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Saturday, January 28, 2017

Favorite Tunes #173: Clash on the Big Bridge

We're almost done with the month of January, meaning there's just a little over a month until the Nintendo Switch releases. Even if I can't get one on launch day, I've got more than enough to keep me busy, both with games and game music. This week we've got music from Chrono Trigger, Gravity Rush and Gimmick! among others.

Clash on the Big Bridge ~FFXII Version~ - Final Fantasy XII (PS2)

Among the copious amount of thrilling battle themes from this massive series that is going on thirty years old, Clash on the Big Bridge from Final Fantasy V is a huge fan favorite. Hitoshi Sakimoto is a master at composing music and I never knew how much I wanted an arrangement of FFV's most memorable battle done by him until I had heard it. The classic 16-bit theme is given the orchestral arrangement and it is amazing.

Yoshi and Cookies - Yoshi's Woolly World (Wii U)

Yoshi's Woolly World was one of my favorite games of this console generation and I'm excited to go through the game again when it releases on February 3rd on the 3DS. (That Poochy amiibo is SO cute!) Anyone that has played Kirby's Epic Yarn will recognize the beginning of Yoshi and Cookies. Woolly World was a a bit of a spiritual successor to the aforementioned game, so it was nice to see a musical homage to it.

Volt Krueger - The Bouncer (PS2)

Another Square Enix title. The Bouncer was a launch title for the PS2. The game game didn't set the world on fire, but it had some nice ideas like multiple endings and allowing the player to switch characters frequently. The Bouncer has exceptional voice acting and each playable character has their own theme that plays when you fight as them.

Strange Memories of Death [Unused] - Gimmick! (NES)

No matter how many times I listen to the music from Gimmick!, I'm amazed. The NES library is full of some really great soundtracks, but Gimmick! is truly on a whole different level. This is actually an unused theme that can be heard in the game's sound test. One listen to this baby and you'll be left wondering why it went unused.

Black Omen - Chrono Trigger (SNES)

Boy, I sure am giving Square Enix a lot of love in this week's Favorite Tunes. The Clockwork album I've been listening to did having something to do with a track from Chrono Trigger making the cut. It reminded me just how amazing that game's score is, even the tracks that don't play as often as others like Black Omen.

Old Town - Gravity Rush (PSV, PS4)

Originally released on the PS Vita, Gravity Rush recieved a re-release under the name Gravity Rush Remastered, giving the game even better visuals and exposure to wider audience on the PS4. The game's absolutely wonderful soundtrack was written by Kohei Tanaka and anyone that watches One Piece will know of his work.

Favorite Tunes Database

Friday, January 27, 2017

Clockwork: A Chrono Trigger & Cross Tribute Album

Life is a journey of discovery. Discovering new friends, new interest. That feeling of intrigue when you come across a band of video game musicians you've never heard before. That happened to me the other night when I stumbled upon the Pixel Mixers. They've got a few albums out but what I've heard of the first album I found, Clockwork: A Chrono Trigger & Cross Tribute Album was enough to  make me fast fan of their work.

Clockwork is a digital three disc album covering songs from both Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross, two games that have some of the best dang video game music in the medium. What I love about this album aside from the fact that it covers music from both games, is how varied the music is. Clockwork has acoustic, rock, metal, jazz, synth and numerous other arrangements across the three discs. And it is really freaking good, too! The original melody of the songs cover is never lost even when these guys are putting their own spin on another person's work.

Clockwork originally released in May of 2016 and I'm kicking myself for not knowing of it a lot sooner. The album is free and it has also been uploaded to the group's YouTube page. Whether you decide to download it or listen to it off YouTube, Clockwork is worth checking out either way.

Clockwork: A Chrono Trigger & Cross Tribute Album

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Remix of the Week: Underground (Super Mario Bros.)

Do I even need to go on about how great Super Mario Bros. music is? It is so catchy and infectious that even those that don't game are familiar with it. The short but sweet Underground theme is the most popular Super Mario Bros. musical piece, second only to the Ground theme. The Consouls have done a sweet jazz arrangement of it. I think Koji Kondo would love this if he heard it.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Top 5 Most Wanted Nintendo Switch Games

Despite the concerns I have have for the Nintendo Switch, I am very much excited for the system. I want Nintendo's new system to be a success, enjoyed by a much broader audience than what the Wii U had. Now anyone that knows about video games knows that it is the games that make the system.

