30 Years of VGM with Jeff van Dyck – PA163

We’re joined today by another amazing and prolific guest; composer, Jeff van Dyck. Instead of focusing on a specific game we take a tour through Jeff’s entire career from Skitchin’ all the way to recent games like Unpacking. Jeff began his career in 1992 with EA (Electronic Arts), working on games like the FIFA, NHL series, and Need for Speed 1 & 2. He continued on to do the music for many of the major games in the Total War series, starting with the original, Shogun: Total War, and continuing with the Medieval and Rome Total War games. In recent years, Jeff has written music for a number of indie games like Assault Android Cactus, Hand of Fate 1 & 2, Submerged, Forts, Paint the Town Red and Unpacking

In this interview we talk about a great many things; working in a constantly shifting industry, evolving as a composer, writing music for AAA games as well as indies, a bit of light hardware discussion, and just life in general over the last three decades. 2022 marks 30 years for Jeff in the games industry, a landmark achievement for anyone, and he’s still going strong. We crammed in as much music as we possibly could, and we hope you enjoy listening to some lovely selections of music that Jeff has written over the course of his career.

Show notes and track list

LIVE: VGMTogether – Preserving Game Audio – PA162

We had a great time at VGMTogether presenting our talk on game audio logging and the dedicated communities around the world that have spent years archiving music as accurately as possible. It’s a commonly overlooked topic that nevertheless supports a lot of activities in the game music scene.

You may have heard it referred to as “VGM ripping”; logging is the process of accessing, capturing, organizing and ultimately archiving game music in more accessible ways. There are a few ways that game music is stored in data, and a few ways that game music is captured for easier access. It’s a time-consuming but rewarding process that requires some computer skills and a decent amount of patience.

In addition to the tracklist we’ve included a number of other resources: links to some of our past shows with a focus on logging and preservation, links to some of the more prominent game and computer music archives, and some other relevant talks. To all of those involved in VGM logging including our good friends ValleyBell and ctr, as well as the many folks we didn’t mention, we thank you for all of your hard work and for everything you’ve done for the VGM community over the years.

Show notes and track list

Roadkill – PA161

Today we’re joined be returning guest Jesse Bishop aka Street Cleaner to talk about Roadkill! It’s an Amiga and Amiga CD-32 top down combat racing game released around early 1995, developed by Vision Software and published by Acid Software, both New Zealand based studios. The game’s music was written by Blair Zuppicich, a composer and demoscene artist that went by the handle BaZ.

Jesse fills us in on some cool discoveries he made ripping the sound and music, along with some technical discussion on how Blair and his team implemented it all in the game. We talk 90s ‘tude, combat racers and butt rock (yeah!) in this short but fun episode.

Show notes and track list

The 8-Bit Big Band with Charlie Rosen – PA160

The 8-Bit Big Band is a 30-65 member Jazz/Pops orchestra (led by Charlie Rosen) that formed to celebrate and realize some of the best musical themes written from various video games. The members of the 8-Bit Big Band come from all around the world, but most reside primarily in New York City, and are some of the most highly sought after musicians and performers, all gamers at heart who enjoy playing their favorite games of all time!

 

Charlie Rosen is extremely talented; he’s a composer and arranger, professional bass player and multi-instrumentalist and does just about everything involved in producing the 8BBB albums. He’s been playing professionally for years and has orchestrated and composed music for television, film and over a dozen Broadway shows.  He’s well-versed in all manner of Big Band and Jazz, and his expanded arrangements give new life to old classics.

Together with Charlie we cover a selection of tracks from 3 full-length albums and an EP. We talk music theory, arrangement, our favorite pop cultural references and so much more in this densely packed show. It was a blast start to finish and as always, we hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Show notes and track list

Expansion Pack XXVIII – PA159

Six more tracks that we love but didn’t quite fit anywhere else. As always we hope you enjoy!

Show notes and track list

Pilotwings 64 with Dan Hess – PA158

We’ve got a great show today with Dan Hess, the composer behind Pilotwings 64! It was released as a launch title for the N64 in 1996 by Paradigm Simulation and is the second in the series (Pilotwings, Pilotwings 64, Pilotwings Resort). Pilotwings 64 continues the tradition of a lightweight flight sim where you use a variety of flight tools like a hang glider, jet pack, gyrocopter to complete simple objectives, or just fly around more casually.

 

Dan Hess is a composer, performer and sound designer with over 30 years experience. In addition to his work on Pilotwings 64, Dan wrote the music for F1 World Grand Prix for N64. During the development of Pilotwings, Dan was the in-house composer for Paradigm Simulations / Entertainment. Dan plays a mean keyboard and has been performing since he was a teen, with the likes of Second Self and Skeleton Crew. Dan continues to work in tech, and is engaged in a number of side projects like recreating a lot of the Pilotwings 64 soundtrack for donors to his Patreon. Over the course of the show, Dan also shares a number of tracks related to his time in VGM, some of which he uploads to YouTube.

Also guest hosting with us is Ian Cowell, a guitarist and VGM musician who grew up with the N64 and loved Pilotwings 64 enough to put out a cover of Birdman, which we use to close out the show. If you enjoy his track, check out the rest of his recently released album Exceptional Goblins, with features a total of 12 awesome and laid back VGM tracks from the popular to the obscure. Those with a good memory will recall Ian also joined us at MAGWest 2018.

We had a fantastic time with both of our guests, and even though we like all of the shows we put out, this one might be one of our favorites already. We hope you enjoy it and all of the music as much as we do.

Show notes and track list