SCORE – Orchestral Game Music

This weekend I was at Gothenburg Concert Hall for a special kind of performance that thrills us video game nerds:

Orchestral Game Music!

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SCORE is, simply put, a bunch of awesome musicians playing video game music in orchestral format, usually bringing more of the desired emotion to the audience. They present songs from all kinds of franchises, but since the main concert that evening was sold out we opted for the shorter performance that day, Taste of Score. And in retrospect we were glad we did, after a 2 hour Badminton game we were all too tired to be able to stay awake during a longer concert.

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We had the honor of listening to the following compositions:

JOURNEY – I WAS BORN FOR THIS

ASSASSINS CREED IV BLACK FLAG – SUITE

SONIC THE HEDGEHOG – MEDLEY

L.A. NOIRE -MAIN THEME

DEAD SPACE 2 – LACRIMOSA

CALL OF DUTY GHOSTS – LEGENDS NEVER DIE

COMMODORE 64 MEDLEY

FINAL FANTASY VI – TERRA’S THEME

THE LAST OF US – ALL GONE (NO ESCAPE)

BEYOND: TWO SOULS- JODIE’S SUITE

AGE OF CONAN HYBORIAN ADVENTURES – NIGHTTIME JOURNEY THROUGH THE EIGLOPHIAN MOUNTAINS

AGE OF CONAN RISE OF THE GODSLAYER – ALL HEROES UNITE!

I listen to video game music regularly, and I really enjoyed this special performance. The conductor Charles Hazlewood lead us (sometimes hilariously) through the depressing tunes of Dead Space 2’s Lacrimosa, which ended up on a sad and frightening tone, just to kick things up with the uplifting heroic Legends Never Die from CoD: Ghosts. I saw Sonic in front of me running through the levels when they performed the Main Theme, and suddenly the Boss Theme sounds and I see him fighting off Robotnik, to apparently win when we once again hear the Main Theme. Suite from Assassins Creed gave me goosebumps and a excitement, that’s how well they performed it- and then they also had some classic C64 themes, like from  Karate Champ, who makes one reminesce of a time where video games weren’t as advanced as they are today.

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To top the evening up the original composer of the Age of Conan music, Aventroup Haugen, was asked to stand up as he also was attending the same concert. Imagine sitting in an audience and listening to your own music! That truly has to be a great honor.

The audience acted more like one does in a regular concert, with shoutouts and whistling between numbers, and we were presented the different pieces by Orvar Säfström who is the leading Video Game concert producer in Scandinavia. As I’d recently read that very old concerts were very much like this (at least until the boring “classy” people wanted to show that they too can appreciate music), with people talking during the show, whistling and cheering, this didn’t feel that odd at all.

All in all I had a great experience that day, and I’m grateful for being able to attend it with my family. If you ever get the opportunity I suggest you to attend one of these kind of concerts, they’ll totally be worth it even though you aren’t that much into classical music.

Images from: http://www.gso.se/sv, http://www.gameinformer.com/ and http://www.modernman.com/

Playing the Good Ole 8-bit

First I played some Wrecking Crew, which is a really good game and one of my favorites for the system. You’re Mario that works in a wrecking crew (duh) together with Blackey (the predecessor to Wario) who is doing his best to wreck (hehe) your work. There’s a Level Editor which is easy and fun to use and quite intuitive, and I guess that’s kind of what they used to make the levels for the game. The only downside is that you can’t save them, and after you’ve made your 3 levels and reset the game, they’re gone.

FOREVER!

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That’s the MartianOdd level which I made. I altered it when I noticed you couldn’t complete it considering how I placed the upper port-a-potty stalls (that’s what I see them as!). It was a good one, but unfortunately now it’s lost…

FOREVER!