05. Fire Emblem Warriors

Hyrule Warriors allowed players to battle it out Dynasty Warriors style as their favorite Zelda characters. Fire Emblem Warriors is set to give players similar treatment. With such a rich and diverse cast of Fire Emblem stars, giving Nintendo's strategy game the Dynasty Warriors treatment seems quite natural. There's even a 3DS version in the works for those that want to slash armies up on the go! I cannot wait to fight for my friends with sick Fire Emblem rock tunes.

04. ARMS

Hey, look! A new IP from Nintendo! They never put those out. All sarcasm aside, ARMS intrigues me with its cartoonish character designs and Stretch Armstrong-like boxing. the 411 on ARMS is completely known, but what the reveal trailer along with what was shown was enough to whet my appetite for more. I know what some of you are thinking. "Great, another waggle fest Nintendo title." While you can use the Joy-Cons to throw and control your punches, ARMS does support standard controls for those that don't like to fling their arms (pun not intended) about.

03. Super Bomberman R

In the words of Mad Stan, "Blow it up! Blow it all up!" When Konami basically gave console gaming a giant middle finger to go frolic in mobile and pachinko slot land, the last thing we expected from them was a Bomberman game and on a console, no less. What's more, Konami got members from Hudson that worked on previous Bomberman titles to bring us Super Bomberman R, the first Bomberman game in seven years. After getting way too dark and edgy for his own good in Bomberman: Act Zero, Bomberman has returned to being cute as a button and most importantly, making stuff blow up. The single player mode can be enjoyed with a friend, but the real reason anyone is going to be grabbing Super Bomberman R is for one reason: multiplayer. Up to eight players can nuke each other to kingdom come either locally or online. If you think Splatoon and Mario Kart brings the salt, you haven't seen anything yet. Just try not to accidentally kill yourself with your own bombs. It happens more often than people would like to admit.

02. Splatoon 2

The original Splatoon is one of my favorite games of the eighth generation of consoles and one that I still play frequently. There is also the matter of it earning Nintendo a sizable chunk of change, becoming the company's most popular new IP since Wii Sports. Not too surprising to find that Nintendo has been hard at work on a sequel. Splatoon 2 will boast new maps, new hairstyles, and new weapons, some with new techniques and maneuvers to help you evade campers or get the jump on your enemies. Of course older maps from the original Splatoon will return along with all the old weapons. The core gameplay of covering turf remains as does swimming and hiding in your own ink. It doesn't get a lot of mention, but the first Splatoon also did have a pretty fun solo player campaign to go through when you weren't inking it out in four on four online matches so I'm hoping Nintendo improves upon that in Splatoon 2 as they work on making multiplayer even better.

01. Super Mario Odyssey 

When Mario popped out of that sewer and starting running around totally-not-New-York-City, my jaw hit the floor. Never before had we seen Mario in such a setting, but he romped through it as if it were the Mushroom Kingdom, leaping off buildings, bouncing from taxis and just having a grand old time. Mario also ran through forests, deserts and some vegetable like world where he could lift turnips, something we haven't seen him do since Super Mario Bros. 2. All the while Mario looked darn good doing it. I mean, Mario's hair and overalls have never looked this good! Say what you want about the Switch being under powered compared to the PS4 and XBO, but Nintendo knows how to make their games look freaking great regardless of the tech under the hood. Mario's hate seems to be a sentient being and he can even toss it at enemies and use it as an extra platform to jump from. And is Bowser finally going to claim Peach for his own? The worlds look possitively massive and super fun to explore, making Super Mario Odyssey my number one most anticipated Nintendo Switch title.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Favorite Tunes #172: Tipping the Scales

Holy balls of yarn! Did you catch that Fire Emblem Direct on the 18th? I'm not even the world's biggest Fire Emblem fan and I'm stoked for all that content! This Favorite Tunes is sprinkled with a dash of Fire Emblem music, Transformers: Devastation and some Metal Gear.

