Tag Archives: NES

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.

Originals: Signature Strike OST

Hey guys!  Been really busy with a lot of things lately, including this.  Yep, it’s my very first commissioned game soundtrack!  Check it out here!

The soundtrack contains 10 different tracks created in Famitracker that utilize the Ricoh 2a03 and the Konami VRC6.  I really tried to keep the music absolutely authentic to the console.  It is unfortunate that many great game composers did NOT have the opportunity to use the VRC6, due the its cost and late release in the life of the Famicom.  I spent a lot of time trying to think how some of the great shooters would have sounded IF they had the extra pulses and sawtooth.  Hopefully, I was able to create something that is not only nostalgic but also brand new!

The album here is mixed so you’ll hear some unauthentic reverb that is not characteristic of the console.  I do I think it adds more depth to the music, though.  I figured it would be nice to use some patches when mixing to give it a bit more polish.

Don’t like that mixed sound?  If you download the soundtrack, you will get copies of the NSF files.  If you go get an NSF player, you can listen to the unmixed, raw Famicom sound.  It’s kind of perfect.  Of course, since I wanted to maintain authenticity for the game, the game itself features the tracks from the NSF files.

I’m going to do further write up for the music later.  For now though, go check it out and download it.  It’s free and I promise it’s awesome.

Originals: “A Promise”

This track premiered at 8static 36’s Open Mic on June 8th at PhilaMOCA in Philadelphia, PA.  It was written in Famitracker v. 0.4.2 using 2a03+VRC6 and numerous drum samples programmed through the DPCM channel.  Please enjoy!

Some background on the piece while you listen:

  • The title for this track was decided long after it was finished.  The track was written specifically for June’s 8static with the intent of showing off all the new techniques I learned while working on my Chiptunes = WIN submission (which was accepted, by the way) without playing my ChipWIN submission live.  At first, I wanted to call it something like “My Promise” or “Promises” or “It Will Continue”- something that showed that the work done here was not the end of my own personal growth.  I figured that “My Promise” was too pretentious.  There’s not really a pretentious vibe to the song.  I eventually settled on “A Promise”.  “A Promise” can be from me to you, from you to me, from anyone and anything, as long as it’s kept.  I figured I’ll leave that interpretation up to you, the listener.
  • Construction:
    • My original goal was find a way to create “heavy metal” using NES audio.  I spent a lot of time developing sounds and tweaking instruments to get a nasty, almost grungy sound.  I was pretty happy with it.
    • From there, I constructed the beat.  8static IS a dance party, I know people play chip music and stuff there, but it’s fundamentally a dance party.  I spend time messing with various ideas until I settled on the beat your hear above.
    • I overlayed the original bass line (which was far less busy) and then wrote a simple melody.  I usually start with a very “quarter note-y” version of everything just to hear the harmonies and the direction.  I adjusted the shapes of the melodies to be more interesting, cut some “holes” for silence, and then spliced the original part to the grunge part.  I then cloned the beginning, changed the bassline and feel, and tweaked everything so that it flowed.
  • Things I’d do differently:
    • After almost getting rejected from the ChipWIN comp for bad volume levels on my instruments, I think I’ve finally learned that I cannot crank every instrument up to the highest volume setting.  I LOVE the sound it creates.  It’s like… garbage noise.  It distorts and spreads.  It’s a useful tool but I don’t think I can use it all the time.  I definitely could go back and change the volume levels on this guy too.  It would probably sound even better.
    • I need to follow my instincts a bit more when composing.  My ChipWIN submission took about 15-16 hours to write and this took 25+.  At the last minute, I found myself reverting parts of the piece back to the originals ideas.  Lesson here is:

Hope you enjoyed the track!  More to come as usual.  Thanks again!

Originals: “Last Minute Research Paper” on Soundcloud and Ap0c Facebook Group

Hi guys!  Not really an informative post, but I’d say a necessary one.  I set up a Soundcloud presence for my chiptune originals which you can find right here:  https://soundcloud.com/ap0c/  I’m trying to move in the direction of Soundcloud for a lot of the work I’ll be doing in the next couple months.  I’ll set up a Bandcamp once I finish my EP.  Yep, I’m working on an EP.  Like, an actual collection of music and stuff.  And not some kind of pretend EP.  Serious stuff, folks.   ZOUNDS!

Also, I created a Facebook group for my Ap0c stuff just in case you roll the Facebook way.  You can find that here:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ap0c/149780225198685  Hopefully I get some more “likes” so I can actually customize my name and not be known as a string of random numbers.  That isn’t going to look good on my cards…

Thanks again for reading this blog.  I just reached 100 likes today (total).  Here’s hoping for 200 soon!  I’m glad you guys are still out there, reading and caring about game music!

Originals: “Last Minute Research Paper”

February’s 8static really got me inspired to assemble some originals to perform in the future.  Naturally, as a newcomer to the chiptune scene, I need to see what the scene… well… is!  I’ve been listening to everything and anything, trying to absorb every sound and style in the chiptune genre.  There’s so much out there!  I’m actually impressed with the overall quality I’m finding.  Mostly, you can tell that people put an incredible amount of time and effort into each track.  For a great example of quality and craftsmanship, I would check Chipocrite’s new album:  8bit Lebowski:  100% Electronic.  And it’s not just this album- there’s tens of thousands of albums out there to explore.  It’s really awesome.