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And then I played myself some Robocod… I mean, Robocop! It’s a decent game in my opinion. When you’ve finished the level you get this derpy cutscene. When I saw it I thought he looked like this guy when speaking:

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And apparently this dude thought so as well: http://www.swankworld.com/Games/retro/nes/robocop/review.htm

Image from: http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2013/04/09/article-0-192F265B000005DC-346_306x423.jpg

Eiichiro Oda Knows What the Fox Says

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This Cerberus Dog, from the Thriller Bark Arc in One Piece, has a fox as one of the heads (something it’s very sensitive about when someone points this out!). As you can see, already in 2009, he knew what the fox says:

VHRAHIIIIII!!!

Those Norwegian guys weren’t that far off after all!

 

Game Hunting: Walking with the Dead

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The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct:

This isn’t Retro, but as I’ve said before it’s too late to change the title!

The one that actually spotted this game was my wife… for 20 dollars below the lowest retail price! Brand new!!

We decided to get this one and it starts out very well and includes all elements that makes the TV show a good one. I really enjoy the game and it’s great when we want to get a kick gaming. There’s nothing that beats fighting zombies with nothing but a hammer or a knife (since gunshots will draw them to you). And the panic you feel when your’re turning on the generator to operate the gas pump to refill your vehicle, and it suddenly gives off a high noise and you know there’ll be a horde of zombies around you any moment… it really reflects off the show very well in those moments. And there’s also the factor that you have to strategize and hoarde HP items as you’ll run out of them very soon otherwise.

I give this game a huge:

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Image from: http://giphy.com/

Little Mac Over The Years

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Little Mac sure has changed in appearance throughout the years!

In his 80’s debut in the Punch Out!! Arcade game, where he simply was called “Arcade Boxer”, he looks like a man past his prime, probably 40-ish, who also is experiencing a mid-life crisis as is evident with his clearly green hair. Probably he’s a smoker as well judging by his skin. He sure does look buff though!

He got his full name in the 1984 title Punch Out!! for the Nintendo Entertainment System since he, unlike his previous version, wasn’t transparent due to the new hardware’s restrictions, and had to be shrunk to show the opponents, hence Little Mac. The “Mac” in his name is from unknown origins, and some speculate it derives from “Big Mac”, though this theory lacks a valid source. This classic game is the one most fans started their fandom through.

Then he starred in Super Punch Out!! for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System where he got a complete makeover and now has blonde hair and looks more buff when compared to his former small build. Now the only thing Little about him might be his height… though the Little in the name might point to something else that’s Flyweight, and I mean Down Under. That’s what ‘roids do to ya.

His next appearance was as a playable character in Fight Night Round 2 for the Gamecube, as it seems as an exclusive character, in 2005. While he didn’t get his own game he once again sported his 1994 design from Super Punch Out!! and had also a scary look with his eerie huge cartoony eyes to scare his opponents into submission.

The next time we got the pleasure to look at Little Mac’s visage was in no other game than Super Smash Bros. Brawl in 2008, for the Wii, where he acts as a trophy character that punches your foes and frequently falls off screen. Still no L-Mac exclusive game though, until…

…we finally got Punch Out!! for the Wii in 2009. Here you can use an analog controller or the regular Wii controller and Nunchuck to beat the opponents up. Also you can play as Giga Mac for the first time against a friend.

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Video Game Adventures in the US: Hunting in Vegas

While in Vegas, as I mentioned several months ago, we went video game hunting. I remember I said a follow up post about the stores would follow, and I can see that this post might already be way  overdue, but let’s do this anyways! You already know what I bought during that trip (if not, follow the link above to find out!) so I’ll just show some pretty pictures of the store and some descriptions and stuff.

Maybe stores like these are common for you guys in the States or the UK, but over here they’re few and far between. Mainly it was the selection that impressed me, not to mention the lower pricing. Over here the national selection and sales naturally were lower due to the low population, which in its turn increases the overall price of some games. While some games that sell for 5 $ in the US can be found for 10$ over here, it’s way more common for such a game to be priced 3-5 times that price just because the seller can.  Usually most NES games range between an average of 15-25 dollars over here, and that’s insane.That also explains why a price tag of 10-15 $ is considered good for an average game, as that amount translates to considerably less in the US. Also, if you have unlocked your NES, UK PAL games are a great source of collecting as they play flawlessly and cost less than in Sweden (if you’re not a SCN-ophiliac that is!).