Battle Theme (Opponent) - Fire Emblem Gaiden (NES)

Usually I don't post music from a game that was mentioned in a previous Favorite Tunes, but I decided to make an exception for since Fire Emblem Gaiden is getting a beefy remake on the 3DS under the name Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia. I'm more familiar with the game's soundtrack than I am the actually game, with the music being some of the best composed on the NES. Needless to say, I'm really looking forward to the remake's arranged score. I recommend listening to Gaiden's original soundtrack to familiarize yourself with the themes for the upcoming game.

Motormaster - Transformers: Devastation (Multi)

Platinum Games licensed offerings haven't always been the best. 2016's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turltes: Mutants in Manhattan, a title I was really looking forward to, ended up being another mediocre Turtles game. Thankfully, their Transformers 2015 outing was a lot better, featuring a killer '80s style rock soundtrack.

Splattack! - Splatoon (Wii U)

The original Splatoon was a huge success for Nintendo, so much so, that it really isn't too surprising that Splatoon 2 will be landing on the Nintendo Switch just two years after the original. I cannot wait to ink turf and listen to Splatoon 2's soundtrack. In the meantime, Splatoon's original tunes will stay fresh in my mind. Pun, not intended.

Hell Field (Overworld Theme) - Gargoyle's Quest (GB)

Firebrands are some of the most annoying enemies in the Ghost 'n Goblins series and back in 1990, Capcom gave these life drainers their very own game. Regardless of your feelings towards these flying pests, Gargoyle's Quest is a standout title on the original Game Boy and you should definitely hop on the 3DS eShop and download it if you haven't yet. The game's soundtrack was handled by Yuki Iwai and Yoko Shimomura. Man, this theme is freaking beautiful.

-!- Alert - Metal Gear (NES)

For years the NES version of Metal Gear was the only way to legally play the first installment of the Metal Gear Saga. This all changed in 2006 when Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence, an updated version of MGS3 was released on the PS2  and included the MSX2 version of Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake as bonuses. The NES version of MG is often bashed by Hideo Kojima and fans for being an inferior port of the MSX2 game. It may not be perfect, but the NES music definitely trumps the MSX2 tunes. Alert just sounds so much better on the NES and this theme really needs to be arranged.

Draven's Valley Pass - Arcana (SNES)

Developed and published by HAL, Arcana is a dungeon crawling, card based RPG. Before Jun Ishikawa and Hirokazu Ando  worked magic together writing music for the numerous Kirby games, they collaborated on Arcana and one need only listen to a few tracks from this game to hear that Kirby vibe. Draven's Valley Pass is a good example of why short and repetitive, doesn't always mean bad.

Favorite Tunes Database

Friday, January 20, 2017

Game Art #77: Fire Emblem Gallery

The last time Fire Emblem had a spot all to itself in Game Art was back in Game Art #53. With the recent Fire Emblem Direct getting me jazzed for the coming games, I wanted this series to take center stage in this installment of Game Art. Plus, I had been wanting to showcase it again, so here we go.

By Maeka
By Miyuki Ruria
By Senano Yu
By Mami Matsunaga
By Yotsui Inabaro
By Kinoeneko
By tsuaii
By Lowah
By Hisame
By Hiyata

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Remix of the Week: An Underlying Problem (Shovel Knight)

Insert high praise for Shovel Knight here. Well, now that we've gotten that out of the way, we can move on to this week's remix. In all seriousness, all of the wonderful things you've heard about Shovel Knight are true. I'm pleased that the game was received by fans and critics so well and that it was given a physical release.

This week's remix is from gvgkid and he brings us what I guess you could describe as an orchestral rock arrangement of one of my favorite Shovel Knight jams, An Underlying Problem. His remix is the bees knee, all that and a bag of chips and every other horribly dated slang terminology you can think of to describe it.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Concerns for the Nintendo Switch

As much as I love the Wii U, I cannot deny the fact that the system was a huge bomb, barely selling over 13 million units in the span of four years. Nintendo had probably hoped to recapture the success that it had with the Wii, but the company's poor marketing left many confused as to what the console was, often mistaking it for an add on for the Wii, when in reality, the Wii U was a new system entirely. While I am excited about the Nintendo Switch, there are a number of things that have caused me to a bit cautious about the upcoming system.

