10 April 2013

Episode 128: Launch Games

For Episode 128, Brent and Rob focus only on titles which were released the same year their respective consoles were released, exploring the way composers approached working with new hardware.  And, they do it chronologically, so you can hear the technological progress over the years.  Full track listing below.




Game - Composer - Song - Company - Console - Year (North American release unless otherwise indicated)

Donkey Kong - Yukio Kaneoka - Title BGM - Nintendo - Famicom - 1983

Donkey Kong Jr. - Yukio Kaneoka - Level 1 BGM - Nintendo - Famicom - 1983

Great Soccer - unknown - Main Game - Sega - Sega Mark III - 1985

Bikkuriman World - Shinichi Sakamoto - Round 1 - Hudson Soft/West One - PC Engine - 1987

Shanghai - unknown - Round 3 - Hudson Soft/Activision - PC Engine - 1987

Victory Run: Eikou no 13,000KM - Takeaki Kunimoto - Race Music 3 - Hudson Soft - PC Engine - 1987

Super Thunder Blade - Koichi Namiki (Pretty K.N), Sachio Ogawa (Sting Saito) (arr.) - Stage 1 - Sega - Mega Drive - 1988

Super Thunder Blade - Sachio Ogawa (Sting Saito) - High Scores - Sega - Mega Drive - 1988

Super Mario Land - Hirokazu Tanaka - Ending - Nintendo - Game Boy (Japan) - 1989

Makai Toushi SaGa - Nobuo Uematsu - Forbidden Tower - Square - Game Boy (Japan) - 1989

Super Mario World - Koji Kondo - Vanilla Dome - Nintendo - Super Famicom - 1990

Zan Gear - Masaaki Uno - Spring of His Life - Wolf Team/Telenet Japan - Game Gear (Japan) - 1990

Final Fight - Manami Matsumae, Toshio Kajino (arr.) - Mad Gear Gang - Capcom - Super Famicom - 1990

Actraiser - Yuzo Koshiro - All Over the World - Enix - Super Famicom - 1990

Soukoban - unknown - gameplay - Riverhillsoft - Game Gear (Japan) - 1990

14 comments:

  1. Trust me on this one guys, Final Fight for the SNES... sucks! Only one player, only Cody and Haggar, bland graphics, terrible music (compared to the arcade version and SOR, imo). It pales in comparison to Streets of Rage every conceivable way, and this is coming from a Nintendo kid! If you need a SNES substitute for SOR 1&2 go for Final Fight 3, or King of Dragons-- those games are much more on level with Streets of Rage and have two player co-op, and tons of variety with stages and characters. Sorry for sounding harsh, I just want to save you from the massive disappointment I felt when I got Final Fight for SNES.

    As for the musical content of the episode, this was fun and I dig the concept. This early music, while simple, has a lot of energy. I really dug Shanghai and Super Thunder Blade, nice stuff I hadn't hear of before. Super Mario World and Actraiser are classics, of course! This might be a tough vote... Looking forward to the next episode, for sure, it'll be interesting to see how far composers push the limits on the later stuff.

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  2. I find it ironic and amazing that the Game Boy tracks use hard panning (stereo) effects so intensely and often, for a system that only had a single external mono speaker. You really missed out if you weren't playing with headphones.

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    1. It's not so ironic, because Game Boy players were more likely to be out in public playing the Game Boy with headphones, so as to not disturb anyone around them. Also, a Game Boy player is much more likely to play with headphones than a home console player playing with headphones (which is why the headphones option on the Genesis is such a strange option).

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    2. The Legacy Music Hour, what version of the Super Game boy do you own? If it's the first grey version, they run the games and music faster than the actual Game Boy handheld. You need to get the transparent blue Super Famicom Game Boy Player to have the game and music run at the correct speed.

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    3. Right, heard about that. It's the grey one. The Super Game Boy 2 is what that other one is called.

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    4. That Bikkuriman World track is actually a Wonder Boy in Monster Land track. Hudson swapped out the Wonder Boy characters and put in the anime characters from Bikkuriman into the game to sell more HuCards. Also, the company name it should read Westone.

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    5. That's right, it's Wonder Boy in Monster Land, which we didn't mention on the podcast. Will change the company name soon...

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    6. The Game Boy sound was pretty limited, but as a musician one would use every feature available (including the pseudo stereo thing) whenever possible. Nobuo Uematsu used the effect extensively in his Final Fantasy soundtracks (and very successfully I must say).

      The Game Gear also had that pseudo stereo effect but I don't know if it was used. I used it a bit in the Smurfs soundtrack.

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  3. Also... how can you not draw the comparison between Koshiro and John Williams? Kashiro was doing "film scoring" in games before it was a thing that was done.

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    1. Nobuo Uematsu is more the John Williams of video game music. Uematsu's music is more "classic" and cinematic sounding, with memorable themes, and it's more sweeping and romantic. Uematsu is also prolific like Williams. Whereas with Koshiro, his stuff is more progressive and intellectual, particularly with the Actraiser games, and his orchestral work isn't as plentiful. But also, Koichi Sugiyama was doing "film scoring" in games before either Koshiro or Uematsu. But in the end, Uematsu seems the most similar to Williams.

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    2. I can understand somewhat what Ryan means about Koshiro and John Williams in the track you were playing because it sounded a lot like a Star Wars' track. The soundtrack of Actraiser in general reminds me a lot of Star Wars and the music of Claude Debussy. I'm not sure if my ears are hearing wrong but that's always been what my mind has made the leap to.

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  4. The reason most of the systems only had a few titles available their launch year was because they all launched in October or later......with two exceptions, the Famicom(July) and the Gameboy(April). Restricting "Launch Titles" to their first year means that for most systems you only allowed games that came out within the first 3 months or less of the systems' availability.
    Nathan Daniels

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  5. By the way, as far as Final Fight goes, the Sega CD version pretty much destroys the SNES version. There are more enemies on screen, less flicker, better music, two player simultaneous modes, and so on. It's one of the few instances I'd rather play the Genesis version over the SNES.

    Nathan Daniels

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