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

Alex the Allegator 4 with Anders Svensson – PA124

Alex the Allegator 4 (aka Alex 4) is a freeware platformer released for PC, Mac, Linux and BeOS in 2003 by Free Lunch Design. Free Lunch Design was a small indie developer based in Gothenburg, Sweden, best known for their game Icy Tower. The company was started in 1998 by Johan Peitz with the goal of creating fun, high quality games with a focus on gameplay.


We’re excited to have the composer for the game Anders Svensson calling in from Sweden. Anders spent the early 2000s writing music for indie games in the lesser known early social internet. In the intervening years he’s devoted his energy to his acapella group Kvartetten DEO (Quartet DEO), whose wonderful music can be found at deo.se.

Listen with us through the soundtrack to the fun and charming Alex 4, and a number of other tracks from the heyday of Free Lunch Design.

Show notes and track list

Expansion Pack XXV – PA123

Pixelated Audio reflects back on 2019 and welcomes in a new decade with a selection of tracks from a variety of systems. Here’s to a lots more great game music!

Show notes and track list

Panzer Dragoon Saga with Saori Kobayashi – PA122

Panzer Dragoon Saga or Azel has been on the Pixelated Audio radar for some time and we couldn’t be happier that it’s finally here. The stars aligned and with the help of Alex Aniel of Brave Wave Productions, Saori Kobayashi became the first confirmed Japanese guest to come to MAGWest 3 in California. We had the chance to interview her in-person, see her talk about her career and hear her splendid live concert featuring Stemage on guitar, Ronin Op F on violin and Michelle Dreyband on vocals.

The series began as a pair of rail shooters on the Saturn developed by Sega’s in house group, Team Andromeda. In order to compete with games like Final Fantasy VII, Panzer Dragoon Saga was made into a JRPG and released worldwide on the Saturn in 1998. It features a semi-realtime 3D combat system, an evocative soundtrack and gorgeous art design. Although the game had a small print run in the West due to its relatively late release, it received critical acclaim and became one of the most well-loved classics on the system, remaining a cult favorite to this day.

Composers Saori Kobayashi and Mariko Nanba bring together an incredible album of exotic soundscapes that has rarely been matched. They combine the best characteristics of classic melody driven Japanese game music with the expanding richness that was becoming possible during the Saturn era to make a soundtrack that stays with you long after you stop listening.

Saori Kobayashi has become synonymous with the world of Panzer Dragoon, having written the music for Panzer Dragoon Saga, Orta, the spiritual sequel Crimson Dragon, her original album Terra Magica and the Panzer Dragoon Saga 20th Anniversary album. She’s also worked on titles like Sylvan Tale on the Game Gear and Shadowgate 64.

Mariko Nanba is the lesser known composer of the two but she is no slouch herself. Nanba joined Sega in the early 1990s and in addition to writing some of our favorite songs in Panzer Dragoon Saga, went on to write music for Space Channel 5 Part 2, Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), Sonic Rush Adventure, Sonic Colors and many others.

Show notes and track list