Quartet with Norm – PA115

Today we’re joined by long time listener and friend to the show Norm as we cover the classic soundtrack of Quartet.

Originally developed and published by Sega in 1986, Quartet is a futuristic 4-player arcade platformer with elements borrowed from Gauntlet. Quartet only saw one major wave of releases in arcades and home consoles plus a Sega Ages rerelease, but it maintains a dedicated fanbase and the music composed by Katsuhiro Hayashi plays a big role.

Katsuhiro Hayashi, a.k.a. “Funky K.H” is a composer and former S.S.T. Band keyboardist with some impressive credits. In addition to Quartet, he worked on Super Hang-On, SDI, and Galaxy Force I/II in arcades, and many other console games over the years. Since 2005 he left the conventional games business to work mostly on pachinko games but his music has left a lasting impact.

Join us as we listen to the Arcade and Sega Master System versions of Quartet along with a few brief departures.

Show notes and track list

PA Music Disk Vol. 4 – PA114

After a long break we’re back with another Music Disk volume for more FM synth.

This episode’s music comes from a disk titled Imagical Musion Depot Vol. 3 by the group Active Gamers, led by NT-3 for the PC-8801. The disk was released in 1996 and uses PMD ver3.9 (by KAJA). Get ready for another round of mostly originals from a slew of different musicians in a range of styles.

Show notes and track list

Rackets & Rivals – PA113

rackets & rivals NES PAL Nintendo pixelated audioAfter the Library of Congress we’re kicking off a new short episode format and making a return to the wellspring of great VGM with another sports title. This time we’re listening to the music of tennis game Rackets & Rivals released on the NES in 1993 only in… Europe?

Developed and published by Konami or more accurately their European subsidiary Palcom, Rackets & Rivals is an unremarkable late-era NES game with a brief but excellent soundtrack worthy of some attention. The range of Konami technical tricks is on full display here.

Just after recording, Bryan confirmed with Hiroshi Takeyasu (of Bemani fame) that he did indeed compose 2 songs and create sound effects for the game. Although he couldn’t recall which two tracks, stylistically Match Results and the Unused track sound most similar so that’s our best guess. The other suspected composer Tomoya Tomita also responded to Bryan with a confident “no”, so the second composer of the game remains a minor mystery. Enjoy!

Show notes and track list

LIVE: Library of Congress: A Brief History of Game Audio – PA112

We’re back from the Library of Congress and what a rare honor it was to be included in their inaugural weekend long event celebrating the music of games. Our talk, which you’ll hear today, covered the early history of video game audio with a few detours into film and pop culture for context.

In addition to our talk, we also got to speak on a panel discussion alongside composer Austin Wintory (Journey) and game designer Rami Ismail (Nuclear Throne) for the world premiere of Austin’s interactive piece Arrows. We also got to meet Winifred Phillips (Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation) after her talk on interactive game audio!

The Library of Congress was a wonderful experience; certainly one for the history books (quite literally) and we hope you enjoy our talk.

Show notes and track list

Expansion Pack XXIII: Hanging out in DC – PA111

We’re back from our break with a new episode, and this time we have an expansion pack with the many supportive friends and family members that joined us in Washington DC.

On the show we have Bryan, Gene and his wife representing Pixelated Audio, Ed and family members Logan and Myla of the VGMBassy, and Emily of Sound Test Roulette. Each person picked a song that holds a special place in their heart as we reminisce on our time over the weekend.

Though they couldn’t be with us for the recording, we were also joined over the weekend by Rob and Pernell of Rhythm and Pixels as well as perennial VGM stalwart Chris Murray.

Stay tuned for our recording from the Library of Congress in the next few weeks, or wait until it’s officially up in 3-4 months.

Show notes and track list

Gabriel Knight with Robert Holmes – PA110

Gabriel Knight was developed and published by Sierra On-Line on December 17, 1993 for DOS/Windows/Macintosh. Join Gabriel, a bookstore owner, would-be author, and a man with a love for the ladies as he follows the “Voodoo Murders”. With the help of his trusty assistant Grace and longtime friend Detective Mosely, what starts off as searching for inspiration for a novel ends up uncovering ties to New Orleans’ voodoo past, the present day criminal underworld and his own tangled family history.

The evocative score was composed by industry veteran Robert Holmes, and the game was written and designed by powerhouse creative Jane Jensen. Together their work perfectly captures a place in time so memorably it resonates even all these years later. We’re honored to be joined by Robert Holmes for an interview that we’ve been looking forward to for a long time.

Show notes and track list