Oh, sorry, I didn't hear you. I've just been listening to all the incredible music the Bitmob community has spotlighted over the last two weeks as part of our latest Bitmob Wants You writing prompt.
Seriously, you guys surprised me with the stuff you came up with. You picked tunes from Mario, and Sonic, and Final Fantasy, too. You chose melodies from recent Western titles and old-school Japanese role-playing games. And I love the diversity in this collection – no two of you picked the same song.
Without further ado, then, I present your articles. Enjoy, and happy listening!
My experience with Jolly Roger Bay
By Nathanial Dziomba
Rather than one of the sprightly tunes Mario games are best known for, Nathaniel opts for a calmer aquatic selection. Super Mario 64 had some of the most diverse environments of any game at the time, and the soothing strains of Jolly Roger Bay certainly made that level memorable. (Look out for that eel, though!)
The musical highs and lows of Pokemon battles
By Kyle McIntosh
Kyle's maiden post on the 'Mob details the music of the eight Gym Leaders in the old-school Pokemon titles, Red and Blue. He writes: "After all these years, hearing that theme still stirs me to action like no other, inspiring me whenever I run, cook, or write." Good stuff!
Many more of your articles after the jump.
We had two Bitmobbers write about the 16-bit Squaresoft classic, although they chose different tracks. Here, Jacob not only discusses the composition of the music but also its religious and thematic influences. "My impression is that a Pure Land is a kind of philosophical haven, a metaphysical repository where all the ideas and dreams of the individual and the collective eventually come to rest," he writes.
The beauty of Secret of Mana's overworld theme
By Jonathan Oyama
Jonathan chooses a better-known selection from the same game. I'll let him explain: "Into the Thick of It" is the song that plays soon after the song where the main character is forced out of his hometown….In spite of this horrible situation, the overworld song plays right after he leaves to the next screen. It's as if the game wanted to demonstrate that there's more to the world than my main character's home."
Green Hill Zone
By Joshua Kirn
Joshua goes straight for Sonic the Hedgehog's debut, choosing the soundtrack to the first level of the blue blur's first game. He writes: "Green Hill Zone provided the perfect melodic description of who Sonic is: optimistic, upbeat, motivating, and relaxing. The tune just oozes cool."
Earthbound's battle with Giygas is a soundtrack of absolute terror
By Derek Hansell
Ah, Earthbound. I've written before about its melodic wonders, but Derek takes the opposite tack, emphasizes the horrific nature of the game's final battle. He describes a sudden change in the battle thus: "Now the music shifts again. The crackling energy is still there…now backed by a fervent piping and repeating progression. The notes play in quick cadence, pushing your heart rate back up. This isn't dread anymore; this is palpable, adrenaline-fueled fear."
Even Bitmob staffers got in on the fun for this writing challenge. Jason selects a tune from developer Quantic Dream's detective story, analyzing it both on its own and in the context of its in-game scene. Interesting stuff.
Haramel: The Musical!
By Daima Delamare
For those of you who don't know (I didn't), Haramel is the name of a zone in the online role-playing game Aion. Daima shares why she loves this area's soundtrack: "The very first time I logged into Haramel, I was stunned. After a few moments, I burst out laughing, thinking to myself that the music was simply preposterous….I couldn't stop myself from imagining the kobolds doing a joyful ballet dance to it (akin to the Nutcracker)." Click through for a great read.
Still in a dream….
By Joseph McGee
Joseph's contribution centers on his love for the James Bond-esque theme song to Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. He writes: "No one told me to listen to this song, and if I were to have heard it in another context (apart from the game), odds are I would not have given it much thought. But in that moment where game, song, and person meet, it was perfect."
The People of the North, the best FFX song you never heard
By Steven Sukkau
Of all the amazing Final Fantasy tracks Steven could have picked, he went with a lesser-known tune that played a large emotional role in his relationship with the game. He writes: "It's not necessarily an easy song to listen to, but you can't help but sit mesmerized by the raw power of (composer Masashi Hamauzu's) melancholy melody."
