Friday, June 24, 2016

Ep. 26: Dog Whistle Territory

Last episode was pretty much Super Emily Land, so to balance things out, this week we're focusing on Josh. Emily comes prepared with a list of questions intended to dig deep into Josh's psyche and paint a picture of his inner being. Clouds, candy, Super Sentai... see how all of these elements combine into Joshman while we kick back and listen to some excellent tracks.

Click above to listen or subscribe.  Click below for the usual direct download.

Emily keeps forgetting to change this blurb here! Has anybody noticed?

Suggest a Track   Email Us

This episode was made possible by:
Game Track Title Composer(s)
Lords of Thunder Dezant Stage Music Groove King
Golden Sun Name Entry/Saved Game Load Matoi Sakuraba
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Hidden Palace Zone Masato Nakamura
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time Sewer Surfin' Mutsuhiko Izumi, Kozo Nakamura (arcade); Kazuhiko Uehara, Harumi Ueko (arr.)
The Adventures of Mighty Max Ending Theme Matt Furniss
Mirror's Edge Still Alive (Theme) Magnus Birgersson
Odell Down Under Main Title Theme Rob Wallace
Bonanza Bros. Bonanza Serenade (Ending Theme) M.A

...and listeners like YOU.


  1. Emily, as far as Ecco 3, how do Ecco CD and Ecco DC fit into the timeline and story? Of the Ecco games, the only one I played (mostly) through was Ecco DC.....which I LOVED. This reminds me, VGMpire just did 2 episodes with Spencer Nilsen, who did most of the Sega CD US music. The first episode covers Ecco CD, which has AMAZING music.

    As far as unreleased stuff, my total fave is the Time Trax title screen track by Tim Follin. The game was unreleased, and as far as I know, was the only Mega Drive music Follin did. But it is soooooo good.

    Mike N' Ike vs. Hot Tamales? Ninja please. Hot Tamales all the way, although I do actually like Mike N' Ikes. Funny story: I am chronically sleep deprived. I have sleep apnea, and I'm borderline narcoleptic, although the doctors don't yet know if it's for real because They CAN'T GET ME TO GET MORE SLEEP. Hilarious, right? Anyway, when my wife and I were dating, she used to worry about me because we'd hang out until very late, and then I'd drop her off, and drive home. As she knew about my tendency to drift off, even while driving, she would fret about my safety. I started carrying Hot Tamales in the glove compartment as an alertness aid. The sugar plus spiciness kept me awake on the long drive home (along with driving with the windows down, radio up, singing at the top of my lungs, and slapping myself in the face). I can only imagine how simultaneously bizarre, frightening, and hilarious that must have looked to my fellow motorists.

    1. Ecco: Defender of the Future for the Dreamcast is an Ecco reboot. It draws on a lot of the established lore, but it changes some big things and isn't in the same "universe" as the original games. For example, humans are completely absent from the original games, whereas humans play a central role in the DC game (or at least are central to the backstory). A reverse example is the absence of the Guardian in the original games; instead we have the Asterite, not a Dolphin creation but rather the oldest known sentient creature in the sea, who helps Ecco with its incredible wisdom and magical powers. (P.S. the Asterite is my favorite everrrrr, heart)

      And I know what you're talking about! My mom would chew Big Red as an awakeness aide.

    2. Whoops, forgot about Sega CD Ecco. From my understanding, the first game is identical in its Sega CD and PC ports except that 1) the soundtrack is different, 2) it has save points, and 3) it has cutscenes.

      I actually don't know much about the Sega CD version of Ecco: The Tides of Time. I'm assuming it has a different soundtrack too, but a lot of the Genesis composers are listed for it, so I'm not sure what's going on there. Can you believe it never occurred to me to listen to that? Egad. To be remedied.

    3. Ecco CD music is amazing study music. I haven't listened to Tides Of Time CD yet. I need to get to this as well!

  2. The Bonanza Bros. track has that classic early-to-midlife Genesis sound: heavy use of FM, even the drums, and that "AM radio" sound(games like Thunder Blade and E-Swat had really anemic bass). It's interesting you said the whistle didn't sound like Genesis music; it came out of the Genesis's PSG chip, which is the same chip used in the SMS. So technically, it sounded like Master System music.