It sucks that Nintendo has adopted the pay to play online deal, but it isn't really surprising. However, it is downright insulting that Nintendo is going to "give" those that pay to play online a free virtual console game every month for one month. And once the month is over, they are going to take the game away. Yeah, Nintendo's version of giving you a free game for paying to play online is essentially letting you borrow a digital game. You don't even get to keep the sucker. At least Sony throws some free games your way on PlayStation Plus. Granted, they may not be the greatest, but hey, at least the games are free. Not even the most die hard Nintendo fan can defend such an appalling method of giving Switch online subscribers "free" games. With Nintendo's massive catalog of retro games they could really upstage Sony with by giving out actual free games, but no, like so many other things, Nintendo had to go and screw that up.

Now that we actually have to pay to play online, Nintendo's servers better have some pretty darn awesome connections. I played some Super Smash Bros. for Wii U online a week ago and my experience was a lag filled mess. My Splatoon matches last week were also bogged down by lag. Nothing like knowing you were out of range of a Inkzooka blast or a Kraken only to get splatted because the dang game is chugging along. I'll take lag free matches in Splatoon 2, thank you very much.

Don't sweat it if you can't get a Switch to play Breath of the Wild.
It will also be available on the Wii U.
Getting your hands on a Switch is already an uphill battle. 2 million pre-orders are already sold out and this is after Nintendo said they would have enough supply to meet demand. We've got another NES Classic Edition on our hands and I can already see scalpers scooping up the Switch and selling it for far more money than the original asking price. If you think $300 is a lot of money to drop on a Switch wait until you see those greedy scalper prices. I'm actually amazed Nintendo managed to sell over 200,000 NES Classic Editions, since finding one of the blasted things is freaking impossible. That would mean, Nintendo had to actually produce 200,000 units. And yet Nintendo can fill 2 million Switch pre-orders but cannot get an ample supply of NES Classic Edition consoles in stores? Huh. I have to admit that it is impressive that Switch pre-orders are sold out, which shows there are plenty of people out there that want the system, but Nintendo has done a terrible job with NES Classic Edition restocks so I have little reason to believe they'll keep the Switch in steady supply. After the Wii launched in 2006, consumers had a difficult time getting their hands on one. Demand for the system was high, but if we've learned anything from initial amiibo waves and the NES Classic Edition its that Nintendo is not above trickling out a small amount of product to increase demand.

I suppose I could also mention the Switch launch line up. 1,2 Switch has novelty that could get old really fast and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is also releasing on the Wii U on the same day as the Switch. Obviously Breath of the Wild will run better on the Switch but paying $300 to play a smoother running game is a bit too rich for my blood. Super Bomberman R looks and sounds like it will be really good and the Switch will be the only place to blow up friends and strangers in Bomberman's comeback game. While the Switch launch isn't spectacular by any means, it is in no way shape or form, a system killer. The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One and didn't have launches worth writing home about either.

We've seen the list of third party support for the Switch but how much do you wanna bet that EA will give the system two or three games and then bail as they did on the Wii U? We're seeing a beevy of ports that were already successful in past console generations as well. But again, in the Switch's defense, PS4 and XBO is high res port city of previous gen games.

I love the games Nintendo makes and I'll be getting a Switch eventually so I can play the games for it. But I'd be remiss if I didn't acknowledge mistakes that could potentially hurt the system. Nintendo is often they're own worst enemy, stabbing themselves and then twisting the knife.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Bomberman Returns

Konami, reviled as one of, if not the worst company in the video game industry dropped a bomb after Thursday night's Nintendo Switch Presentation. Unlike all the other bombs they've dropped, this one was good. because it was dropped by the cutest force of mass destruction in gaming, Bomberman. That's right, boys and girls, everyone's favorite little bomb planter is back in Super Bomberman R.

When the Switch presentation was closing, a number of games were flashed on the screen and I caught a one second showing of what I knew had to be a Bomberman game. What would make me assume such a thing? Simple: the way the explosion was portrayed. Everyone knows traditional bomb blasts in a Bomberman game go in a straight line when against a wall or make a cross explosion when nothing surrounds the bomb. Because of the unique way Bomberman's bombs go boom, anyone can recognize a bomb set by the little guy without being on top of the screen. Still, that one second I caught was hard to believe. A new Bomberman game? In the words of an anime character with his/her jaw to the floor, describing the someone's awesome power, impossible!

