Name That Tune! – EXP Share #7 – I like music. One of these days, I hope to recognize more than just Final Fantasy music and become a true patron to video game music.
Those were the post for May’s EXP Share Posts! If there were any that I missed, please let me know. Now to this month’s topic:
The post that I wrote for the last EXP Share made me a little heated. You shouldn’t take that anger out on anyone or anything. Instead, you should use that energy to do better things and push you to great things. I’m not the only one who uses some of my pent up anger to give me the extra boost to tackle difficult things. With that in mind, this month’s EXP Share will be able overcoming obstacles that at one point seemed daunting.
Share A Story About A Difficult Obstacle In A Game That You Were Able Overcome.
What classifies as difficult is subjective to the person performing the task. I find playing survival horror games difficult to play due to my heighten anxiety, but others can play them normally with no problem. Sometimes, just finishing something you set out to do can be the most difficult part to do. Whatever felt difficult for you, let us know for this month’s EXP Share post!
Music is an important factor of my life. I started playing music at age nine in my fifth grade band and stayed in the music program up to my senior year. I remember in my junior year of high school, I told my mom that I had no interest in becoming a doctor anymore, and wanted to go to college to study music instead. A normal parent might have said that was a terrible idea, but my mom is super cool and always supportive of my decisions. So after high school, I went to college to study music full time…and quickly noticed that I was unlike most of the other students. As a music major, it was expected that you would be familiar with classic composers like Beethoven, Mozart, Scarlatti, Chopin, and current composers. Everyone also had their favorite genre of music from rock, pop, jazz, etc.; and our professors would expect us to know different aspects of each genre even before coming to college. That is where my oddity came in as my favorite music didn’t come on the radio or featured on top billboard charts that everyone was familiar with. My favorite music came from video games.
I remember my high school band director always turning down my pleas for playing band arrangements of popular game tunes. Their obvious response was that we did not have the instrumentation to play some of the things, but the harshest response they ever gave me was that video game music wasn’t “real” or good music. It wasn’t an uncommon thing for someone that old (I think they were in their 30s) with no concept of video games outside of the “beeps and boops” to say something like that. That comment made me upset (as it should have) to the point I wanted to question their music degree since they must have missed the lesson that all music is music regardless if you like it or not. This mindset didn’t end for me in high school. While my collegemates would talk about their favorite artist and music they listened to, some would raise an eyebrow when I would mention that my favorite genre were soundtracks from video games. I couldn’t begin to tell you who wrote some of the most well-known music out their, or who is currently trending. What I can tell you however is when one song plays at a particular part in a game just by listening to the first few notes of the song.
Video game music is my forte. What makes these soundtracks so great is that they come in various genres and follow the same basic music theory principles that all music follows. Take Final Fantasy XIII’s soundtrack for example. Most of the tracks follow the form of theme and variations (you establish a main theme and then create different variations around that theme). Even before that, the Tetris theme A-Type is taken from a Russian folk-song that originated in 1861. To say a folk-song is not music because you only recognize it from a video game does not invalidate itself from great music (augh those old farts!).
But this post is not about proving to my music teachers that video game soundtracks are great (I’ll do that another time). This post is about how good I am at identifying music from different games. I by all means do not know every single song written for every video game out their, but I am good enough to listen and make a good guess to where they come from. At this point, I can almost guess correctly every track from every mainline Final Fantasy game and almost distinguish them if they are arranged differently. Nobou Uematsu will always be one of my favorite composers since he knows how to turn the music into art. Even composers of the series after his departure like Hitoshi Sakimoto (the god behind Tactics and XII‘s soundtrack), Masayoshi Soken (XIV), Yoko Shimomura (XV and Kingdom Hearts), and Kumi Tanioka (Crystal Chronicles) have shown time and time again how their music can stand tall as modern classics. I think it is a combination of listening to each game’s soundtrack countless times and playing through the games that it has left a big impression on me. Even for some of the games I haven’t played or finished yet, I can at least tell you which game it comes from just from listening to the style of the track and comparing it to the rest of the games soundtrack.
