Tag Archives: game boy

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: Pokemon – Red//Green/Blue/Yellow (1st Gen)

Hey folks.  It’s Sunday and that means it’s time for another Sunday Game Soundtrack!  While I spend a lot of time during the week looking for more obscure titles, its also great to find some time to post fan favorites!  Today, we’ll listen to the soundtrack to the first generation of Pokemon games for Gameboy- Pokemon – Red/Green/Blue/Yellow.

Luckily, I managed to find the complete OST in one YouTube video (always awesome) so special thanks to OnlineOST for posting this.  I’ll put the OST below so you can listen while you read along.

The composer for this game is Junichi Masuda.  He’s basically been the guy behind all the music in the Pokemon series.  He has a very interesting style, in terms of composition.  I really can’t put my finger on what it is.  His battle themes are very busy but still somehow light.  If you notice, there’s very little use of “drums” throughout the pieces but it’s still very rhythmic.

There’s a couple things to note here about the music:

  • The version of the music above has been enhanced, clearly.  There’s a lot more echo, etc.  The music we heard as kids was a lot more jarring.
  • Pokemon was original released in Japan as Pocket Monsters – Red/Green in 1996.  The original “Blue” edition was released later, and at first, only to people who were subscribers to CoroCoro Comic.  The Blue edition featured enhanced audio (it was just tweaked a bit, from what I understand) and some glitches were removed.  When the game was finally released here in the US in 1998, they decided to release the Japanese Blue version.  So, our Pokemon – Red/Blue is actually an updated version of the original, in terms of sound.
  • Okay, this is a serious warning.  I’ll provide a link to this but listen at your own risk.  Seriously.  My ears are ringing right now.  So Junichi Masuda wrote a different version of the Lavender Town theme for Pocket Monsters Beta game.  It is probably the most disturbing, jarring, and bizarre track I’ve ever heard in my life.  Like, seriously.  You can listen to it, if you want.  But this is my last warning.  It seriously messes with your head.  There are EXTREME high pitches that are inaudible to older folks but can REALLY hurt young kids ears.  Crazy right?  And yes, my ears actually hurt right now.  I’m not even kidding.  If you’re going to listen to it, listen to it softly at least and without headphones.  Okay.  Here’s the link.  What a bizarre track.
  • If you end up listening for a long time, you’ll notice there’s a lot of Japanese speaking at the end.  I BELIEVE this is the Game Boy cry of each Pokemon followed by the a reading from the PokeDex.  I could be wrong but that’s what it sounds like to me.

Okay folks, enjoy the OST and hopefully you didn’t listen to that Lavender Town track.  I need an Advil.  Wow.  Ouch.

Sunday Game Soundtrack: The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening (GB)

It’s Sunday and that means it’s time for another Sunday Game Soundtrack.  This week, we’ll look at Minako Hamano and Kozue Ishikawa’s soundtrack to The Legend of Zelda:  Link’s Awakening for Nintendo Game Boy.

Link’s Awakening was released in 1993 and is the 4th title in the Legend of Zelda series.  It is the first Zelda series game released for a handheld console.  It was re-released in 1998 for Game Boy Color as The Legend of Zelda:  Link’s Awakening DX.

It was developed to originally be a port of Legend of Zelda:  A Link to the Past for Game Boy but got a bit.. well.. lost along the way.  The very origins of the game are based on the experiments by programmer Kazuaki Morita during the infancy of Game Boy.  Morita would gather other programmers and experiment with the Game Boy development kit during the after hours (they joked that it was like an after school club).  After the successful release of Link to the Past in 1991, director Takashi Tezuka pitched the concept of a handheld Zelda game to Nintendo and it was approved.  They reassembled the Link to the Past team to help development and thus, Link’s Awakening was born.

Link’s Awakening is perhaps known best for the fact that it does not take place in Hyrule.  At all.  Tezuka instructed script writer Kensuke Tanabe to make the game a spin-off and have a completely different feel.  Thus, many of the characters from previous games do not appear on purpose (Princess Zelda, Gannon, etc).  This new direction painted a fresh new picture of the series.  Many concepts make their first appearance in Link’s Awakening– the ocarina, fishing, fetch quests, hidden items to collect, and more.  These were crucial to the development of future titles and became staple elements of the series.

The soundtrack features the duo of Minako Hamano and Kozue Ishikawa, both on their first project.  While credit is given to Kazumi Totaka for the OST, he was only the sound programmer for the game.  Hamano and Ishikawa composed nearly an hour of music for the game, including remixes of Koji Kondo’s iconic overworld theme.  Kondo, who was probably eager to put his mark on the game somewhere, helped compose the ending credits theme… which is coincidentally one of my favorite tracks from the game.

Interesting note:  Though Shigeru Miyamoto was the the producer of the game, he sat back on his feet and did not provide any creative input to the game.  He merely play-tested a nearly complete product and gave input to help implement what was already done.  This may explain why the game has a very different feel from Nintendo developed games of the time.  I mean, there’s cameos by other Nintendo characters all over and you can walk a Chomp on a leash.  And there’s Goombas for some reason.

Please eat this and not me. (credit: Chris Furniss – http://www.flickr.com/photos/chrisfurniss/)

Okay, whelp, let’s take a listen:

(credit: Giacomo Poggi)

Hope you enjoyed it!  As always, comment are welcome.

Lesser-known Video Game Soundtracks: X (エックス Ekkusu) (GB)

Welcome to another installment of Lesser-known Video Game Soundtracks.  Today, we’re going to talk about X, a game that only uses a single English letter for a title but is 4 Japanese characters long in katakana and whose origins are inspired by the wire-frame graphics of old computers, the programming minds of a some Argonauts, and the challenge of executing 3D on a little gray box.  Oh, and yes, the music to the game is pretty swell, too.  Let’s go!

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Composers: Bun Bun (Yasuaki Fujita)

Yasuaki Fujita’s career as a composer started with a baby… and man in a blue helmet.  As an in-house composer for Capcom, Bun Bun spent most of his career crafting sound effects for numerous titles and overseeing various sound production teams as production manager.  His legacy, however, lies in the composition of one single theme.  Let’s explore the career of Yasuaki Fujita, another composer who should be on your radar.  Let’s see why!

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Research in Game Music: The difference between pulse waves and square waves

So, a couple of the readers of this blog asked me (in lieu of my current 2 part series on Dr. Mario across the NES and Game Boy) to explain the difference between square waves and pulse waves.  Let’s see if I can shed some light on how this works.

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Fidelity Concerns: “Hip” Tanaka’s Dr. Mario, Part 1

This is Part 1 of my 2 part series on the music of Dr. Mario.

In 1990, Nintendo released Dr. Mario for both the Nintendo Entertainment System and the Nintendo Game Boy.  As we know, the both of these systems use different audio instructions (Ricoh 2a03 for NES/Fami and the custom Sharp LR35902 for the Game Boy).  So what challenges did Tanaka face when moving his soundtrack across these two platforms?  Let’s take a look.

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