Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Games and Music, Together at Last!

I've been on kind of a binge for the last several days, metaphorically feeding on information, be it written, visual, or auditory, about my favorite video game of all time, Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem. If you have a Gamecube/Wii with a Ganecube controller, and you haven't played this game...do so. Seriously, it's gotten "universal acclaim." And if you haven't seen it, search the name on Youtube. These two clips, while being mostly audio, are in particular very compelling.

But what exactly set off my binge? It may be my favorite game, but why exactly did I think of it now, at this particular juncture? The music. You see, I recently got a used copy of another game, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, which had very Persian-esque music in its title screen (go figure). However, this immediately made me think of Eternal Darkness and it's music, some of which also has a very decidely Persian flavor (as one of the stages in the actually takes place in Persia...go figure).

So, after gorging myself on videos and Wikipedia entries, I decide that I want...no, need...the Eternal Darkness soundtrack. And I remembered that one had existed at some point. Unfortunately, when I did my research, I found that the soundtrack was a promotional item sold by Nintendo Power. Yeah, that's gonna be easy to find.

Regardless, I check my usual playgrounds. Amazon? Nothing. eBay? Nope. ....Okay, I was out of ideas. So, I decided to simply google "eternal darkness soundtrack" hoping for some lucky break. And, as it turned out, I found one, seven spots down on my search. And boy, when I opened that link, I essentially thrust a pickax into a pressurized oil well of joy.

And with that preamble finished, I'd like to intoduce you all to this find, a site which is sure to be frequented by me - and perhaps some of you - quite a bit as time goes on. It's video game soundtracks! And when soundtracks are involved, you know I'm excited.

As you can see from the page itself, it's actually part of a website called "Kingdom Hearts Insider." I have no idea why a site devoted to a single game/franchise would host the complete soundtracks for nearly 6000 (dear God!) games, but there it is. It doesn't have every single game (particularly the brand new ones), but there's quite a bit, so chances are, if you're looking for something, you'll find it there.

Now, I know what some of you may be thinking. "Video Game Soundtracks? How passé!" Yeah, well, shut up! As it turns out, video game soundtracks aren't always just a bunch of beeps, boops, and other midi-makeup. Saying "doot-doot-dootdootdoot-DOOT" is all fine and good (that was the Super Mario intro, by the way), but these days, games are becoming more cinematic, and as such, they need more cinematic scores. And largely, they deliver.

Now, I've only seen this site for a couple days, but I already have a few recommendations for soundtracks to download (which happen to be the only tracks I've downloaded so far; that's a good record).

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time: As I said before, this has a very Persian influence (go figure) with a few guitar solos here and there. Very good if you like the style.

Halo: Many people have described Halo as a "phenomenon in gaming." I've only played it for about 20 minutes. It was alright. But what really interested me was the music. The game is a first-person shooter in which you and aliens shoot at each other. And yet, the music is hauntingly beautiful. For example, listen to the song/Gregorian chant that plays on the title screen. The title screen! It's blissful, I tells ya!

Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem: You didn't think I was going to leave this off, did you? I've actually listened to this 50-minute soundtrack nonstop for the past two days. It's kind of like those Halloween CD's you buy for $4 at Party City, but it's actually scary and it's actually good! (In truth, it's more "unsettling" than out-and-out "scary.") Plus it has some great clips that I can use for other purposes.


Some of you may remember me talking about my "dream house." For those that don't let me give you a little intorduction. My dream house would be a cross between a mansion, an old Gothic Cathedral, and the Myst universe. It would be filled with fantastical puzzles and clues, but it would also be subtly unsettling, especially if you walked in it alone at night. For example, in one of my hallways, our lighting would be held up by statues that look like this:

Additionally, I would have music playing in the background, occasionally interrupted by creepy whispers. At first, I thought I got the idea from another game (Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic), but no! After listening to the soundtrack, I realized that my original original idea came from my favorite game. Here's the clip (it's actually just a shortened version of one of the songs, and it loops really well). Turn it up really loud to savor it. Hell, even I would get goosebumps from that, and it would be my house. Perfect!

So, go nuts with that site! It seems like an absolutely excellent resource if you love either music or games. You can thank me later.


Unknown said...

perisan flavor? Racist!

did you just say soundtrack? you mean glorified MIXTAPES!

thats all i gotta say.

Anonymous said...

Please sir, may I have some more?

Andrew Schnorr said...

You do realize, Alex, that about 98% of the world - nay, the universe - disagrees with your "definition" of soundtrack.

Admit it: you're wrong.

Unknown said...

Oh Andrew, my gay friend, anyone can use statistics to make them sound right. Why 43% of people know that!

Sorry but if I admit that I'm wrong then I'd be out-right lying to you. And that'll be too mean.
P.S. Corinthian Order's spirit.