Epic boss battle music in Star Ocean 2
By Jonathan Oyama
Jonathan's second contribution to this challenge (hey, that's cheating, Jonathan!) focuses on a loud, intense tune from the second entry in the Star Ocean series. He contrasts the excellent music with the poorly translated and laughably acted script at a key point in the game. Certainly not the first J-RPG to fall victim to such a fate.
By Justin Davis
While Steven chose a more obscure track above, Justin goes with Final Fantasy X's best-known tune, the mournful piano solo that opens the game. He writes: "It is a song that I would gladly learn to play piano for, just so I could bust it out whenever I wanted. I’m not kidding; I’ve actually priced piano lessons in the past for this exact reason." Now that's love!
The Mega Man series is famous for its propulsive 8-bit prog-rock tunes, and while Mega Man 9 is a modern revival, its soundtrack recaptures the series' NES glory days. Matt writes: "Thanks to Mega Man 9 and Concrete Jungle, I am now forever hoping to experience that intense narrative and feeling of giving myself over to creative power in every new chiptune mp3 I download."
Final Fantasy Tactics' "Staff Credit and End Titles": Saying goodbye to Ivalice
By Nate Ewert-Krocker
Final Fantasy Tactics has an…interesting ending, to say the least. I'll let Nate describe his relationship with the seeming death of his party: "As a 13-year-old contemplating these facts, having to make peace with saying goodbye to my friends, I was treated to this piece of music — an alternately triumpant and melancholy take on the primary leitmotif of the game's score. It becomes a march and a fanfare — as though the credits wished to give my characters the glory that their world never would."
Gordon's Theme: The Valve ident
By Raymond Williams
You want an unorthodox pick? Raymond's got you covered; he chose to write about the seconds-long tune that plays whenever you boot up a game by PC developer/publisher Valve: "Because the Valve ident wasn't the soundtrack to any one moment of gameplay, it has come to represent a number of good Half-Life 2 memories." Nice job, Raymond.
Swords, clouds, and frogs: An elegy
By Bryan Harper
Bryan mentions a whole ton of titles in describing his love affair with video game soundtracks, but he ends up centering on one: the arena battle theme from Final Fantasy VII. He writes: "I stepped into the ring, readied my sword, and was bombarded almost immediately by the sickest slathering of synth and drums I had ever feasted my ears on. Goosebumps followed immediately."
The greatest checkpoint
By Matt Furbush
Shadow of the Colossus is an incredibly evocative game, and composer Koh Ohtani's soundtrack is a big part of that. Matt chose one song that stands out, and it's one I've written about before, too: the sorrowful dirge that plays as a slain colossus crashes to the ground. "Regardless of why, something was being mourned here, and it was important to the game," Matt writes. Click though for more.
"Windy," the Steamboat Willie of gaming
By Daniel Heddendorf
Daniel's got another unusual pick. He writes about "Windy," the main theme in the hub world of the naughty Nintendo 64 platformer Conker's Bad Fur Day. Daniel draws a comparison to the feel and style of the original Mickey Mouse cartoon "Steamboat Willie": "Conker, as a character, is a lot like Mickey Mouse in the heyday; he's a bit of a smart-aleck, he usually finds himself in trouble more often than he'd like, but despite all of this you've gotta root for the little guy in the hopes that he ends up on top."
Skies of Arcadia's ending theme is the happy ending we all hope for
By Matthew Anfuso
I haven't played this classic Sega Dreamcast title, but I know how well-loved it is. Matthew describes his feelings about completing Skies of Arcadia and listening to the final song: "At times dramatic, whimsical, and gloomy, Skies of Arcadia’s ending theme is the perfectly nostalgic happy ending to a realized dream. It is the only song that will make me smile, no matter my mood."
Did I miss your article? Got an idea for the next Bitmob Wants You prompt? Let me know in the comments or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.