Friday, October 27, 2017

Ep. 87: On the Shoulders of Giants

Josh and Emily have got your spooky track recommendations, and we're here to amp up the fear factor this Halloween season. Emily has her necromancy powers back leading to a potentially scary situation. But, will they end up on the fun side of scary or somewhere more satanic? Don't worry, whatever situation you're in, Emily's idea of a big bad is someone who is there for your enjoyment. So we hope you, dear patron, enjoy this spooky-type episode of The VGM Jukebox!

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This episode was made possible by:
Game Track Title Composer(s)
The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap Royal Crypt Koji Kondo, Mitsuhiko Takano (arr.)
Mega Man 7 Shade Man Yuko Takehara, Toshihiko Horiyama, Makoto Tomozawa
Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins Haunted House Kazumi Totaka
Dungeon Keeper It's Construction Time! Russell Shaw
Secret of Mana Ceremony Hiroki Kikuta
Deathsmiles Burning Halloween Town Manabu Namiki

...and listeners like YOU.


  1. I know you guys probably gonna be asked this, what happened to that Minish Cap discussion there? Like Josh's audio just disappeared half-way through that and heard dead silence where his voice should be! Maybe his recording got lost for that bit?
    I'm sure by the time you read this, it may have been fixed by now!


    1. Yeah, there are a few places where that happens. During the Pokemon Go Densetsu, right when Emily says to Josh, "are the kids into it?", and Josh says, "Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm no." There's a ten second dropout of both their audio. It was actually really funny, because the SMBL music came in, and made the whole exchange super comical. But yeah, Josh's dropout during Minish Cap was like 5 minutes of silence.

    2. Yeah, I assume that must be a mistake in either his recording or in the editing process. Either way, it was pretty funny since it looked like Emily was speaking to Josh as like an imaginary friend for that one moment or something!


  2. As far as the whole retro/modern ratio is concerned, I'm not entirely convinced that the show should go that route. One one hand, I can see what Josh is thinking when says he wants more retro tracks, being a fan of the Legacy Music Hour which only plays tracks from 8-bit and 16-bit games, it has a more different feel than tracks made nowadays. If I was listening to something I'm not used to, I wouldn't feel the same way as I do tracks I am used to.

    On the other hand, I wouldn't want the patrons who submitted tracks that are not as retro sounding to be shafted. Like Alienjesus previously mentioned, "..where does retro end and modern begin?" People will have different points of view onto what is retro to them. I'd imagine years from now where people will consider PS4 and Xbox One games retro. I personally consider songs from fifth-gen consoles (PS1, Saturn, N64) to be retro for me. I wouldn't wanna force a certain bias to hinder the recommendations either.

    If I could make a suggestion, maybe make the completely randomized Haunted Jukebox episodes bi-monthly mainly just to fit in more patron submissions while still keeping the hosts satisfied as well!

    But then again, I don't know how much of a struggle it is to make a podcast, let alone one centered around requests from people! Which ever you go with, I'll still be listening!


  3. Thanks for your help everyone! I changed the link here and on the podcast feed.

  4. So was your invitation to suggest spooky tracks a Facebook exclusive, or was I just not paying attention?

    Anyhoo, that Dungeon Keeper track was awesome. It may just be the title's inspiration, but I can totally see that as a VGM Karaoke Horrorcore Rap. Regarding "Ceremony", gotta love those gamalan. I'm guessing their similitude to bells is what gave you the playful aspect, but I was totally getting the creepy vibe. Another game that uses gamalan(esque) sounds is Pulseman for the Mega Drive. Tracks "Brain Wash" and "Brain Voice" use it to eerie effect. In fact, I found out about "Brain Wash" from Pixelated Audio's Halloween episode 39.

    A quick scary story about "Brain Wash" ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H7s0ek6S74U&list=PL6akIKaXBeU2kSZhAC4fmezPnfwwX2nuN&index=7 ) that happened JUST THIS MORNING. After listening to the Hiroki Kikuta track on your show, I hit pause, downloaded the Pulseman soundtrack, and found those songs to make sure I had my facts straight before I commented on the show. I was in a break room of a large company, installing power under the sink to a water heater. As you know, electricity and water don't mix well. I had to work around energized wires, so I was extra cautious and on edge. If you listen to the track, it's CREEPY, plus it does something I hadn't heard on a classic MD soundtrack before: it intentionally distorts vocal samples by playing them louder than the chip can handle. These sounds came into my ears super loud and scared the heck out of me!

    1. Hey Nemo! Nah, we never actually put out an invitation -- these were just spooky tracks that had accumulated over time. So you definitely didn't miss anything.

