Resonance: Two Favorite Songs to Soothe a Troubled Mind

I think we can all agree that music is brilliant. It weaves through our lives overtly and discreetly . Through it, emotions are heightened as well as dampened. Much that same can actually be said of video games, eh? With that in mind, over on Virtual Bastion I recently covered two of my favorite game songs that help bring things down a notch during stressful times. Considering world events, I think I’ll just stick these songs on repeat today.

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Upon completing my post from last week in which I referenced the soundtrack to Red Dead Redemption, I immediately had to listen to it again. I remain amazed at just how cohesive and brilliant it is in all its “Old West” mimicry. And, as much as it made me want to roam the prairies of New Austin once again, it also had a great side effect: it served as some much needed stress relief.

Granted, not all the sounds of RDR are serene enough to keep sleeping bandits at bay, but one of the early songs off its soundtrack, “Born unto Trouble,” is enough to promote a few healthy, quiet breaths.

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Will Red Dead Redemption 2 sound as good, if not better than the first?

If there’s one remaining game this year that I have my sights firmly set on, it’s Red Dead Redemption 2. (If there was ANY news about South Park: The Fractured but Whole, that might be the one instead. But there isn’t. So here we are.) I’ve been keeping a keen eye on RDR2 news, hoping for any slivers of information that will only heighten my excitement. Recent rumors concerning the game’s soundtrack did just that, because RDR’s soundtrack is an all-time favorite. Recently, over on Virtual Bastion, I offered up this quick report on RDR2’s musical news.

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Earlier this week, an article popped up on VG247 discussing marked similarities, as pointed out by a NeoGAF member, between the song used in in Red Dead Redempetion 2’s announcement trailer, and a song titled “Apertura” (from The Motorcycle Diaries) by Gustavo Santaolalla. Take a listen below.

Santaolalla is a composer with plenty of meaty credits to his name, including the genius soundtrack of The Last of Us.  While he’s apparently contributing that the soundtrack of that game’s sequel, it does seem quite possible that we’ll hear his work on RDR2. After all, the two pieces of music do sound very alike, with the only exception being the instruments used – the trailer music is primarily in piano and Santaolalla plays the guitar in “Apertura.” I’m not alone in the thought that Rockstar wouldn’t use just any ol’ song in their announcement trailer for this potentially seminal game…

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Can Music Make the Game?

With as many games as I’ve played, one might think that I’d be more into gaming soundtracks than I am. Which is to say I’m not at all into gaming soundtracks. At least not to the point that I have them filling up my iPod. But the soundtrack to Fable breaks that mold. And as I round up work on Fable Anniversary, I’m reminded why it’s one of the only game soundtracks that I do own. More on this and other musical recollections are here in this United We Game post.

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We all know how important music is in video games. Sometimes, a game’s soundtrack is a character in and of itself, bringing life to a game in ways that a character can’t. Sometimes, a game’s soundtrack plays a supporting role by imbuing scenes with emotion, being a presence without overwhelming the action. Sometimes, a game’s soundtrack can be nearly nonexistent, popping up only when absolutely necessary in order to make the players react. And, no doubt, there are games without soundtracks. When done right, the lack of music plays a key role in forcing the player to focus on the game itself. When done wrong, lack of music in a game can make it feel hollow and incomplete.

So a game and its soundtrack often go hand in hand. We play great games and are rewarded by great soundtracks. But could it ever be that the soundtrack itself is the…

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Five Favorite Songs from Chrono Trigger…So Far (#Listmas2015)

I’m really glad that Chrono Trigger turned out to be my game project this year. I can see why people adore it so. It’s complex and touching story is wrapped up in simple vestments, making it much less intimidating than many modern RPGs and JRPGs. The game flows so naturally, despite containing unnatural and supernatural events. Overcoming its obstacles is challenging but never insurmountable. And playing into the drive to see Crono’s story through till the end is the game’s soundtrack. I’ve definitely looked forward to hearing news sounds every time I enter a new place. And how many new sounds there are! I’m kind of amazed that the composers managed to cram in as much music in the game as the did. So with that said, I present for this Listmas my top five favorite songs from Chrono Trigger so far. (Up the point of reaching Algetty, though I have progressed a bit farther since.)
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iTunes Diaries, entry #31: “Nobody Does it Better” by Carly Simon

I was once a little…um, okay, terribly obsessed with iTunes.  I got my first iPod in 2004 and became immediately entranced by Apple’s seeming infinite lists of music for sale.  Over the years, I spent way too much time on iTunes and spent way too much money on music, some of which was great, and some of which was not.  In 2011, for the sake of my sanity and my bank account, I went cold turkey.  I suspended my iTunes activities and completely stopped visiting site.  With the iTunes Diaries, I take a look back, highlighting the good, the bad, and the ugly in music that I just had to have in the moment. 

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I was around 12 or 13 when I saw my first James Bond movie, which happened to be The Spy Who Loved Me. The movie involved Roger Moore being all Roger Moore-ish, Russian spies, girls swooning, and an underwater base. At least, I think all that was there. As with most of the Bond movies I’ve seen, in my head they all kind of roll into one big amalgam of fancy spymastering, chases involving impossible vehicles, lots of screen mugging, and gadget porn. But though The Spy Who Loved Me didn’t turn me into a Bond fanatic, it did introduce me to the musical majesty of Bond themes.

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Game soundtracks are great, but sometimes your own soundtracks are better (A Guest Post)

Many, many thanks to Chip of Games I Made My Girlfriend Play for this submission that will wrap up Voluntine’s Week here on RoP. We all have our favorite game soundtracks, but sometimes, listening to something other than an OST while playing can add a new dimension to a game. It’s this notion that Chip explores in his post below. In addition to maintaining his own blog, Chip also contributes to United We Game and Geek Force Network.

If you enjoy this article, please share it on Twitter using #Voluntines.  Thanks!

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Image from flickr user TheStouffe
Image from Flickr user TheStouffer

Thanks to years upon years of playing video games, I have a strong appreciation for the music featured in my favorite pastime. Okay, a strong obsession might be a better choice of words. Most of my iTunes playlists contain phrases like, “Official Game Soundtrack” or “Dwelling of Duels.” I listen to podcasts like VGMpire and The Sound Test. I may even be guilty of making fourteen different CD mixes of my preferred game remixes to listen to on road trips (fine, I admit it!). I just can’t help myself: the music is too damn good.

Of course, there is something to be said for the influence of these tunes on my memory. I can certainly appreciate video game music as a standalone medium, but there are plenty of songs that have the added bonus of a warm fuzzy factor. For example, the ragtime beat of Super Mario Bros. 2 immediately takes me back to my childhood home; huddled around the television with my cousins while my father and uncle try to take down Tryclyde. Perhaps this sort of nostalgia skews my feelings towards the music, but to be fair, Koji Kondo is an amazing composer.

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