Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Game Music Online: Audio mentioned in G4's Top 100 Video Games Part 2

Continuing the journey through G4's Top 100 Video Games of All Time whose audio was worthy of highlighting as one of the most awesome things.  Part 2:

# 78 Spy Hunter: The music changes when you go on the weapons truck, into Henry Mancini's theme from Peter Gunn.

#77 Excitebike:  Blair Herter: "What made this game so much fun was the sound design.  If you play the motorcycle sound in Excitebike to anybody my age, they can immediately tell you what video game that came from."  I remember playing this at a friend's house growing up, and designing courses.  Interesting that the music is such a small part of a game like this... I forget how much audio has progressed since the first NES games of my childhood.

#74 Star Fox 64:  "If you had an N64, you had this game.  You know why?  Because the characters talked!"  - Morgan Webb.  The transition from printed text to spoken audio to a game is a huge difference to the gameplay experiences.  As a kid, I used to support the amount of times I spent playing games by the fact that I was reading when I was playing RPGs.  In '97, spoken audio was not the norm, especially the amount that Star Fox 64 has!  And what a huge improvement over the speech in the SNES Star Fox where I was always disappointed after the opening audio samples.  One major thing I notice: once the gameplay starts in earnest at 1:56, there's a lot of background noise from the ship flying and frequent dialogue, which push the game's music out of the forefront of the audio experience.  


#73 Mega Man 2:  "Mega Man 2 is one of my all time favorite games as well.  I still have my ringtone as the Mega Man 2 theme song."  -Jonah Ray.  I did love the audio to this game.  When reading an interview with the sound team, they credit the popularity of the music with the popularity of the game and  the enjoyability of the gameplay experience.  I loved the different feel that each world had, largely imparted by the different tunes for each level.

#72 Mortal Kombat.  "Finish Him!"  What an iconic sound clip!  Although it doesn't have great music, my friends and I would yell this line as we pretended to be zap each other with our super powers.  Give this gameplay a watch: despite being continuous, the audio is actually pretty bland, other than the terrific fighting/ speech sounds.  This is from the arcade version, although I was usually playing the less graphic SNES version.

#64: NBA Jam.  "You're on fire!"  "Boom Shaka Laka!" NBA Jam, Mortal Kombat, and other arcade games aren't so notable for their music, which in the noisy arcade environment was more less critical than it is in home console games.  As I'm considering these examples that the show highlighted, I'm noticing that arcade games are more memorable for having spoken audio and better effects than home console games did in the mid 90s.

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