    An interesting note about that: I recently heard a great explanation of the SMS sound, and why it typically sounds higher and more shrill than, let's say, NES music. If I remember correctly, the SMS had 3 square wave channels and a noise channel. That meant that the melodic instruments had comparatively little variation between them. The main way for composers to differentiate the channels was to put them in different octaves. That's why you typically had a low, medium, and really high voice.

    1. It's also why SMS music often sounds more homogenous and has less variety than NES music.

    2. Ooh, as someone who has messed around with Nanoloop on the Game Boy, this explanation about differentiating the channels by pitch in an absence of texture makes so much sense. Thanks for pointing that out.

      And it's funny about that Genesis PSG chip. Only within the last few years did I become attuned to its existence, and I've only been listening to SMS tunes in recent times, too. For some reason that one particular whistle sounded so different to me, like something I'd never heard before even though I know technically where it's coming from, and I think that's because of my lack of experience with the SMS (and the Game Gear, really).

      Looks like I've got some listening work to do!

  3. Talking about personal superpowers, I've often imagined having a flying ability, but instead of the vanilla Superman-style flying, it would be an ability to change gravity in the space directly surrounding me. So flying would really be perpetual horizontal falling. Slowing down would be tricky because I'd have to reverse gravity far enough in advance to avoid crashing into objects. I also imagined that I'd have to be restrained in a sort of sleeping bag attached to the floor when I'd sleep, because my unconscious mind would cause my gravity to shift uncontrollably.

    Just to reiterate, the GBA is like a SNES, but more powerful. I think it might have had the capability of more colors and sprites onscreen, but the biggest advantage was that silicon was both more compact and cheaper by the time of the GBA, so games had a lot more storage than their typical SNES counterparts, and as a result would be more complex and varied.

    The sight vs. sound argument is difficult. I'd probably rather lose my sight, in spite of how helpless I would be......however you guys neglected to mention the biggest tragedy of a blind Emily or Josh.....you couldn't play videogames anymore!

    When Josh mentioned Looper, it reminded me of Primer, which I consider to be the most realistic and logically consistent movie about time travel. If you two haven't yet seen it, please do yourselves a favor and watch it. Also watch Upstream Color, which is one of the best movies ever made(also made by the same guy).

  4. Josh, I'm really confused. Are you of Japanese decent, or just really into Japanese culture?

    1. Ohh. I guess I forgot to mention I'm half white.

  5. As far as experiencing music, I am a DEEP listener. I get the goosebumps, the hairs standing out, the tingles, all of it. I do have ASMR, and my primary trigger is music. I can get completely, and totally lost in a piece of music, and I have to keep reminding myself that I am atypical in that sense. If I show someone a new song, and they just don't get into it like I do, I get secretly bummed at first ("How could they not hear what I hear?"). Tape flanging is my biggest trigger. My favorite example is heard at the end of "Axis: Bold As Love", by Jimmy Hendrix. Don't talk to me during that song. No, really, DON'T TALK TO ME. I'M NOT EVEN ON PLANET EARTH WHEN THAT SONG IS PLAYING.

    Emily, I had a best friend in High School, and we would ride around, just to listen to music. We wouldn't talk much during these times, and we didn't need to.

  6. Emily, I'm confused. You played a song from Mirror's Edge, but you have said in the past that you are nervous about playing modern music, and "Still Alive" (Which is the credits song BTW), is, well..... very modern. What criteria makes you "too nervous" to play a modern song?
    For the record, VGMpire plays newer tracks all the time, and no one is banging down their door.

    1. Just to add, I have completed Mirror's Edge, and it is a 3D parkour game. As a kid, and adult, I was always fascinated to know what was behind doors that said "Authorized Access Only", or "Maintenance Access Only". What was on the other side? Mirror's edge allows you to open those doors.

      I am an introvert, who automatically looks for places to hide, and escape the pressures of crowded rooms, and giant buildings, so Mirror's Edge was a very cool experience for me. I love the idea of being in a massive sky scraper, and finding an access door that leads into a room that no one else is in. Just me, and the hum of some machinery. Ahhh, now I can relax. (This is really difficult to put into words. I don't dislike people, but I NEED to be alone for a while, I just can't unwind otherwise.)

    2. It's past my bedtime but Retro Nick, I totally understand what you mean. I have a story to tell about exploring a silicon wafer manufacturing plant that will blow your mind.

  7. Platinum Achievement Unlocked: First VGM podcast to feature a Windows 3.X game.