Splice with Dain Saint – PA143

In June of 2012, Cipher Prime Studios released Splice, a puzzle game about organizing cells into increasingly complex patterns. It’s a game that requires concentration and it’s also a bit about tampering with nature. Splice can be purchased on a number of platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, PS3 and PS4 but no matter where you purchase it, it’s a challenging and mentally rewarding game accompanied by a beautiful piano soundtrack composed by Dain Saint, who we have joining us on the show today.

Cipher Prime is a Philadelphia-based indie game and interactive art studio co-founded in 2008 by Dain Saint and Will Stallwood. With Dain as technical director and Will as creative director, the team has made more than 10 games including Pulse, Intake, Auditorium and Fractal. Cipher Prime has also been a driving force in the Philadelphia indie game scene for over a decade where they ran a co-working space and hosted numerous events for game developers over the years.

 

Dain Saint himself is an accomplished musician, artist and designer. In addition to his composition and technical work on games, he also writes poetry, produces music videos, and many other creative pursuits. His first and main instrument is the piano, and he also sings and plays guitar. The piano work on Splice features beautiful melodies, sweeping arpeggios thick with reverb and emotional highs and lows that switch from euphoric to dark at a moment’s notice.

Join us for this captivating first interview of 2021 where we cover a range of topics from the music itself, to the metaphysical symbolism throughout the game, to current events and beyond.

Show notes and track list

Xixit – PA142

On the surface, Xixit is a pretty straightforward Columns clone. Go a little bit deeper and you find a columns clone with impressive coding, visual effects and music. Xixit was released for DOS in 1995 by Optik Software, a small American publisher that only ever released 3 games, the other two being a point and click called Igor and an RTS called War Inc. The gameplay is your typical match three game with a 1-player or 2-player versus mode and an impressive array of difficulty and graphics options.

All of the staff that worked on the game were active members of the demoscene at the time. If you like what you see and hear, thank the folks below:

  • Tran” Tomasz Pytel – Programming
  • Oman” John Hood – Art and Design

Music by

  • Necros” Andrew Sega
  • Mesonyx” Jon Dal Kristbjornsson
  • C.C.Catch” Kenny Chow
  • Nemesis” Andrew Wise

Link to the game Xixit on Archive.org

Link to Impulse Project Podcast – a sibling podcast about demoscene music

Track List:

  • 00:00 Exuding Titleness – Necros
  • 10:13 Music1 – Mesonyx
  • 20:16 Music2 – Mesonyx
  • 25:58 Music3 – Mesonyx
  • 36:45 Pentagonal Dreams – Necros
  • 43:10 Sacred Grounds – C.C.Catch
  • 51:56 Visionary – Nemesis

Home Alone – PA141

30 years later the film Home Alone remains a holiday classic. The games, not so much. The success of the first two films spawned a spate of 13 cheap cash-in from 1991 to 1993 across just about every mainstream game system. Co-hosting alongside us, friends and longtime listeners Norm and UtopiaNemo join in what could be considered a holiday episode. We share some joy and laughter at the music that ranges from forgettable to miserable, with a few genuinely great songs in there for good measure.

2020 has been an exceptionally hard year for many of us, and we hope that you can find some joy in listening to the music of Home Alone as we close out our last show of the year. Whether you’re just joining us or have been listening for a long time, we at Pixelated Audio wish you all well.

Show notes and track list

Satellaview – PA140

In the last installment we talked about Treasure Conflix, and today we’re talking about the platform itself, the Nintendo Satellaview. The Satellaview was created as a partnership between the broadcasting company St.GIGA and Nintendo’s R&D2 Division, the team responsible for the original Super Famicom. It was released as an add-on in 1995 and was a somewhat unique approach to an online service.

The system required a broadcast satellite just like you’d need for television, but instead it would broadcast digital data like games, news and hints through the service. It was reasonably successful with roughly 100,000 users at its peak and around 230 games were produced for it. Games ranged from ports of popular games, competition games for prizes, live broadcast games narrated by professional voice talent and original games. The weekly broadcast format was used to release certain games episodically over the course of several weeks, including games in the Zelda and F-Zero series. The Satellaview ran officially until 1999 when Nintendo dropped support but broadcasts from St.GIGA continued through June of 2000.

The Satellaview was like many online services in the mid 90s and featured a mini “world” where you moved your avatar around and communicated with NPCs to access the various features, similar to Nintendo’s Miis in later consoles. Music plays while you’re walking around the world and accessing the features, such as seeing the upcoming broadcasts or when downloading new games. The music for the Satellaview was composed by three veteran Nintendo composers: Akito Nakatsuka, Naoto Ishida & Yuichi Ozaki, which we believe are the primary composer and two sound designers respectively. The service may be offline but we can still enjoy some of the very characteristically Nintendo music, and we hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Show notes and track list

Treasure Conflix – PA139

In early 1996, Squaresoft released Treasure Conflix and three other exclusive titles for the Satellaview Broadcast Satellite system, an add-on for the Super Famicom. The soundtrack was written by longtime composer Junya Nakano. The game is an aerial combat and RPG hybrid where you split your time between fighting other airships in real time and traveling to small caves and towns to find upgrades for your airship. It remains untranslated but it isn’t some long lost classic; the gameplay is serviceable and it can be beaten in just under 2 hours.

The Satellaview games do mark an interesting period of experimentation for Squaresoft. They sit between the earlier success of landmark RPGs like Final Fantasy IV, VI and Chrono Trigger and before the transition into the PS1 generation with games like Final Fantasy VII and Parasite Eve. Some of you might recognize Square’s more notable Satellaview game Radical Dreamers which became the basis for Chrono Cross.

Composer and arranger Junya Nakano started his career at Konami in 1992. After that he moved on to Square from 1995-2009 and continues to work as a freelancer. As lead composer he’s written the music for Threads of Fate and Final Fantasy IV: The After Years. More frequently he’s been a co-composer and has worked on games like X-Men arcade and Tobal No. 1, as well as regular collaborations with Masashi Hamauzu on projects like Front Mission: Gun Hazard, Final Fantasy X, XIII, and the X/X-2 remasters.

Link

Show notes and track list

Aworg: Hero in the Sky – PA138

The most interesting thing about Aworg: Hero in the Sky is that it was released on Sega Meganet, an early online service and precursor to the Sega Channel. Released in 1991 by Sega, Aworg is a short and fairly unremarkable action game where you traverse a maze in a robotic suit that can fly around, dash, and push enemies away with its jet stream. The game is short, and can be beaten in about 20 minutes with practice.

The music is credited to “Bambi” whose real name is unknown, but they were most likely a member of Sega’s in-house sound team. It largely features early 90s piano house styled tunes and is more groove than anything, but catchy nonetheless. Enjoy what is perhaps our shortest episode ever.

Show notes and track list