Aug 272014
 

Ep75-2

Five great examples of composers using custom chips to enhance the Famicom’s musical capabilities, including Lagrange Point and Megami Tensei II. With special guest Tim Turi!

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0:00:00 – Beginning (Akumajou Densetsu)

0:10:37 – City of Birthday (Lagrange Point)

0:12:47 – Looking for Promised Land (Lagrange Point)

0:14:29 – Warriors of Sorrow (Lagrange Point)

0:22:22 – Fighting Humans Way (Madara)

0:23:48 – Chouryobakko Castle (Madara)

0:32:53 – Good Morning (Gimmick)

0:34:12 – Happy Birthday (Gimmick)

0:35:11 – No Limits (Gimmick)

0:47:55 – Another World (Megami Tensei II)

0:49:21 – Ex Convict (Megami Tensei II)

0:51:00 – Hallucination (Megami Tensei II)

1:03:07 – Dawn of the Human Being (Megami Tensei II)

  28 Responses to “VGMpire 75 – Fiddlin with the Famicom”

  1. There’s a building in downtown Honolulu that always makes me think of Castlevania 3, because of the white blocks on a black background around the windows, which looks like a strip of film.

    • The ZZ Top song (and the town it’s about between Austin and Houston) is pronounced “La Graing” (rhymes with “range”).

      The name of the town is actually in the song, but it’s pretty easy to miss.

      “Rumour spreadin’ a-’round in that Texas town
      ’bout that shack outside La Grange
      and you know what I’m talkin’ about.
      Just let me know if you wanna go
      to that home out on the range.
      They gotta lotta nice girls.”

      Bonus Fact (quoting from Wikipedia): The song refers to a brothel on the outskirts of La Grange, Texas (later called the “Chicken Ranch”). The brothel is also the subject of the Broadway play and film, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, the latter starring Dolly Parton and Burt Reynolds.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Grange_(song)

  2. Pretty interesting episode! it was really fun listening to these songs because like Tim correctly said, having no nostalgia or background for them, listening to them in a blank state makes you appreciate them in a different level.

    So yeah, I’m gonna dig up more songs from most of these, specially Madara and Gimmick.

    Also, the talk in this one was pretty strong too, It would be lovely to see Mr. Turi more often in the show 😀

  3. Loved the insight in this episode!

    I have to agree that the VRC6 version of Castlevania III/Akumajou Densetsu is loads better than what North Americans got. That’s not to knock the NES conversion, but it can be hard to go back to that after listening to the Japanese one.

    Neat little factoid: The VRC6 chip was designed by none other than Konami’s Hidenori Maezawa (audio programmer for CVIII, composer for TMNT & Contra).

    I was really blown away by Lagrange Point’s music, it sounds nothing like what anyone would expect an NES game to be.

    I know a guy from MAGFest who formed a VGM cover band named “Gimmick!” inspired by the game. While I didn’t see them perform at this past MAGFest, video evidence shows that they play a mean Bubble Bobble (that got people dancing in a circle) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybW3jIjQLi4

    Also, I hope I wasn’t the only one who noticed the similar progression between the opening to Megami Tensei II’s “Ex Convict” and Dr. Mario’s “Chill,” am I?

    I was about to raise a pitchfork when Tim mentioned that one of the Anamaguchi guys muted his videogames and played pop punk over it back in the day, but then it made me realize that if he loves that chiptuney style without having any nostalgia for it, then that really drives home the weight that kind of music has. You don’t need to be nostalgic for the music for it to be incredible.

    In any case….to Zophar.net I go!

    P.S. MAGFest 13 pre-registrations are up, and I implore everyone to go! VGMpire meetup!

  4. I will raise my hand here and admit, I am the Weeaboo raging during your Megami Tensei talk. I would like to point out to Brett that the song Hallucinations does reappear in other Tensei games. I bought the SMT IV soundtrack, and there was a more orchestrated version of the same song.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjQspoLdhI4

    I am watching the Persona Golden anime, which is really barreling through all the material that was in the original show.

    PS: I am really interested to know what Chris thinks of Space Dandy. Does he think it is a great example of what the best Japanese animators out there can do? Or does he think that the show is full of low brow humor and the magic reset button?

  5. Man, I’m going to have to check out Megami Tensei 2 now. The music in the rest of the series has always done a good job of mixing a modern sound with something otherworldly in a way that just…makes me a little uncomfortable, but like, in a good way?

    Great Episode!

  6. Great show as always, guys! I’ve got a small correction, though… Mr. Gimmick! was composed by Masashi Kageyama, not Naoki Kodaka. I can understand the confusion, because his name is synonymous with that Sunsoft Bass sound.

  7. Wow, the Famicon sounds so much like the Genesis, and I mean that in a good way. These tracks sound like classic NES tracks fused with Sonic music. It’s so strange, but definitely easy on the ears. Well done, guys.

    • You know, I didn’t really get the sonic part, but the tracks were pretty cool. And Brett is totally right, the whole game(including the music) reminded me of Phantasy Star II. I Wiki’ed Lagrange Point halfway through the podcast to find out more about the game, and ended up learning a bunch about astronomy of which I was utterly clueless. You all should try it.

      It reminded me of how Japanese sci-fi so often has strong real-world roots, even if it’s kid’s stuff. I first heard of bioengineering and messing around with DNA from Phantasy Star II. I first learned about Lagrange Points yesterday when researching this game. I first heard about DARPA and nanotechnology and its implications from Metal Gear Solid.

