Posts Tagged ‘retro’

It’s no secret that gaming is one of my favourite art forms . In fact it is second only to music. No other media can offer the immersiveness, the challenge or the reward of a really well designed game … and Cuphead is a really well designed game. It might have been the retro cartoon aesthetic and hot jazz soundtrack that made me eagerly await its release but it is the gameplay that really kept me engaged. It is not easy, in fact (minus the cruelty of limited lives) it is as hard as a NES era run ‘n gun game. It’s vanishingly unlikely that you would finish any level on your first try – it requires experimentation, learning and composure to figure out how to beat a boss and then actually pull it off. This might sound frustrating but actually it is where the greatest joy comes from.

I’m not one to knock modern games for being easy. Casual mobile tap-a-thons, walking simulators and ‘checkpoint every 10 seconds’ type games have done a huge amount to introduce gaming to new audiences. However they cannot offer that sense of accomplishment that comes with vanquishing a really hard (but fair) foe. The feeling that you have overcome all the challenges that they have thrown in your face and come out victorious. The failures and frustration on the journey making the destination that much sweeter. I think it can even give you a better outlook on life too. In this world of instant gratification it is good to be reminded that almost anything worthwhile takes time and the determination required to get past the challenges you face on the way.

The soundtrack is amazing, the hot jazz perfectly complimenting the 1930s cartoon aesthetic. The first time I heard it, I knew I was going to have to make a remix. Fiery Frolic (from the Grim Matchstick boss battle) particularly grabbed me as a stand out track, especially for a Swing n Bass remix. I think that a blistering breakbeat, sizzling sub bass and crazy chops really add something 😉 Once I had done the remix though, I thought it would be fun to make a video that reflected what it was like to actually play. Showing the process of attempting, learning and ultimately defeating a level.

So there it is, a game and a soundtrack worthy of much ♥. Even more impressive when you consider that this was MDHR (the developers) is a small indie studio and this was their first ever game. Equally impressive is that the composer – Kristofer Maddigan had never written this sort of music before. They really knocked it out of the park! So if you have and XBone or a PC with even moderate specs (this game runs perfectly on my GPDwin for goodness’ sake), do yourself a favour and pick it up

PLUR – D

Advertisements

The last couple of years have made humanity seem more divided than ever, like there are ideological and cultural barriers that seem insurmountable. Despite this perception, we are all one species, we share 99.9% of our DNA and anything that seems to divide us is actually minuscule compared to everything that we share. The most upsetting thing (at least to me) about the rise of divisive ideologies is that we now actually have the tools to create an amazing world for all of us. There are enough resources for everyone to be fed, clothed and even entertained, if we could only get over the thousands of barriers of self-interest that prevent that happening.

This track is a different type of retro inspired music to the electroswing and vintage remix stuff I’ve been working on recently… 90s inspired euphoric dance. When I was just a baby and started sneaking into clubs, it was one of the first electronic genres I got into. It wasn’t long before I was into darker, more complex stuff too but nothing else quite gave the same big joyful release. I know it had its cheesy moments but it created that feeling of togetherness that permeated the clubbing community like nothing else. I know a lot of people dismissed that as a product of drugs or alcohol but I’ve been to enough sober raves recently to know that its actually just acceptance and the shared enjoyment of music that makes us feel that way. Dancing is an ancient act, one of our oldest rituals (and probably the oldest form of exercise). Perhaps when we dance together, it allows us to touch that thread of commonality running through our history

 

As you might expect I’ve used a lot of oldschool elements for this one with pumping bass, soaring pads and big arpeggios. I’ve made a suitably retro video to go with it  (with some help from Touchdesigner, zGameeditor visualiser and Blender). The track is a free download so grab it here:

PLUR – D