I thought the days of us seeing Bomberman and all of Hudson's previously owned franchises were long gone. After all, Konami did give console gaming a giant middle finger and ran off to make pachinko machines. Konami did say that they wanted to win gamer's trust back and given how they've pretty much taken a giant dump all of their franchises the past few years, one can see why most would look back at such words with arms crossed and eyes rolled, if they even bothered to look back at all. Well, I gotta say, bringing back one of my favorite robots in video games is a very good way to start rebuilding positive relationships with gamers.

Now I'm sure anyone that's played a FPS or even a third person shooter has taken an opponent out by means of  bomb. Yeah, you shoot stuff and people in shooters but bombs are more often than not, always a weapon in your arsenal. Blowing up strangers and your friends in Bomberman is completely different from blowing them up in shooters. In a Bomberman game, you are locked into a room where all players can see each other. The only means of taking out the opposition is by blowing them to smithereens. Sure, you collect power ups to make yourself a force to be reckoned with but when all is said and done, the bomb ends their pathetic lives. You don't stab them or shoot them, you blow them up and it is one of the most satisfying things in the world. There really is nothing quite like a tension filled multiplayer match of Bomberman.

Up to eight players can nuke each other in multiplayer.
If this isn't living, I don't know what is.

My friends and I had so much fun playing Super Bomberman, Super Bomberman 2, Bomberman Online and Bomberman Generations. You have not lived until you've swarmed your buddies with a line of bombs, see the look of panic on his/her face and let out maniacal laughter as their Bomberman dies a comedic death. Before GoldenEye and Perfect Dark, the first two Super Bomberman titles were our favorite four player games. Super Bomberman R supports up to eight players in multiplayer matches! I never got to play Saturn Bomberman, which allowed up to ten players so this will be my first time playing a Bomberman game with more than four players. Needless to say, I am very excited about it. Eight player multiplayer in Super Bomberman R is bot for local AND online.

If you get blown up, you can get revenge by dropping
bombs from outside the arena.
Bombemrn has always focused on multiplayer with a few exceptions (Bomberman Hero on the N64) but there's also a single player campaign that supports c-op play. I am a little interested to see what its about. I love the game's cutesy art style and cartoonish voice overs. I thinking going through it just for that alone will be worth the trouble.

No doubt many are concerned since Super Bomberman R is being published by Konami. Not only did Nintendo come together with Konami to help make Super Bomberman happen, but the game is being developed by former team members of Hudson so that does make me breath a sigh of relief. I'm hoping Konami doesn't decide to be Konami and find a way to screw this up because Super Bomberman R is one of my most anticipated Switch titles.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Favorite Tunes #171: Fake Mermaids that are Fake

Did you tune in for the Nintendo Switch Presentation? It had its share of high and low points but I'm even more excited for the system. Some of the games I really, really want aren't available at launch but at least Breath of the Wild will be. The Switch presentation did influence some of my track picks for this week's Favorite Tunes. Enjoy!

Counterfeit Mermaids - Shantae: Half-Genie Hero (Multi)

I just started playing Shantae: Half-Genie Hero and I freaking love it! This is actually my first Shantae game and I'm very pleased to start with this one. Jake Kaufman has never turned in a bad soundtrack and his work on Half-Genie Hero is of exceptional quality. I was temped to listen to the music before starting the game up but I'm glad I waited.

BGM 1 - Super Bomberman 2 (SNES)

There were a total of five Super Bomberman games on the SNES, but only two of them were released outside of Japan. Those two Super Bomberman titles were among some of the most fun I've ever had on Nintendo's 16-bit baby. Regrettably Super Bomberman 2 dropped the two player support that the single player mode offered from the first game, but the multiplayer mode was still excellent.

Pleather for Breakfast - No More Heroes (Wii)

Travis Touchdown is making a return! OK, so the translator completely botched that Suda 51 segment, but hey! Another No More Heroes game! Anyhoo, No More Heroes were some of the best third party offerings on the Wii and the music was to die for.

In Pursuit - Final Fantasy Tactics (PS, PSP)

I'm losing count of how many times I've gushed over this game's glorious music. It is just that dang good. Final Fantasy Tactics is an often praised praised game in spite of having a story that can be quite the convoluted mess while still being intriguing. The deep tactical gameplay system certainly doesn't hurt.