A fun game that Kat and I play when we are on long car rides is to guess music tracks. For her, it takes her maybe a moment to guess it correctly if she is really familiar with it. For me, it sometimes takes hearing the first few notes in the first measure for me to know exactly what it is and where it came from. This infuriates her. When we are doing Final Fantasy music she will try and trip me up by playing the Dissidia arrangements of songs, but I can for the most part distinguish those as well. Outside of Final Fantasy, I am working on other series that I’m familiar with like Persona, Tales of (which is hard since Motio Sakuraba contributes to a lot of other series), and others that I can find on Spotify and YouTube. Another weird thing that I can do but don’t understand is telling apart each sound of a chest opening from each Zelda title. I haven’t played most of the Zelda games, but for some reason I know the chest sound from each game.
I’ll end this post with places where you can listen to some great soundtracks. Spotify and other music streaming sites have been adding a lot of video game soundtracks lately, which is great for someone like me who likes listening to them all day. There is also this website that plays video game music all day called NoLife-radio. If you have the Tunein app on your phone you can find their channel through that and listen to it on your phone. If you have other places that you like to listen to your favorite video game soundtracks, tell us about it in the comments. Tune in next time when I go to my old high school band director’s house and have a debate over their opinion of video game music.
Hello everyone. I hope this past month was full of learning new things and increasing your intelligence stat. If not, there were some really good posts this month full of video game trivia that were shared by other bloggers. Learn some interesting things by giving their post a read!
Gaming Facts FTW by Later Levels – Do you have what it takes to answer all of Kim’s trivia questions that date back to 1972 to the present? Then test your knowledge in Kim’s new game show which should totally be a thing (Pete can be the model co-host)!
EXP Share: Lightning Round by Ace Asunder – Solarayo busted out the good stuff and shared some trivia that came from her collection of game guides. It was fun listening to her talk about one of her favorite series of all time.
Thank you all for sharing and reading! If there were any that I missed, please let me know. Let’s take a look at what’s in store for this month.
When it comes to telling personal stories, you can only ask so much until you run out of topics, or start repeating the same story. These EXP Share post won’t last forever, but I want to try creating new topics that showcase the bloggers in the community in different compacities. What does that intel? I don’t know yet, but I did think of this question while writing this post:
Share A Interesting/Weird/Fascinating Gaming Related Thing That You Are Good At And/or Proud Of.
Are you good at identifying voice actors without looking at the credits? Do you hold a record for a speedrun? Do you own everything relating to a specific series? Have you 100% completed every game in your collection, or with a specific series? Let us know what you are really good at! Don’t worry if you think your talent is dumb or ridiculous compared to others. This is something that you are good at and are proud of, so be proud of it and share it with the world!
The madness of March is behind us now, so let’s start moving towards April. Before we do, I would like to share some of the EXP Share Posts that others have written this month. Thank you all for continuing to contribute!
Dragon Quest XI’s Shocking First Act Ending by George from The Gamer With Glasses – Dragon Quest wouldn’t be the same without its narrative plot twist to keep the player engaged with the story. This is no different for Square’s eleventh mainline entry in the long running series. Now I need to catch up and get to this point.
EXP Share: Elephant Noise Giant Boss Guy by Solarayo from Ace Asunder – *Insert elephant noise* I have never heard of this boss in Metal Gear Solid 2, but I enjoyed watching Genni’s clip from her stream doing so. I makes you wonder what other weird secrets Kojima put in his games.
Thank you all for sharing! As always, if I left someone out please let me know and I will add you to the feature list. Now onto this month’s topic.
