Archive for the ‘Joke Week’ Category

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The Neverhood – “Cough Drops” (Terry S. Taylor)

May 2, 2010

To end up the ‘joke’ track week, here’s another piece by Terry S. Taylor, “Cough Drops” from The Neverhood (1996). Taylor plays his acoustic guitar with accompanying trumpet noises and random grumbling punctuated by loud hacks. An absolutely delightful piece sure to provide some laugh-out-loud moments. When the game was released, it was voted one of the funniest soundtracks of all time (an award it still maintains to this day). Also turns out the 2004 album is actually available for purchase at a reasonable $20 from DanielAmos.com.

The Neverhood – “Cough Drops” (Terry S. Taylor)

The liner notes are quite extensive and very interesting. For Imaginarium (the first game produced by Dreamworks), Taylor was given instructions by director Doug TenNapel to create something “claylike” that was “clunky” and “ragged”, “earthy, sloppy, rough around the edges.” And of course no listener fatigue (due to the inevitable constant looping in a puzzle stage). Told to “work his magic”, Taylor went on his way to design the soundtrack, which he describes as an “audacious labor of love” that “deserved a soundtrack equal in its attention and detail and epic in its scope.”

Taylor doesn’t write musics scores, but composes on the fly. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Zero Wing – “Invasion of the Gabber Robots” (The Laziest Men on Mars)

May 1, 2010

This is the daddy of them all. All joke tracks somewhere along the line really owe something to Jeffrey Ray Roberts of The Laziest Men on Mars, who created “Invasion of the Gabber Robots” (1999) based off the “Introduction” and “Stage 1” themes to Zero Wing for the Sega Genesis. It took about a year for the meme to really hit off with the flash video (Wired has a nice report on its early history).

Here is the accompanying flash video:

Zero Wing – “Invasion of the Gabber Robots” (The Laziest Men on Mars)

“Invasion of the Gabber Robots” integrates the “Introduction (Part 1)” theme from the Sega Genesis version of Zero Wing as well as “Open Your Eyes”, the stage 1 theme by Tatsuya Uemura (Tiger Heli, Battle Bakraid), assisted by Masahiro Yuge (GigaWing, Shark! Shark! Shark!) and Toshiaki Tomizawa (Vimana/Teki Paki, FIXEIGHT). Uemura has his own website, but there’s not much on there. I’m not sure if someone else did the intro, as the Genesis version had no credits, but it integrates elements of “Open Your Eyes” for the second half of the song.

It’s actually a pretty cool techno theme (despite the obnoxious Gabber robot). It’s very intense, with the nice techno drums recalling all kinds of crap exploding before the ZIG fighter. When coupled with the quotes, it creates a wonderful disconnect – incredible drama and intensity, with absolutely meaningless statements. You can hear “Open Your Eyes” begin at around 2:10. It’s a pretty catchy theme, so I can see how it made “Gabber Robots” so successful (unlike some of The Laziest Men on Mars’ other work).

The Laziest Men on Mars are themselves kind of forgettable – outside of “Invasion of the Gabber Robots”, of course. I never found any of the other songs to be terribly interesting, though “The Terrible Secret of Space” was enough to distract me for a few minutes as a teen. “Invasion of the Gabber Robots” was taken off MP3.com for awhile because it contained audio taken directly from the game.

Zero Wing got its start in the arcades in 1989. It was a pretty generic shooter that would otherwise be doomed to obscurity. Read the rest of this entry ?

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NSFW: Spelunker – “You Just Fucking Died” (Mustin)

April 30, 2010

You can play this one loud, but obviously not at work 😛 It’s a good track from OverLooked ReMix’s SPLUNK! (2008) project, a remix album of crappy music from one of the crappiest NES games ever made. While the premise of exploring a giant cave in search of treasure you would think makes for a good game (Spelunky, anyone?), simply too many things went wrong with Spelunker (1983, 1985) to count. Basically, if you fall about half the character’s body height you die (and there are many more methods to count, including death by shallow hole, ghost, water, and bat poop). And then the game over music will still play for a few seconds after the character has respawned, making it easy to die again if you’re not paying attention. Mustin does this great justice in a song that became instantly legendary. That accent and “The Final Countdown” really ties the whole thing together 🙂

Spelunker – “You Just Fucking Died” (Mustin)

Anyway, the whole SPLUNK! remix project can be downloaded from their wonderful flash site. Now as you’ll soon find out, simply leaving the mouse lying around will allow the ghost to come up to the pointer and eat it. And you can’t click on a link with a ghost on the pointer, which means you can’t download the music! You have to actually struggle to get it!

