Composers: H. Kingsley Thurber

TOBACCO IS BAD, KIDS! FIND OUT WHY BY PLAYING THIS VIDEO GAME.

Who?  H. Kingsley Thurber is an example of a composer lurking in the backgrounds of the video game industry.  His output was not prolific, his music was… well, you’ll see – but he did exist and he did produce quite a few soundtracks.  I bet you’ve never heard of him!  This guy has rubbed elbows with many famous composers over the years.  Let’s find out who!

I now present for your evaluation the next focus of this entry into my Composers series:  H. Kingsley Thurber.

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Originals: The Last Dream (EP)

Artwork by Joey Mariano ( animal-style.com )

Hi guys!  Been quite some time since I’ve posted.  Hope all is well.

I’m pleased to announce the release of my very first chiptune album, “The Last Dream”.  I’ve been working on this for some time and I’m very excited to share it with you.  Please take a listen and download it (it’s free!).

Feel free to leave comments.  I’m not revealing exactly what the album is about (maybe you can figure it out!) but I’ll be glad to answer any questions about how I put the music together, constructed the concept, etc.

Expanded Liner Notes:

The entire album was created using jsr’s Famitracker 0.4.2 with Ricoh 2a03 and Konami VRC6.   I created my own DPCM 1bit samples and all the samples you hear are playable on a Famicom console.  If you download the album, you will get the NSF files and if you have the right equipment, you can play it right off hardware, which is neat!

Here’s a couple things I thought about while making this album:

  • I excluded tuba.  I know that I’ve been working on combining the two during performances but I wanted to write an album that stands alone to start.  Well, and also, I’m not sure exactly how to integrate the tuba well enough at this point to make it sound polished.  I will definitely continue to experiment with that.
  • While I have been writing a LOT of Turbografx-16 tracks lately, I wanted my first album to reflect the work I’ve done with this set up.  I’ve been using 2a03+VRC6 since I started last February.  I really wanted to show off what I’ve learned.
  • This album was originally slated to be called “First Blood”.  I actually completed most of the tracks and then realized that I didn’t like the concept.  I ended up tossing many of the ideas I had and rewriting a couple from the ground up.  I wanted to focus on a different concept as I felt “First Blood”‘s concept of drinking, depression, and self-pity was a bit too dark overall.
    • The only track from “First Blood” that made this album is “Rumble”.  The rest of the tracks were written with the new concept in mind and all within the last 4 months or so.
    • There was to be an “Oddball – Album Version” included on the CD but I cut it at the last minute.  The track is completely done.  I plan on releasing it in the future but I won’t tell when.
    • My toughest decision was to cut a 9-minute long epic track about depression called “Nagging Cough”.  I have been fighting with this track since last March.  This was written right after “What Happens When You Take the Wrong Bus”, making it the second track of my short chiptuning career.  It started small and now it’s kind of grown into something completely different.  There are so many good things in it… and so many things I want to change.  I believe I will release it as a single in the spring, maybe as a one-year anniversary of my struggle to make it sound like music.

At any rate, I really hope you like what I’ve put together.  Thanks for listening and thanks for reading!  Hope to see some of you lovely people at MAGFest this year.  I will be in town on January 4th.


Lesser-known Video Game Soundtracks: Castlevania Legends (GB)

Welcome to another edition of Lesser-known Video Game Soundtracks.  Today, we’ll feature a game that even Konami wants to disappear with a soundtrack written by, well… I’m not even sure.

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Sunday Game Soundtrack: DuckTales (FC/NES)

It’s Sunday and that means it’s time for another Sunday Game Soundtrack!  This opening tag sounds cheesier and cheesier every time I write it.  Too bad.  Today, let’s listen to Capcom’s DuckTales for the Nintendo Famicom/NES.

Before we dive in, I just want to point this out to all you blogger types who are writing incorrect articles:  the composer for this game is Hiroshige Tonomura.  It is NOT Yoshihiro Sakaguchi.  How many sources do you guys check?  YouTube?  Seriously.  Capcom’s official website lists Tonomura.  It’s the 3rd result.  It’s called Google, people.  Please go and change it if you haven’t already.

Let’s dive right in:

Okay, while you listen, let’s chat:

  • Hiroshige Tonomura’s alias is Perorin.  In addition to DuckTales, he wrote tracks for the arcade version 1942 and the Romance of the Three Kingdoms-based RPG, Destiny of an Emperor.  He left Capcom after 1989 to join Taito, where he worked on the sound team for such games as Bust-a-Move and Pro Baseball? Murder Case! (yes, that’s a real game).  Not sure what he’s up to right now.
  • Keiji Inafune (of Rockman and now Mighty No. 9 fame) did the character design for the game.  Awesome.
  • Yoshishiro Sakaguchi did the SOUND PROGRAMMING;  it’s not the same as being a composer.  He was a part of the development of the  game, though.
  • This was Capcom’s first Disney-based platformer.  Disney sent over a spy (Darlene Lacy) to make sure the game was up to Disney’s standards.  In an interview with Nintendo Player, she discussed DuckTales and some of the changes that had to be made to the game to get it “on board” with Disney.  Some changes:
    • Capcom originally had crosses on all of the coffins in Transylvania.  Religion!!??  IN A U.S. VIDEO GAME SPONSORED BY DISNEY?  OH NO!  NO WAY!  They changed them to say RIP instead.
    • Scrooge was originally supposed to eat hamburgers to gain back health dots (the technical term for those red dots that I just made up).  Disney had it changed to ice cream cones.
    • Oh man, this one would have been brutal.  There was originally a way for Scrooge to lose all his money.  Lacey says they removed it because it was “un-Scrooge-like”.  Just imagine…. oy…
  • The beta version of the game reveals some different tracks.  For instance, this alternate unused Transylvania stage track (also note the crosses!  OH NO!  RELIGION!  PROTOTYPE REJECTED!)

  • The beta version of the game also reveals a painfully slow version of “The Moon”‘s legendary track.  It drags on and on:

Okay people, enjoy the rest of your Sunday.  Comments welcome, as always.  More Lesser-known Game Soundtracks this week.  OMINOUS.


Fidelity Concerns: Sega Master System (US) vs. Sega Master System (JP)

Show of hands… how many people actually owned a Sega Master System?  Anyone?  Someone?  Are you out there?

Well.  Did you know that your US Sega Master System produced MASSIVELY INFERIOR audio to the Japanese Sega Master System?

Some little known facts about the Japanese system and the Konami VRC7, for some reason, after the bump.

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Lesser-known Video Game Soundtracks: Ninja Ryukenden (忍者龍剣伝) (PCE)

Welcome to another Lesser-known Video Game Soundtrack.  Today, we’ll feature a game released for Famicom/NES and ported to the PC Engine with a cheat code that unlocks English language, and scored by someone I can’t find any information about!  That’s always the best kind of article.

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Lesser-known Video Game Soundtracks: Jewel Master (MD/GEN)

More like RING MASTER, amirite?

Welcome to another edition of Lesser-known Video Game Soundtracks.  Today, we’ll take a look a soundtrack composed by Koichi Sugiyama’s orchestral arranger and published by a company known for a blue hedgeh— Sega.  I don’t need to make it mysterious.  This game is developed and published by Sega.

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