Honestly, this might be my second to last month where things are going to be on the back burner of things until I finish up school. April will be when final papers and projects are due, and then in a couple of months I will be taking my End of Program exam to win that sweet sweet prize of crippling pain a shiny new piece of paper to hang on my wall! While I’m off doing research this month to wrap up my second to last round of classes, I thought of a fun EXP Share post that will be a bit different. This time around, I don’t want you to share a past experience you had with your favorite type of media, instead, I want you to share what you found out about your favorite things!
EXP Share Post #6 Share A Piece or Pieces of Trivia About One Of Your Favorite Games
If you are like me, I enjoy watching videos about gaming history and trivia. I bet there are somethings that I might not know or you might not know about one of your favorite games. So for this month, I am asking that you share with us some trivia about your favorite game! It could be on one game, or multiple if you like. Don’t worry if it is common trivia that most may already know. There are things people already know and there are some that none know; so no pressure (unless you are telling me again for the umpteenth time that Super Mario Bros 2 is just a reskin of Doki Doki Panic…)
Did I come up with this topic to talk about something that I’ve wanted to talk about in a while but didn’t have an excuse to at the time? Short answer, yes. The point of entertainment is to entertain you. Rather that be a good book, tv show, movie, or video game, entertainment wouldn’t be successful if it did not entertain you. Entertainment can be achieved by being a well produced work of art, funny, thought provoking, or just generally make you feel good. Then there are the time where something can be so good that it is painful. I’m talking about those events that glue you to your seat since you have to know what happens next. What the hell is going on!? I don’t know, but this is an event that I’m going to remember for a while.
*Spoilers for The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel. Read at own risk (or if you just don’t care).
So there is this little game called The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel. It is a long as hell JRPG game that spans 4 games (10 games in total if you follow the overarching storyline). I knew nothing about this series until I found a copy of it in the store one day, and decided to give it a go. You play as the chad Rean Schwarzer as he goes through the daily life of military school as a member of Class Seven, a class that has a mix of commoners and nobles as an “experiment” to shake up the social status of the nation. It is your typical story of learning the struggles of the commoners and the nobility with the members of Class 7 learning to cast aside their issues with one another and the world around them. I’m not here to give a synopsis of the entire story, but it is a really good one that I really enjoyed.
Anyhow, at the end of the game, Rean and his classmates are enjoying the success of yesterday’s Summer Festival. Out of nowhere, they hear that the chancellor of the nation has been shot in the heart by a terrorist, who happens to be one of their classmates, C. This act invokes a civil war between the nobility and resistance force. This shakes things at the military school, since now they will have to involve themselves in an actual war. Things would be fine, but then the school gets attacked by the nobilities forces. What’s more, C is now a piloting a freaking Gundam that was nowhere in the series. Being the chad he is, Rean also summons his Megazoid (I’m sorry for those who don’t get these references) and the two battle it out in the games first and only mech battle. Why they decided to have this at the end of the game? Don’t know, but it was badass. The battle ends with C overpowering Rean since he is not accumstomed to his new partner Valimar. Rean’s classmates come to his rescue and pled beg him to flee while they hold him off. Rean refuses, but Valimar doesn’t care and sends him and Rean flying off. All Rean can do is watch and scream as his friends hold their own as they take on C. Then the screen goes black. Cue the music and roll the credits.
This left me shocked. How are you going to introduce a new mech battle mechanic at the end of the game and then leave on a cliffhanger like that? My words don’t justify the scene enough, since this was the first dark turn that the game throws at you. I remember putting the controller down and reflecting as the sick J-pop played in the background. If you want to see the ending for yourself, I linked it down below (skip to 7:18 if you don’t want to watch the whole fight).
So naturally, I started playing the second game immediately. Nothing too outrageous happens in the second game, but it does drop a lot of bombshells throughout the plot and a significant plot twist that sets up the next game. For a while, no game had hit me hard with an emotional end like. I highly recommend this series since it does a great job with all of its characters and knows how to keep the player invested in the story. I knew things were going to be okay at the end, but I would have hated to be the poor people who had to wait for the second game to release. From that point, I would top this as one of my top 10 anime betrayals.