Archive for October 22nd, 2010

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Year One

October 22, 2010

Wow, has it been a year already? I’ve been so busy the past couple weeks that I’d completely lost track of where I was on the schedule!

Initially, I thought I’d end this blog exactly one year into it (in fact, I’ve had my final song picked out for a LONG time). And I honestly think that VGM Daily will be running to a close here after a few more weeks. It has nothing to do with changes in my interests; rather, I’ve covered most of the songs I really enjoy and my busy schedule makes it difficult for me to listen to new material on a regular basis (even though I know there’s tons of great music I simply haven’t heard yet).

The other reason is I’ve accomplished most of what I set out to do when I began this. I managed to keep this blog running – daily – for 365 days and at least appear to have said something intelligent with each post (though the writing has varied). Then again, just because you write a lot doesn’t mean the writing improves – just look at Dear Abby. So I can’t really say I’m too much better at talking about game music than I was a year ago. I’ve also been able to make one post a day before going to bed (or in some exceptions, getting it done first thing in the morning).

The blog has also changed a little from its original plan. One song per day has lately become two or three versions of the same song each day. Some games feature multiple songs rather than one single ‘exemplar’ of the soundtrack (something I find to be quite impossible). Further, instead of using songs from one game each day (for a total of 365 games), there have been so many examples from certain games as to make the selection a little lopsided. But hey, you write what you know, and these songs represent nearly all the games that I know.

I suppose the final reason is that I reflected on all the time I’ve spent working on this blog. If I estimate about an hour each day, then after one year of using one hour of my time, I’ve effectively used 365 hours – or 1/24 of the year. This got me wondering: what have I done productively with the other 23/24 of my year? (ok, 1/3 of it was spent sleeping). And when I realized this, I am no longer sure that using that one hour to write about one song is as useful as other things I could be doing.

VGM Daily will continue as a daily blog for at least a few more weeks – but I doubt it will last a second year. After this, I think it will change to something different – maybe VGM Weekly?

Anyway, for those of you who have been listening since Day One, thank you for your support! And for all the new folks out there (wow, I’ve come a long way since then, as this site now gets over 100 users a day on average!), thank you for visiting the site! I’d like to thank as well all the game composers out there who have been writing such excellent music for the past 40 years! Your music means a lot to me, and I will continue to buy, listen to, talk about, and write about game music!

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Secret of Mana – “The Oracle” (Hiroki Kikuta)

October 22, 2010

“The Oracle” is actually a giant Dark Lich who has become the pure evil form of the evil sorcerer Thanatos. Thanatos was trying to…I guess achieve world domination by controlling the Mana Fortress and killing everything on the earth (which makes no sense because who are you going to rule if everyone is dead?). Part of this evil scheme involves turning people into zombies and taking over the body of some poor bastard with the ridiculous name Dyluck who seems to stumble into traps and get captured for no good reason. (I’m not really a big fan of the story.) I guess the Dark Lich reappears in Seiken Densetsu 3 (sequel to Secret of Mana, or Seiken Densetsu 2), but I’ve never played that game.

Secret of Mana – “The Oracle” (Hiroki Kikuta)

Anyway, “The Oracle” is an incredibly creepy tune that plays in the penultimate boss fight with the Dark Lich, and the music is sort of thing that might be played by a hardcore emo with prayer wheels. The instrument selection is like that of a Buddhist temple, only it has been twisted and perverted to become an evil incantation that sucks you in with a sinking miasma of decay. There are some incredible prayer drums here, replete with distortion, discord, and industrial percussion; there are also strange grumblings and munchings in the background. The main melody is played on bells and heavy guitar riffs, with the bells in the latter half plotting on spider’s legs and ever-rising hackles. It’s not really a pleasant tune, but it’s got enough force and distortion to make it an interesting piece – especially if you were a kid at the time you played this. It’s up there in my mind with Sigma’s theme from Mega Man X as a boss theme that was memorable – just not as awesome as it was back in the day.

“The Oracle” is actually prefigured in “Ceremony“, which uses discordant bells and gongs to create a rather nauseating plunge into zombie-infested dungeons. It’s Happy Halloween!