Expansion Pack XXVI: 6 Years – PA130

Pixelated Audio is 6 years old! A lot has changed over that time, but the one constant is our love for game music of all kinds. Our theme today is a bit silly; games that are the 6th in a series (or at least have the number 6 in the title). We stretch the theme pretty far and come up with some fun tunes that we hope you’ll enjoy.

Thanks to all of our listeners. We hope to keep doing what we love, listening to and sharing great game music.

Show notes and track list

KGB / Conspiracy – PA129

KGB or Conspiracy is a 1992 game developed by Cryo Interactive Entertainment and published by Virgin Games for DOS and Amiga. KGB is a 1st person point and click adventure where you play as Maksim Rukov, an agent transferred to Department P and ordered to investigate possible corruption in the KGB after a former agent turns up dead.  It’s a challenging race against time that takes places in the gloomy final days of the Soviet Union.

The core soundtrack for DOS was composed by Stéphane Picq, with an original track and porting to Amiga handled by Alexandre Ekian. The music is a mix of moody electronic ambience and energetic melodic flourishes and features some of the best use of the Adlib (OPL2) soundchip from that era thanks to the custom HERAD music system by programmer and Cryo co-founder Remi Herbulot.

Stéphane Picq worked a number of other titles, including the incredible 1992 Dune soundtrack, MegaRace, Lost Eden and Riverworld but left the industry around 1998. Alexandre Ekian worked on the Amiga port of Dune, and wrote the music for Super Burnout on the Atari Jaguar, but unfortunately we found little else about him. In any case, sit back and enjoy these long but excellent tunes.

Show notes and track list

Psycho World – PA128

Today we’re covering Psycho World, released for the MSX in 1988 and localized as Psychic World for the Sega Master System and Game Gear in 1991. The original MSX release was developed and published by Hertz, a short-lived Japanese game developer that also worked on number of ports with their final game being Vay for the Mega CD. The SMS and Game Gear ports of Psychic World were done through a partnership with SIMS and published by Sega.

Psycho World is an action platformer with a unique if somewhat unusual sprinting mechanic, that takes design cues from contemporary games like Metroid, Mega Man and Phantasy Star. The original MSX game features 8 lengthy stages, with the SMS and Game Gear getting scaled down ports with fewer stages, although each version has its merits.

The short and catchy MSX soundtrack was composed by Kenji Yamazaki and Yuko Yamazaki, who despite being listed by name in the credits have very little other info available. Kenji Yamazaki’s other sole music credit was Hertz’s RPG Sword of Legend Lenam. We couldn’t find any other music credits for Yuko Yamazaki. The Game Gear and Master System port were handled by Izuho Takeuchi aka “Ippo“, a Sega veteran that also composed music for Phantasy Star III on the Mega Drive.

We focus mostly on the FM version of the soundtrack, with a few departures and comparisons to the other two. Join us as we listen and chat about the game in this lighthearted show.

Show notes and track list

Early Game Music with They Create Worlds – PA127


We once again return to the earliest days of game sound and music and trace the evolution from 1977 through 1984 in this historically focused episode. We go from the arcade boom, to early home consoles and computers, to the video game crash, and end just before the rise of the NES. The show is a much deeper dive on historical context, although we cover a lot more music in the second half.

We were very pleased to collaborate with special guests Alex Smith and Jeff Daum of They Create Worlds, a podcast, blog and book that focuses on getting nuanced and often untold stories from the game industry, with an emphasis on the lesser talked about business side of things. Their show does a fantastic job of capturing engaging context on everything from game genres, mega hits like Space Invaders and Tetris, to the founding of individual companies.

Our teams chose this specific time frame to both coincide with the first volume of Alex’s recently released historical chronicle on gaming, and as a chance to explore music from a period that doesn’t often get talked about. We also wanted to give a special thanks to another video game historian Ethan Johnson for connecting us with Alex and Jeff of They Create Worlds.

 

If you’d like more information on They Create Worlds, they can be found at:

theycreateworlds.com, on Twitter @tcwpodcast, or podcast.theycreateworlds.com

The book: “They Create Worlds: The Story of the People and Companies That Shaped the Video Game Industry, Vol. I: 1971-1982”

For even more, Alex’s older blog covers several more topics not discussed in the podcast videogamehistorian.wordpress.com

Show notes and track list

Kaze no NOTAM with Hammock – PA126

What does it feel like to soar through the skies in a hot air balloon? Kaze no Notam on the Sony Playstation attempts to answer that question. Released September 1997 by the mid-sized Japanese developer Artdink, Kaze no Notam is an easygoing flight sim in the vein of Pilotwings with some light objectives, although it’s more tech demo than game.

The composer for the game is Ryuuji Nishida who also worked on a number of projects for Artdink like ‘No One Can Stop Mr. Domino’, Zeus II Carnage Heart, A-Train DS, and Sword Art Online: Lost Song. He’s an accomplished composer and has been at Artdink for over 20 years and is currently the head of their sound department.

The game was chosen by friend of the show Brennan aka “Hammock” from his podcast KVGM – The Last Wave, which specializes in delivering breezy jams 30 minutes at a time from his native Aqua City. Hammock takes a break from drinking Arnold Palmtrees at the KVGM studio to bring us this hidden gem of a soundtrack featuring a wide range of relaxing styles of late 90’s electronic sounds, and we hope you enjoy them as much as we do.

If you like what you hear, check out KVGM – The Last Wave on iTunes or your favorite podcatcher, on Twitter at @kvgmradio, or online at kvgmradio.blogspot.com.

Show notes and track list

Harald Hårdtand: Kampen om de rene tænder – PA125

Harald Hårdtand: Kampen om de rene tænder (or Harold Hardtooth in The Fight for Clean Teeth) or simply “Colgate” for short, is an advergame platformer released in 1992 for the C64, Amiga and DOS. The game was developed by SilverRock Productions, a Copenhagen-based Danish company founded in 1988 and renamed in 1992 to Interactive Television Entertainment (ITE), best known for developing and producing the Hugo the Troll media franchise.

The soundtrack is short and sweet with only 3 tracks, or 4 if you count the unused title theme. The music was originally composed on C64 by Thomas Mogensen, a.k.a. (DRAX) of the demoscene group Vibrants. Additional support for sound effects and music for all three platforms was handled by Jens-Christian Huus (JCH) and Jesper Olsen (JO) of Vibrants, and Thomas Engel. Join us as we dive into the music of an advergame for the first but probably not last time.

Show notes and track list