wrath of angry customers that come into stores looking for an NES Classic Edition only to be told that they are sold out. Human beings aren't always the easiest to deal with and even though it is the most wonderful time of the year, people tend to show their ugly sides when it comes to Christmas shopping.

Not long ago, I said that most people would have to wait for the NES Classic Edition to be restocked. Since Nintendo's restock game is terribly weak, I suppose anyone that wants an NES Classic Edition has to be in the right place at the right time or be prepared to wait for a good, long while. I think your patience will be rewarded. Eventually. 

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Favorite Tunes #165: Battle Against a True Hero

Due to my work schedule being switched around and it being the Thanks Giving weekend last week, I decided to take a one week break from the blog. Welp, breaks over and time to head back to work. On the blog, that is. Enjoy the latest Favorite Tunes.

Gau - Final Fantasy VI (SNES)

Despite Gau's feral, beastly appearance lurks a kind, gentle soul, which is pretty amazing when you consider that his father abandon him, leaving Gau to grow up alone and fend for himself out on the Veldt. Even when Gau gets to meet his father years later, he isn't angry or bitter with him even though he has every right to be.

Quiet Storm - Racing Lagoon (PS)

We move from one Square Enix game to another. Racing Lagoon brought in some RPG elements into the racing genre and the game never saw a release outside of Japan. The soundtrack has a lot of techno with some jazz thrown in for good measure.

A Solitude that Asks Nothing in Return - Guilty Gear X (ARC, DC, PS2)

For me, the Guilty Gear games have some of slickest 2D sprites in a fighting game. It also helps that the series has a killer fighting engine and while some of the character designs are pretty out there, I feel they ultimately work to the series' favor. And who doesn't like the plethora of sick rock and metal beats that these games keep feeding us?

Battle Against a True Hero - Undertale (PC)

Well, would you look at that, Undertale shows up again in Favorite Tunes. What can I say, I LOVE this game's soundtrack. For the rock, chiptune and orchestral lover, this game's music has something for everyone and it feels like a love letter to the evolution of game music. Without spoiling anything, this particular battle theme is reserved one one of the game's most memorable clashes.

Multiplayer - Dragon Ball Z: Tenkaichi Tag Team (PSP)

Most fans that watched the Dragon Ball Z in Japanese are quite harsh towards Bruce Faulconer's rock music in place of Shunsuke Kikuchi's classical style. Ironically, music in many DBZ games beyond the 32-bit era are filled with a lot of rock and metal themes. Originally in Tenkaichi Tage Team, this song is also played on Namek in the HD version of DBZ Budokai 3.

Break Out - Mega Man Zero 3 (GBA)

If you're trying to get the best rank after a mission, the Mega Man Zero games just became even harder. Known for not treating the player with kid gloves, the Zero games have a step difficulty that rivals the most brutal Mega Man games. These games were developed Inti Creates, who also developed Mega Man 9 and 10, the former, of which was particularly cruel. Think about that while you listen to this rocking intro stage theme.

Favorite Tunes Database