Midna's Lament - The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (GCN, Wii, Wii U)

Sassy and bossy, Midna has gone on to become one of the most popular characters in The Legend of Zelda series. Fans were all too excited to play as her in Hyrule Warriors (she is SO good) and she's a cool assist Trophy in Super Smash Bros. Speaking of which, her very somber theme was included as stage music. Nothing like knocking someone off the stage to this theme.

Fight 1 - Fire Emblem Gaiden (NES)

Fire Emblem Warriors? As in Fire Emblem in the style of Dynasty Warriors? Yes, please! I thought it was a good idea for The Legend of Zelda to take that route, but with Fire Emblem, it is even more fitting. You may be listening to this track and thinking "Hey, I've heard this before!" Yup, this track was arranged for the Super Smash Bros. Wii U score.

Favorite Tunes Database

Friday, January 13, 2017

Thoughts on the Nintendo Switch 2017 Presentation

After what seemed like an eternity of waiting, the Nintendo Switch Presentation has finally come and gone. Questions were answered, more questions were raised and thankfully, some of those pesky rumors have been shattered.

The launch date was announced early during the presentation. We all know the console would launch in March when Nintendo dropped the reveal trailer back in October, but they never gave us an exact date. That release date is now March 3, which isn't far off at all. I was thinking perhaps later in the month, but Nintendo wants us to get our hands on that thing sooner rather than later it seems.

What everyone and their mother wanted to know was the price of the Switch. Some were placing their bets at $250 but Nintendo revealed it to be $300. I can already see some gamers crying foul at the price of the system because "It's under powered." I love how they say this based off rumors when specs haven't even been divulged yet. I was hoping Nintendo would give us some specs during the presentation, but I guess they didn't want to bother with that during the event. The system is powerful enough to run the Unreal 4 engine on it and a certain highly anticipated game that will launch on March 3rd looks drop dead gorgeous. So even if it isn't as powerful as the PS4 or XBO, it looks to be packing some pretty impressive hardware under that sleek-looking hood.

1 2 Switch looks to be what Wii Sports and Nintendo Land was for the Wii and Wii U respective. That is to say, 1 2 Switch is a game that demonstrates the abilities of the Joy-Con controller. It is interesting to see a video game that is played by not even looking at the screen but I can easily see the hardcore crowd dismissing this game and labeling it as casual trash. Admittedly, it didn't really wow me during the presentation and I'm not too keen on checking it out but I'll probably give it a look although, I'd much rather have another entry in the Wii Sports series.

Arms. Hey, look at that, it is another one of those new Nintendo IPs that the company never gives us! I really like the character design and concept of this game and can't wait for more info to drop on it. The idea of using your actual arms to control the speed of your punches in game is intriguing  and will no doubt make for some sick mix ups.

Who isn't hyped for Splatoon 2? Not only am I happy to see new hairstyles for both Inklings but we're getting new stages, new weapons, new specials and new moves! That roll looks sick but I can see it being punished. Still, it is nice to have some evasive move that isn't whipping out your special or super jumping away.

I'd be a horrible, horrible human being if I didn't talk about The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. I don't think there was a single jaw that was not dropped. I mean, holy crap, that trailer was freaking awesome! The word epic is thrown around so much these days, but it definitely qualifies for this game. And it is a launch game? People were already hyped about the Switch before but Breath of the Wild being a launch title just kicked it in to overdrive. That right there, just made the Switch a day one purchase for a lot of gamers.

Mario games have always been fun but Super Mario Odyssey looks really fun. Like, Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario 3D World fun. I never thought I'd see Mario running and jumping around what looked like New York city. And he looked really good doing it, too! HD Mario games look better and better. And it is an open world Super Mario title, the first in the series.