OverLooked ReMiX is kind of a shadow site to OverClocked ReMix, posting, odd and comedy tracks. They’ve done a few projects of their own. Their mission: to entertain, annoy, heckle, and insult video game fans. Fun, fun! Joke songs seem to have caught on as an underside to vgmixing. Dwelling of Duels has even done a joke tunes months.

Mustin is part of a band called The OneUps. They’re one of the first US bands that started selling game music remixes commercially. It’s kind of weird because remixing in the US started off as a free and slightly underground thing, but now it’s a bit commercialized thanks to groups like The Minibosses, Armcannon, and The OneUps.

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Castlevania – “Be in a Belmont” (Div and the Divs)

April 29, 2010

Here’s another song we can definitely say is not vgm (but is about games, so it fits here). It’s a bunch of guys complaining about how much it sucks to be a vampire hunter. The song was made back in 2005 by the UK high school ska band Div and the Divs for their album Tea (a quite British title). They seem to be nonexistant today, as their Myspace page (the only remaining record of their existence) has not been updated in five years (so THAT’s what Myspace looked like five years ago!). Don’t even bother with their homepage – it just pulls a 404.

Castlevania – “Be in a Belmont” (Div and the Divs)

Actually, this video here is a ‘speedy speedrun’ I made (basically a speedrun playback sped up to fit the length of a song so you don’t have to watch the full length – the most popular one is a Super Castlevania IV clip set to “Travel Demon“). I was surprised to find out it’s been syndicated on YouTube (as in, someone re-uploaded it). This speedrun was by the almighty Phil and Genisto; even though there’s a faster speedrun out there, this is the best in terms of tricks. Incidentally, I made another version of their speedrun set to “Scourge of 1691”, but YouTube won’t let you upload a file that’s longer than 10 minutes.

While I can’t really say that Div and the Divs were any good (pretty much all their music sounds like this), the sort of depressed, blue-collar English accent really does work well with the complaining (as well as the alcohol references from craftily-placed bottles of holy water). And of course he’s complaining despite the fact that the Simon in the video is ripping through this game. (Castlevania is even harder if you have a copy that likes to freeze halfway through Death’s level.)

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Zelda II: The Adventure of Link – “Crying Alone in the Darkness” (Pixelated)

April 28, 2010

“I remember the other day I went right instead of left, and I probably shouldn’t have done that…” [NSFW for language]

Zelda II: The Adventure of Link – “Crying Alone in the Darkness” (Pixelated)

Link finds himself lost in the Great Temple at the end of his quest. What will he do? Will he save the Princess? Or will his blood be spilled over Gannon’s ashes to revive him? Sadly, this is the worst official Zelda game, mainly because of its poor difficulty balance (a sword the size of a butter knife isn’t terribly fun to use against six-armed guys with huge swords). I still don’t know how I ever beat it, but the ending is quite different from the other Zeldas.

This is really more of a narrative layered over a synth mix of the “Great Temple” theme (again, the voice level is a little low – this is probably the last poor recording I’m uploading).  To technically, it’s not VGM. Rather, it’s more stupid crap dredged from the archives of VGMix 2. Anyway, you could probably do something funny like this using Facebook journal entries.

Also: Season 3 of Legend of Neil will finish shooting by this weekend, so there will be some new episodes up next month! I guess this will just have to hold you over until then…

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Mega Man II – “Anymore” (BlackPerson)

April 27, 2010

What would happen if videogame heroes got fed up with their jobs? “I quit! I am tired of this game! I quit! And I don’t wanna be MEGA MAN ANY-MORE!” This song came from good old VGMix 2.0. Anyone else remember those golden days?

Mega Man II – “Anymore” (BlackPerson)

If you hadn’t guessed the theme it’s based on, try “Metal Man”. It’s actually kind of funny, too, to think of Dr. Light and Mega Man as black dudes.

Sadly, most of BlackPerson’s recordings have pretty poor audio (this is one of the better ones) and 128kbps encoding didn’t help either. Guess he needed a better mic! Oh yeah, the double ending is too ridiculous. However, it’s still pretty funny! (Especially for a slightly disgruntled Mega Man fan.)