      Good Western Sci-Fi has a strong philosophical grounding, whereas good Japanese Sci-Fi has a strong engineering or physics grounding(although the BEST Japanese sci-fi, like Akira and Nausicaa, has both).

  8. I didn’t expect to like this episode all that much, since I have no emotional connection to any of these songs. However, I was pleasantly surprised! This was all really good music with lots of variety in it. My favorite track of everything you played had to be “ex-Convict”. It had a really “cool” feel to it. As you can tell, my music terminology isn’t much better than yours, but it sounded like the theme song for a guy in a leather jacket leaning against a wall and smoking a cigarette.

    Brett, Henry is right. From the sounds of it, you’re so close to the part where Persona 4 opens up. Push through a little longer! The game is about to give you full control of your days. It just takes its time about introducing you to all of its systems in the very beginning. You’re almost there!

  9. OMG Brett I love Gargoyle’s Quest. Such good music in that game.

  10. This is probably my favorite episode yet.

    I love the VRC6 tracks, and there are so many great ones across the board. You can find the Gimmick! soundtrack on YouTube, and I’ve had it on repeat for the last few months.

    I’d love to see them do a Sunsoft specific episode as well. I recently looked them up to see what they’ve been doing, and sadly, it looks like they’re porting a lot of Wi stuff :/.

    Damn shame, because they had so many good games in the late 80s, early 90s.

    • I second that; And I recommend everybody here check out the Sunsoft episode of Legacy Music Hour (episode 77). At about 11 minutes in, he goes into the specifics of the chip they used and how they were able to make the music they did.

      At any rate, Sunsoft makes my favorite NES music, followed closely by Konami(as Patrick mentioned above, Castlevania 3’s japanese version is amazing). Sunsoft’s Batman for the Genesis is also very good.

  11. […] musical capabilities, including Lagrange Point and Megami Tensei II. With special guest Tim Turi! LISTEN NOW or head here for the full […]

  12. glad you played some Gimmick. that soundtrack is fantastic, one of my favourites. and it’s a cool take on a platformer. riding stars that you shoot is tricky but a lot of fun.

  13. Brett, awesome episode. This is a cool companion piece to the Famicom Disk episode, for totally short-circuiting my brain when it comes to preconceived notions about what the Famicom sounded like and was capable of.

    I echo everything else said by others above. The interesting thing about FM on the Famicom is the drums are a bit more subdued(Being PSG-based), and I don’t know, they just sound kind of nice. Less harsh than Genesis drums. I kind of like it. And thanks for playing the Sunsoft music. They really deserve a focus……. :)

    I don’t know if it would warrant a whole show, but the Mark III(Japanese Sega Master System) had an FM synth add-on that gave FM synth abilities to master system games programmed to do so. Do a search on Youtube; I guarantee you may be mildly amused!

  14. So, I’d always kind of wondered why Brett would say “I do this for the comments” but then VGMpire almost never gets a post on Laser Time.

    Had no idea VGMpire had it’s own website until I listened to this weeks Laser Time.

    • Anyway…

      Just one more month till Rocktober! And there’s really only two series that immediately come to mind as deserving a full month of episodes.

      Mega Man and Street Fighter.

      And it doesn’t matter if you think there’s a conflict of interest because you work for Capcom, Brett. Do one anyway!

  15. Don’t worry Chris. I got your Santa Clause joke.

  16. The ZZ Top song (and the town it’s about between Austin and Houston) is pronounced “La Graing” (rhymes with “range”).

    The name of the town is actually in the song, but it’s pretty easy to miss.

    “Rumour spreadin’ a-’round in that Texas town
    ’bout that shack outside La Grange
    and you know what I’m talkin’ about.
    Just let me know if you wanna go
    to that home out on the range.
    They gotta lotta nice girls.”

    Bonus Fact (quoting from Wikipedia): The song refers to a brothel on the outskirts of La Grange, Texas (later called the “Chicken Ranch”). The brothel is also the subject of the Broadway play and film, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, the latter starring Dolly Parton and Burt Reynolds.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Grange_(song)

  17. Wow, some of this music doesn’t even sound like NES stuff. I forget which one sounded exactly like the Genesis which is insane. All it takes is one little chip…. Great picks and episode, everyone!

  18. This was a great episode!! I was expecting more of an A/B comparison between the non-enhanced versions of the tracks and the enhanced versions from the way Chris described it on another show, so it took me aback a little bit when that wasn’t the case, but I soon forgot about that. It must be a really interesting experience to play these games on an old 8-bit system and hear this music coming from it.
     
    I just wanted to say, too, those Megami Tensei tracks at the end were absolutely amazing. Especially Another World and Hallucination. I’m really going to have to check out the rest of that soundtrack! And the series in general, considering I really have no idea what it is.

  19. Wow–thanks for including Gimmick in this episode. I never heard the music and since the cart is insanely tough to acquire, i probably never would have. Excellent stuff…streaming it now. Keep up the good work. Got introduced to your work via Lasertime and love the show. Thanks again.

  20. By the way, i think the Famicom is such a big topic it could afford a few visits in future episodes. Maybe splitting the catalog by year/era/etc? It’s almost like an unmined resource.

  21. […] games.  For some great examples of other composers’ use of these chips, be sure to check out Episode 75 of VGMpire, Fiddlin with the Famicom.  While you’re at it, you should take a listen to the rest of the VGMPire back catalog.  […]

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