Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Time to say "goodbye" to No, I Am a Cat

It's time to say "goodbye" to No, I Am a Cat.

Check out the next installment of Ali Rapp's blogging life here at No, I Am a Dog (as well as an explanation for the move).

Thank you all for sticking with NIAaC for so long.  Your support has meant SO MUCH to me.  I hope you continue to follow my life's shenanigans at my new online home.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Ali's Favorite Video Game Music #2

I'm house-sitting tonight, and since I initially had some Japanese homework to finish up, my boyfriend got ahead of me in the "Let's play games on this person's MASSIVE TV" queue (he's currently playing Mass Effect 1).  So, I figured, what better time to post another Ali's Favorite Video Game Music entry?

As many of my Twitter followers and other peeps might know, I am a humongous Zelda fan.  A Link to the Past took my Zelda virginity, but the first entry I really fell in love with was Ocarina of Time.  My mom and I have played the game together since it came out way back in 1998 (can you believe that's now fourteen years ago?!), and last spring, I got a Deku Scrub tattoo on my forearm.  I don't fool around.

But anyway, one of the most memorable things about the Zelda series is, of course, it's music.  Koji Kondo is the genius behind many of the main themes of the series, though many people have been credited with significant work on individual soundtracks.

One of my favorite pieces from the entire series is the theme to the Music Box House, found in Majora's Mask's Ikana Canyon.  I love primarily two things about the theme: 1) It has some excellent, predictable harmonies that are easy to follow (I spent almost an entire summer humming along to it in the shower), and 2) It's almost sickeningly happy, which of course is totally inappropriate, considering it's the theme for a music box house which must play the song so creepy zombie monsters (Gidbos) will leave its inhabitants alone.  Also, did I mention one of its inhabitants gets partially turned into a creepy zombie monster?  The theme is technically called "Farewell to Gidbos," which I like a lot, but most people know it as just the "Music Box House Theme."  

This is the regular, in-game version.

And this is the official orchestrated version (the version I prefer).


What are your favorite Zelda tunes?  I'm sure to include more in my future posts, but I'm interested in hearing from others!

Cross-posted on Game Informer.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Ali's Favorite Video Game Music #1

Cross-posted on my Game Informer blog.

Let me start off by saying this: I don't get many chances to casually write about games.  I'm a graduate student/academic, which means I get to study a lot of really amazingly in-depth things about gaming and gamer culture, but the kinds of pieces I produce as part of my job are really seen by only about ten people at any given time.  I do have a regular person blog, titled "No, I Am a Cat," and I've written about games there before (duh), but this blog marks the first time I've cross-posted on both that regular person blog and the Game Informer website.  So, it's really nice to be conversing with y'all!
Today, I'd like to start a series of blogs I hope I'll be able to continue for a while.  I've been thinking about video game music a lot lately, thanks, no doubt, to my friend Ryan, who is a musicology graduate student at the University of Minnesota, where I also study.  I mean, I've always liked listening to video game music (who doesn't?), but recently, I've started thinking about what video game music means for video games as not-quite-film-like narratives.  I don't really have an answer for that, but I figured, heck, let's enjoy some of my favorite video game pieces together.
We'll start off with a piece from Ecco: The Tides of Time.  Ecco: TToT was a sequel to Ecco the Dolphin, and was released in 1994 for the Sega Genesis (also known as the Mega Drive), as well as for the Game Gear and the Mega-CD.  Without spoiling anything (the game is excellent, and if you haven't already played it, I strongly recommend it), you control Ecco, a bad-ass time-travelling dolphin who must save Earth/the universe.  The soundtracks for the Genesis and Mega-CD versions are actually completely different (different composers and everything), and this version of "Crystal Springs" comes from the Genesis game.  Though it's perhaps not the best indicator of the feel of the rest of the soundtrack (which sounds like something people tripping on acid and trying to imagine what it'd be like to be a magical dolphin would probably compose/listen to), it's the background music for the first full area you get to explore, and in my opinion, the beginning is the most amazing part of the game.  I mean, it's like, holy balls, IMMA DOLPHIN. IMMA DO TRICKS 'N' ***.
If you like this piece, or are thinking about exploring your inner bad-ass magical dolphin, check out the rest of the soundtrack.  It's a little odd (as aforementioned), but sometimes, surreal, trippy music is preferable to the bombastic timpani and/or guitar-heavy soundtracks we've had to become used to with recent games.
Enjoy!  And be on the lookout for the next installment of "Ali's Favorite Video Game Music!"