More Holiday Songs from Classic VGM

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2015 is nearly upon us, so let’s listen to some more holiday music from classic video games!

Jazz Jackrabbit 2: Holiday Hare (1995)

Jazz Jackrabbit is a green bunny from a sci-fi future in which tortoises and hares have waged war for generations.  Despite the oddly grim premise, the games featuring Jazz Jackrabbit are light-hearted cartoony platformers developed by Epic Games (best known for Gears of War and the Unreal series). In 1998, Epic released a Christmas edition with additional levels and a new boss. This is the music from the first level of the Christmas edition.

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The 3rd Birthday (2012)

In this roleplaying shooter game, the city of Manhattan is decimated by a swarm of horrific creatures that burst forth from under the city on Christmas Eve.  Despite this, there is some festive holiday spirit to be found in the musical soundtrack.  Taken out of the context of the ghastly backstory, the holiday music in this game is perfectly warm and comfy for a fireside evening.  Here’s a low-keyed, jazzy track called “Come Again to Christmas.”

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Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix + (2007)

This was a re-release of the hit game from 2005 that mixed Square Enix and Disney characters and settings. This music came from an area patterned after Disney’s Nightmare Before Christmas.  The recording below is a newer orchestral version from the composer’s compilation soundtrack album, entitled “Drammatica.”

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Ragnarök Online (2002)

A Korean massively multiplayer roleplaying game, Ragnarök Online is set in an elaborate fantasy world based on Norse mythology. Incorporated into this solemn fantasy setting is a more cheerful place called Lutie, the town of eternal Christmas, which can only be reached by talking to an NPC character resembling Santa Claus.  This track is a mellow theme that greets players while wandering this holiday-inspired town.

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The Polar Express video game (2004)

This game is a tie-in to the CGI theatrical release and stays faithful to the plot of the original film, with the exception of a larger role for an evil puppet of Ebeneezer Scrooge.  Here’s some music from early in the game.  The track is called “A Christmas Eve.”

Happy New Year everybody!  🙂

Holiday Cover Songs from Classic VGM

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I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season!  I thought I’d share some cover songs of holiday favorites, performed videogame style!

The Sims 2 (2004)

This track wasn’t actually included in The Sims 2, but was released by the Maxis development team as a Christmas present to their loyal fans.  Here’s ‘Oh Christmas Tree’ translated into simlish, the official nonsense-language of the Sims!

‘Oh Kukla Troob’

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Talesweaver (2003)

This is a Korean massively multiplayer online roleplaying game based on the fantasy novel Children of the Rune. The game takes place on a single massive continent, and players visit various cities and explore a deep storyline adapted from the novel.  The Christmas season is celebrated in-game with several versions of classic holiday songs, including this radiant version of “Feliz Navidad,” that has some of the broad grandeur of a pop anthem from the 1980s.

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Bar Oasis 2 (2012)

This IOS game casts the player as a bartender. The challenge comes in the mixology, but the interest is entirely derived from the cast of characters and elaborate storyline. The music also includes a mellow version of “Silent Night” carried at first only by piano, with a bit of synth and shaker to keep things moving. Soon, however, the music swells with soulful holiday spirit.

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Christmas NiGHTS into Dreams (1996)

This short game was released by Sega in a bundle with their Sega Saturn console, and was also provided as a free giveaway on CD-ROMS packaged with various game magazines. Christmas NiGHTS is an upbeat holiday experience, set within the fantasy world established in the Nights Into Dreams video game. “Christmas in Nightopia” offers a cutesy soft-pop rendition of Jingle Bells.

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Christmas NiGHTS into Dreams (1996)

Since Christmas NiGHTS provides such a wealth of VGM Yuletide cheer, let’s listen to another track from the same game – this is the Christmas NiGHTS rendition of “Joy to the World.”

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A COMPOSER’S GUIDE TO GAME MUSIC wins a Global Music Award (GMA Book Award)

The Global Music Awards has presented a Gold Medal Award of Excellence as a GMA Book Award this year to the book that has been judged as exceptional in the field of music.  I’m very proud that my book, A Composer’s Guide to Game Music, has received the GMA Book Award!

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As the GMA Book Award winner, A Composer’s Guide to Game Music has been awarded the Global Music Awards medallion.  The GMA medallion was designed for the GMAs by the Northwest Territorial Mint, creators of the official US Presidential Inaugural Medals, the Medal of Honor, the National Medal of Science and the Pulitzer Prize. GMA Awards feature the art of Thomas Hart Benton, who is considered the “Mark Twain” of American art.  The Global Music Awards is an international awards program honoring the music industry through the recognition of unique voices and talented international musical artists.  

Thanks so much to the judging panel of the Global Music Awards for this wonderful honor!  I’m very excited to be a recipient of the GMA Book Award!

A second printing (ALREADY!!) for A COMPOSER’S GUIDE TO GAME MUSIC!

Friends, I’m very proud to announce that my book, A Composer’s Guide to Game Music, has just gone to the printer for its second printing!  The first printing has already depleted, and now it’s nearly sold out — so the MIT Press will now be sending a whole fresh batch of books to retail outlets everywhere!

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Around nine months ago, my book made its first appearance.  It’s been a fantastic journey this past nine months, and I’m grateful for the numerous appearances on the Amazon bestsellers lists, dozens of enthusiastic customer testimonials on Amazon, and wonderful reviews from publications like Music Connection Magazine, Sound on Sound and music journalist extraordinaire Jon Burlingame!

As my book now enters its second printing, I am thrilled to take this opportunity to express my deep gratitude to everyone who has supported my book, as well as those tremendously generous souls who have spread the word about it!  This second printing is a direct result of your enthusiasm and support, and I can’t thank you all enough!!

It’s the second printing, everybody… let’s PARTY!!!

Berklee College of Music seminar on being a game music composer

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I was recently honored to participate as a speaker via Skype in a Berklee College of Music seminar focusing on video game scoring.  Hosted by the Berklee Video Game Music Club and moderated by Chase Toland, the seminar explored all sorts of issues related to a game composers profession, from the techniques of interactive music creation to the kinds of research and preparation that can help a game composer during a project.  The audience asked some wonderful questions — it was a great experience for me!

Below, I’ve posted a short excerpt from the Skype seminar. Since this portion of the seminar focused on my work for the recently-released LittleBigPlanet 3 video game, I thought that the LittleBigPlaneteers among us might find it interesting.  Included in the video are three excerpts taken from among my many music compositions for LittleBigPlanet 3.  Thanks again to the Berklee College of Music for the great event, and to Chase Toland for inviting me to speak!