18 September 2013

Episode 151: Free Play 15.1

This week, Brent is joined by Brett Elston, host of the video game music podcast, VGMpire.  Brett also works at Capcom Unity as does Brent's other guest, Chris Antista, host of the Laser Time podcast.  Also sitting in is Brent's little brother, Nicky Weinbach.  Good music and lots of talk about Disneyland versus Disney World, that is, "Land versus World".  Full track listing below.

Game - Composer - Song - Company - Console - Year (North American release unless otherwise indicated)

Wagyan Paradise - Eriko Imura - Smiley Tree - Namco - Super Famicom - 1994

Heracles no Eikou II: Titan no Metsubou - Shogo Sakai - In a Crowded City - Data East - Famicom - 1989

Streets of Rage 3 - Motohiro Kawashima - The Poets II - Sega - Genesis - 1994

Ogre Battle: The March of the Black Queen - Hitoshi Sakimoto - Overture - Quest/Enix - SNES - 1995

Fun House - George Sanger - Stage 2 - Mind's Eye/Hi-Tech Expressions - NES - 1991

Super Solitaire - Marshall Parker - Funky - Beam Software/Extreme Entertainment Group - SNES - 1994

Valkyrie no Densetsu - Hiroyuki Kawada - Epilogue II - Namco - arcade (Japan) - 1989

Gunstar Heroes - Norio Hanzawa - Military on the Max-Power - Sega/Treasure - Genesis - 1993

Magical * Taruruuto-kun - Studio 401 - It's Dok-kun! - TOSE/Bandai - Game Boy (Japan) - 1991

Legendary Wings - Tamayo Kawamoto, Manami Matsumae (arr.), Yoshihiro Sakaguchi (arr.) - Area 3 - Capcom - NES - 1988

Relevant Links:

Brett Elston's VGMpire video game music podcast...


Chris Antista's Laser Time podcast...


Capcom Unity...



  1. Ogre Battle FTW! Chills! One of my top 10 favorite musics! Also a game that I spent a large portion of my life playing as a kid. I even downloaded it for my Wii so I could play it once again.

  2. Just got done listening to Brent guest on Lasertime, now excited to hear Chris and Brett on Legacy.

  3. When I first heard the Streets of Rage 3 soundtrack on this podcast (I love the earlier ones and the games, but I had never played/heard 3), you played “The Poets I” and I immediately got excited because it sounded so much like My Bloody Valentine—and I had never thought that VGM could possibly sound like shoegaze. But it was all there, the pitchbending, the really hard-hitting, almost dancy beats, and the way the guitar sounded—“The Poets I” immediately made me think of My Bloody Valentine’s “Soon” (compare the basslines, after both songs get going, they are almost exactly the same). “The Poets Part II” also sounds like My Bloody Valentine, but more like what they just released on their “new” album, where that “jungle” sound—a word Koshiro used to describe Streets of Rage 3’s soundtrack, and also one Kevin Shields used to describe his work after Loveless—is really present. The lead guitar phrasing on that track and the sort of sonic strafing it does in those rapid pitch-bending bursts especially sounds like MBV to me. The timing would make sense too, if Koshiro was indeed inspired by MBV or other shoegaze music—since Streets of Rage 3 came out in 1994 and Loveless in 1991. Listen to “Soon” back to back with “The Poets I” and you’ll see just what I mean.
    "Soon": http://youtu.be/tvkK0mO7fXg
    "The Poets I" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGIkRS6TF-4

    1. looks like user Spencer has beat me to the punch on saying this, but at least i know I'm not the only one who heard that!

  4. Really great episode. RF Switch is missed, but the guests did a good job (I'll have to check out Lasertime and VGMpire). Glad to know other people used to record game music as kids. I still remember holding up my boombox to record music from the Gameboy Double Dragon.

  5. Two of my favorite podcasts doing a crossover??? This totally made my day! Excellent stuff all around.

  6. Yet another great episode! I had never heard of VGMpire or Laser Time, so now I have something new to check out!

    So Brent/Rob, I know you have talked extensively on LMH about the difference between Japanese and Western composers, but Chris was onto something important when he inferred that the elements of Japanese VGM which are quintessentially Japanese are also found throughout Japanese entertainment, especially Japanese music(just as western composers tend to compose to western pop styles--something Brent aptly pointed out at least 100 episodes ago).
    I think that is the heart of it: The modern western pop of the last 30 years tends to lead with a bass line or some sort of lower or mid-register loop, and slowly add layers until the main melody or the chorus comes in. I think that's also why we tend to remember the "hooks" of western pop over the verses.
    Japanese pop music, on the other hand, tends to be much more melody-centric, and in my opinion it's less interested in short, repetitive melodic phrases. J-pop songs have longer melody lines that sometimes weave through a whole verse, and the Japanese game composers do exactly the same. I think this is why western game tracks tend to be so much longer, because the composers are building up to a hook, but the Japanese just jump in there with the melody from the outset.
    One more observation: Another distinctive character of Japanese pop is that it's tonally bright. They tend to use bright sounding synths, and in games the melodies are often in a higher register, like that of a woman's voice. By contrast, Western games' melody lines most often reside somewhere around a male baritone or lower. This seems to be even more true with the Americans than with European composers. (Now we know why Brent always goes falsetto when he sings over those Japanese tracks!)

    Nathan Daniels
    Portland, OR

  7. Just a quick "Japan Phonetic" update.

    Manami Matsumae = Ma na mi Ma tsu ma e
    The last name is Mah tsoo mah ay (4 syllables) not Mah tsoo may

    Also, being the original Mega Man composer, she's doing the music for the upcoming Mighty No. 9 made by Mega Man's Daddy, Keiji Inafune.

    Love you guys!

  8. When you guys played "Funky" from Super Solitaire and were talking about the type of music it reminded you guys of, it reminded me of yacht rock of the late 70's and 80's. Haha. You guys are freakin' awesome. Love the podcasts!