Third party support seems to be very strong for the Switch and I want it to stay that way. One of Nintendo's biggest problems since the N64 days has been third party support on their home consoles. Sure. they've had it before but not like what we're seeing with the Switch. Nintendo has always had strong first party offerings and I'd love to see them have the kinda first party support they did back on the SNES and for the first time in a long time, it is looking that way. March is gonna be one lively month for gamers.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Remix of the Week: Forest Interlude (Donkey Kong Country)

As much as the recommendations side bar on YouTube can be irritating, it has shown me some worthwhile content from time to time. This evening, I listened to an amazing jazz arrangement of Forest Interlude, one of my favorite tracks from Donkey Kong Country 2 and an all around great piece of relaxing music. This particular arranger was handled by a group of guys called The Consouls. These guys knocked it out of the freaking park. Not only is their covering of the original track solid, but the breaks away from the original tune are outstanding. David Wise would love the work they've done. What's even better is that you get to see them actually perform the song in the video below.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Nintendo Switch Rumor Burnout

Oh, man, is it January 12th, yet? Well according to the date this editorial went up, the answer is a big, fat, resounding, "MMMMNOPE!" Why do I want January 12th to get here? Because that's the day Nintendo holds their Nintendo Switch event, something that I (really, really, reeeeaaaallly) hope will put an end to these freaking Switch rumors.

You cannot take one step without tripping over a plethora of rumors regarding Nintendo's new console. Super Smash Bros. is a launch title! It has more power than the PS4 and Xbox One! It makes your breakfast and cleans your apartment while you're at work and if you get sick of working, it goes to work for you and then realizes that it is better than you in every single way possible and joins in with other Nintendo Switches and takes over the world! OK, so that isn't true, but that's just how simple it is to make up a Switch rumor.

We know what the Switch looks like. We know it will release this year. We know it has some sizable third part support. Now what do we know beyond that? Nothing.

The problem with all these Switch rumors is that, aside from them being all over the place with various fansites and *ahem* professional gaming news sites running them, is that they are just that, rumors. They hold no truth to them whatsoever. Until proven otherwise rumors are false information and I am very much sick to death of all of these dang Switch rumors.

All of the outlets reporting on these Switch rumors could hold off and do a little more investigating to find out what's up. But hey, if they did that, they wouldn't get all that web traffic because in case you haven't heard, Switch rumors are highly trending these days. In other words, easy click bait.

Until Nintendo comes out and gives us the 411 on the Nintendo Switch, none of these rumors can nor should they be taken seriously. While Nintendo's Switch presentation on the 12th probably won't kill off all Switch rumors, I'm hoping it dials things back considerably.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Songs to Smash By Part 1

Before Super Smash Bros. released on the 3DS and Wii U, I did a recurring feature on the blog where I talked about songs I'd like to see in those games. I've chosen to resurrect that feature. Nintendo releases a Super Smash Bros. title every console generation and rumors are all over the place about a new Smash entry or a port of the Wii U title for the Switch. Whenever and wherever the new Smash title hits, these are tracks I'd like to get my Smash on to.

For Kirby Stages

Kirby got some nice arrangements in 3DS and Wii U Smash, but some of the best songs from Return to Dream Land were shockingly left out. I mean, how you you not include battle ready beats like Under My Control and C-R-O-W-N-E-D? That's just not right. Kirby: Planet Robbot has some outstanding original music and I can only hope that Lovely Yellow Va-Va-Vrooms, Dried -up Sea and White Office March make the game.

For Pac-Man

The cherry-chasing-dot-muncher not only served as a representative of his own series, but Bandai Namco games as a whole. I was quite pleased with his selection of music in Smash 4 but I'd love to see more games get represented. Ridge Racer's original Ridge Racer theme is so bouncy and cheerful that it would fight right at home in a Pac-Man stage. Over the Highway from Ridge Racer Revolution is another high energy track and Pac-Man could sure use a track like Maximum Zone if only for it being so unexpected. Klonoa definitely needs some love and if only one track from the first game makes it, it would have to be the excellent The Windmill Song. I would turn that sucker all the way up in My Music. Tekken beats are always hot and with seven main games and a few spin off titles, there's a lot to choose from. I adore Tekken 2's PlayStation soundtrack and Morning Field is just gorgeous. To give Waka Waka another adrenaline filled track , Tekken Tag Tournament 2's Nina can't be beat. I'm really hoping Pac-Man returns for another round of Smash.