Either way, performing as “Steve L” is only going to get me so far as it would appear that everyone has a stage name.  I didn’t want to be presumptuous and assume it was okay to just make up a stage name, having very little experience and what not…. but I ended up doing so anyhow.  I’ll be performing under “Ap0c” from here on out, as a homage to the Relic Scythe from Final Fantasy XI.

Nerdy inspiration for a name… but a bad-ass scythe.

For the past month, I’ve been working on pieces for Beta Test Music as well.  We will be performing our very first NYC show this weekend, in fact.  Details here.  It will feature 2 works for the band+20a3/VRC6 that I’ve arranged.  Our drummer is busy this weekend… so I just whipped up some NES audio to go with Pokemon to cover for him.  I’m also tweaking my arrangement of music from Castlevania III because I’ve learned SOOO MUCH about sound creation since the original performance that I feel like the work was a bit amateurish and could easily be fixed to make a lot more sense.

Anyhow, “Last Minute Research Paper” is supposed to invoke that feeling of a race to the finish.  I imagine sitting down at 9 PM, attemping to finish a paper that is due at 8 AM the next morning.  The music goes through ups and downs, progress and lack of progress, and should have a push and pull kind of feel.  Ultimately, the paper is finished but at what cost?  Too dramatic?  Too bad.

Below you’ll find the live performance of this piece at 8static 33:

One thing instantly noticeable is my snares are kind of out of control at times.  On my headphones, it didn’t sound nearly as crashy and crazy.  It’s really just at the beginning.  It would appear I dropped an “F” in Famitracker for the noise channel and forgot to remove it.  You can hear it activate at around :11.  I think it stays up at the volume for a while before receiving another command not to be so loud.  Most of my volume controls are built into the instruments so it probably took a long time before I put another command in.  Oh well.  I need to remember to just put in “analog” controls more often.  It will also help when I have a full rig so I can mix stuff more on the fly.

Anyhow, I hope you enjoyed it!  I have some other cool things I’m working on too so I’ll put them up here when they are complete.  It’s my Spring Break (yep, a perk of being a college professor) so I’m going to try to aim to clean up some half-completed posts, including Virus, Part 2 of Dr. Mario, and some other interesting Research in Game Music topics.  Happy Monday!

Sunday Game Soundtrack: Rockman 3/Mega Man 3 (FC/NES)

Hey guys!  It’s Sunday and that means it’s time for another Sunday Game Soundtrack!  Football is over… so we need SOMETHING to do, right?   Anyhow,  let’s listen to the original, legendary soundtrack to a game composed by a husband and wife duo- Rockman 3/Mega Man 3 for FC/NES.

This Sunday’s selection was inspired by Close to Good‘s Volume III, which features the complete soundtrack to Rockman 3/Mega Man 3, covered and awesome..  It’s free- you should go download it and take a listen!

Okay, so I know you guys know this but for the sake of just saying it:  Mega Man is known as Rockman in Japan.  The game’s official Japanese title is ロックマン3 Dr.ワイリーの最期!? or Rockman 3:  The End of Dr. Wily?  Much more dramatic!  Anyhow,  rather than saying Rockman 3/Mega Man 3 each time I refer to the game, I’m just going to call it MM3 from here on out. Simple.  Clean.  Easy.

MM3 was released by Capcom for the FC/NES on September 28th 1990 in Japan and in November 1990 for the US.  (Sadly, it was not released in the EU until 1992… wow, way to drop the ball, Capcom).  This game uses the MMC3 mapper.  This mapper (to oversimplify a bit) basically allows Mega Man’s health bar to remain in a static position while you move.  The music for the game was composed by Yasuaki Fujita, who is listed as “Bunbun” in the credits.

Bunbun wasn’t originally assigned to compose for the game, however.  I’ll summarize one of my older posts really quick:  Basically, Bunbun’s wife, Harumi Fujita, was assigned to write the music for the game.  Unfortunately, she had to abandon the project… because she went into labor.  She had been assigned the project while pregnant with her and Bunbun’s child (I’ll recycle this joke because I can:  You might say she had a… BUNBUN in the oven).  She took maternity leave and Bunbun, who was originally assigned to just do the sound programming, took over the project.

Harumi had already started the work so there’s always been a question as to which, if any, of the tracks were hers.  Fortunately, Bunbun, on his blog,  pointed out which tracks he composed.  Apparently, Harumi had already finished Gemini ManNeedle Man, and part of the Staff Roll track.  The rest was finished by Bunbun.

Anyhow, you’re not here for touching little stories!  You’re here for MUSIC.  So, let’s take a listen to Bunbun and Harumi Fujita’s Rockman 3/Mega Man 3 complete soundtrack, as posted on YouTube by Wiiguy309 (this guy has posted so many soundtrack- what the heck, man?  CRAZY!)  These tracks have been stereo enhanced so you’ll notice they sound a little more… reverb-y.  It’s kind of nice.  If you REALLY REALLY REALLY, REALLY want to listen to the un-enhanced version, you can click here.

Hope you enjoyed listening!

Lesser-known Video Game Soundtracks: Joy Mech Fight (ジョイメカファイト) (FC)

Been a while since I posted one of these.  Today, let’s look at Joy Mech Fight, a strange fighting game developed and published by Nintendo for Japanese release only and scored by one of Nintendo R&D1’s lesser-known composers.  Let’s go!

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