A Gamer’s Paradise – South Shore

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I have never seen such a collection of games elsewhere. For me, that’s impressive.

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They offered a lot of consoles and game guides, and even a NES Top Loader. I didn’t inquire about the price though as I simply didn’t notice it until I saw this picture. I was simply that extatic.

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Lots of boxed goodies in good condition at the top and two demo stands, one for the N64 and one for the XBox. I haven’t seen many of these stands “in the wild” over here as you usually have to know people or attend conventions to get them. If I’d ever find one for a favorable price I’d get it, but the problem usually is shipping, as even if found for a good price on the net or any other place, you have to pick them up.

 

Game World

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First thing that struck me upon entering the store was the biggest supply of NES games I’d ever seen, and the prices were pretty good too.

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That’s the Mega Man Anniversary Collection I got! My brother bought a few more titles though.

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They kept the NES games in high demand behind glass, but they had a few for a good price which we bought, like Super Mario Bros. 2 and Zelda II: Link’s Adventure.

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A general overview of the store with its tons of games and merchandise.

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A list of all “Most Wanted” games for each system that the store was looking for. It’s self-explanatory as why they’re on the list, but I’m surprised why Wild Guns isn’t on the list, probably they’re aiming for more common items that sell more readily with this list.

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A detail of the art outside of the store windows. Pretty neat, huh?

Unlikely Versus No. 8

Baloo vs Baloo

Their shared background:

They’re both different versions of the same bear, to avoid confusion we’ll call the original “Djungle Book” Baloo and the newer version “Talespin” Baloo.  They’re different enough to warrant their own Unlikely Versus!

Their strengths:

Jungle Book Baloo: He’s a very strong bear, and stupid to the point of bravery (though he’s scared of Shere Khan which he should be able to take on). As evidenced by his tutelage of the young unrefined Mowgli, he knows another thing or two about brawling, and easily can send him hurtling into the wall with just a light tap to the head. Imagine what Mowgli would’ve looked like if he’d used full force! Bagheera would’ve met a horrible sight. Also he has claws to use as a means of attack.

Talespin Baloo: He’s got a plane but we can’t have him use that, otherwise this’d been to easy, even considering he never mounted machine guns at the front to fight off the Pirates (though that’d be really neat). Other than that he can hold his own brawling, though his strength has been nerfed when compared to his original incarnation. Instead he has brains to use against his original, using tools against him, as he’s been able to defeat weapon-wielding opponents with his adventuring skills.

Their weaknesses:

Jungle Book Baloo isn’t that smart, even though his heart is in the right place. He’s basically a gullible dunce, and could easily be fooled or tricked by his opponents.

Talespin Baloo lacks raw power and claws, which puts him in disadvantage against a wild bear (who probably also has had to fend off a lot of wild animals before). It’s not sure that his experience fighting off Pirates would come in handy against a bear, but then again there are Pirates that are as stupid that he’s defeated over and over again.

Verdict:

This one isn’t that easy to judge as these Baloos are similar yet different versions of each other. While Jungle Book Baloo has brawns, sharp claws and brawling techniques, Talespin Baloo has brains, experience fighting bigger guys and opposable thumbs. Even if in the Jungle I’d guess Talespin Baloo would’ve been able to defeat his Jungle Book counterpart with brains, like through throwing big rocks at his head, and in a city there would be no contest. But in an all-out brawl in a setting where tools aren’t available Jungle Book would’ve won over Talespin no doubt. Considering most settings available though, I’d actually  have to conclude that:

Talespin Baloo emerges as the winner!

Now what do you think?

Images compiled by yours truly using images from: disney.wikia.com and http://www.tribemagazine.com/