For Mega Man

The Blue Bomber was treated rather well in Smash, especially in terms of music. If one theme from the Game Boy is in need of more appreciation it has got to be the Final Battle theme from Mega Man IV. That is GB rock at its finest. Dr. Wily Stage Boss from Mega Man 7 has always been one of my absolute favorite boss themes from the entire Mega Man franchise and I would love to launch opponents off the stage to it. Breaking away from the Classic series, if any music from the X games gets included, we've gotta go with the Opening Stage from Mega Man X as well as Armored Armadillo Stage. Show me a gamer that wouldn't want to have listen to Blaze Heatnix Stage from Mega Man X6 while playing Smash and I'll show you a liar. Blazing Internet from Mega Man: Network Transmission is grade A smashing material. Like Pac-Man, I so want the Blue Bomber to show up for the next Smash game.

For Donkey Kong Stages

Jungle Japes is a fantastic Donkey Kong Country song. Having said that, there were way too many remixes of it in Smash Wii U. I mean, there are tons of other themes to choose from like Fear Factory from the original Donkey Kong Country. Angry Aztec from Donkey Kong 64 would be one of my most frequently heard songs if it were included in a Smash. And what about the awesome soundtrack from Diddy Kong Racing? The fact that tracks like Ancient Lake or Pirate Lagoon or really any music from that much loved game has not been included is just criminal. Lest we not forget the amazing music from Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze, which had some excellent ambitent music and jungle themes, but also some killer rock and metal tracks. After seeing the full song lists for both Donkey Kong stages in Smash, I was very disappointed that Pompy, the Presumptions and Bashmaster, the Unbreakable were left out. This needs to be fixed for the new Smash.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Favorite Tunes #170: 2017 is Here

2017 is upon us. I'm going to be getting a PS4 soon and I'm really looking forward to Nintendo has in store for us with the Switch. I'm also excited about the all the great soundtracks that are sure to accompany this year's games. Let the first Favorite Tunes of 2017 commence!

Beyond the Speed Of... - Sonic Runners (Mobile)

Sonic Runners may be no more, but at least you can still enjoy the game's highly energetic soundtrack. Tomoya Ohtani has been scoring music in Sonic games for years and I've yet to be letdown by his work. He could have easily phoned in the soundtrack for Sonic Runners since it was on a mobile, but he gave us music that is on par with the bigger budget Sonic titles.

Battle Theme arrange from FINAL FANTASY X - Dissidia Final Fantasy (AC)

The third game in the line of Dissidia Final Fantasy titles, this is the first entry to debut in arcades. Perhaps it is for this reason that the music has plenty, electronica, rock and metal. That may be to this dislike of fans that prefer more orchestral Final Fantasy music, but I found myself liking the music from this one quite a bit. This metalized version of Final Fantasy X's Normal Battle theme is freaking sick.

Relax and Reflect - Final Fantasy XV (PS4, XBO)

In development since 2006, Final Fantasy XV, at long last released in 2016. Nobuo Uematsu hasn't been the sole composer of a Final Fantasy game since Final Fantasy IX and while I do miss his compositions, Square Enix has found admirable replacements for him. Yoko Shimomura is the primary composer for Final Fantasy XV and you can spot her Kingdom Hearts style of music in a lot of this game's tracks.

Select Theme - Ice Hockey (NES)

The NES had a few early sports titles like Tennis and Baseball. Both of those games were butt, if you were wondering, but Ice Hockey, which debuted in the late 1980s was pretty ace and I'm completely baffled that it was not included on the NES Classic Edition. The game's music was written by the great Soyo Oka, who would later go on to compose music for Pilotwings and Super Mario Kart.

Ship - Final Fantasy (NES)

Yes, I know I'm giving Final Fantasy a lot of love in this week's Favorite Tunes, but during the planning stages of this one, I already had this track listed as one of my pick's before Dissidia Final Fantasy became a part of it. This is the final Final Fantasy tune this week. Beat up a gang of pirates in the second town you explore and you'll be rewarded with your first mode of transportation, a pirate ship, letting you sail the seasons. It doesn't protect you from random battles, but more of the world is opened up to you as is this super peppy theme.

White Office March - Kirby: Planet Robobot (3DS)

Of the two Kirby games to release on the 3DS, Planet Robobot is easily my favorite. The Robot Armor Kirby can access has the ability to scan foes, mimicking Kirby's Copy ability, albeit on a bigger scale. Planet Robot also has some pretty rad music. I'm really hoping this dub-step style track makes it into the next Super Smash Bros.

Favorite Tunes Database