      I did mention a few episodes back that I had been searching for spooky tracks on my own time (which were for the then-unannounced RetroWorld Expo situation), and, not knowing what I was spooking it up for, this led to one or two patrons deciding to recommend some Halloweeny tunes of their own volition. But again, not a formal invitation -- just patrons reading between lines and offering things they think we might need!

  5. I always get so giddy when one of my suggested tracks is played. To answer your question Emily, I never got creeped out enough to stop playing Dungeon Keeper. I was just having so much fun the entire time.

    A few years back I saw a mobile version of Dungeon Keeper, but I didn't spend much time with it, I felt like the mechanics and interface just didn't match up to my nostalgia factor.

    Your discussion on RTS games focusing on an overthrowing of power rather than keeping enemies out made me think of Myth II: Soulblighter. Which is more of a real time tactics rather than strategy because it involves no resources or buildings, just troops, formations, and completing missions. I'm gonna have to give the soundtrack another listen and pick one to suggest. That game is probably my favorite of all time.

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  7. Josh, thank you for the remote shoutout on the Spooky Tunes challenge!

    I wanted to address the whole track selection conversation again. You guys really opened Pandora's Box by creating a show based on listener submissions! I was reading over the comments, and I got the distinct impression we all feel like we have part ownership of the show.

    That said, what I was trying to say is that I like things how they are. Now THAT said, I also care about you guys more than how much I like this status quo. Josh, if you're not feeling excited by the tracks, and like this doesn't feel like your show(even though we patrons apparently feel like it's ours as well)....then by all means, front load the podcast, let Haju work her magic, do what you need. I enjoy the show immensely, and I'd enjoy it even more knowing that you enjoy making it.

    Emily, I salute you. Tweaking the playlists to favor new patrons helps make this show feel accessible to newcomers. When I started listening to LMH, I went through all the back episodes while listening to the new ones. I made dozens of comments on the blog, made track suggestions, hell, I even met Brent when he came to town and hung out with him at Ground Kontrol, and introduced him to Killer Queen. Yet to this day, I still don't think he knows who I am. It's not a knock on him or the show, it's just an unfortunate series of coincidences, combined with the fact that I found LMH after it had a matured listener base, and the show is mostly about Brent and Rob(and a few others) and sweet, hot VGM.

    But your show is really outwardly focused, and very inviting to new patrons. For that reason it stands above its peers. I know that the show has an ever growing user base, and that means you'll play any one Patron's selections farther and farther apart. I'd be surprised if you guys were ever able to play more than 100 of that 500-600 track backlog.

    But I'm okay with that. I love the show, and I love the new discoveries brought to the table by new people. Bring it on.

    Hey, as an aside......what if you were able to randomize the backlog? Would Haju ever deign to choose old listener submissions? Anyway, keep doing what you guys are doing. Or change it. Either way, I'll be here!

  8. I don't think you guys should fret too much about the format. At the same time, there was an episode a few weeks back that didn't resonate with me much and seemed to be all new, maybe the one Josh was thinking of too. But I also love the idea of users driving the show and don't want to give Key more work, or throw more rules out there. If there can be some balance easily worked out for the episodes though that would be cool, but I'm never going to complain. I love my chiptunes but there's still some great new stuff out there as well that I'm a big fan of (Xenoblade, Nier series, etc), I just understand that music can sometimes be hit or miss depending on tastes. Not a bad thing though. But like others are saying, we want our hosts to be having fun too. LMH has the chiptunes covered in full, but when I think of the VGM Jukebox... I definitely think of old Golf games and the Master System!

    I love the idea of a monthly Haju episode! It's awesome how some cool tracks genuinely surprise both Josh and Key sometimes, along with myself. Really cool way to discover some new tunes and OST's. Also, does Emily have it setup for Haju to only pull from old stuff? It seems like it, if so that's a nice way to supplement some extra retro in there.

  9. I had Royal Crypt running through my mind all day at work today; it really spoke to me. I hold the original Dungeon Theme in high regard and I am enjoying the differences: softer earfeel, slower tempo (it is actually a very similar tempo to a version of this theme from Link's Awakening DX), the very delicate use of percussion (the original had no drums at all). Same as Emily, I like the fact that this arrangement leaves the structure of the piece almost unchanged.

    Makes me wonder about Minish Cap and what the royal crypt is like. As the music lulls me onto an odd tangent: The Legend of Zelda’s Zelda split the triforce into eight and hid the pieces in dungeons to protect them from Ganon. And those dungeons are populated by monsters that never appear on the overworld. What are they really doing there?

    The Zelda Timeline -- you probably don’t want to get me started on it’s existence, but luckily you don’t have to since Josh and Emily figured everything out better than I ever could way back when they played Ballad of the Goddess on the show.

    The show: I do think that, as an endeavour that recurs week after week after week, the most important consideration of all is making sure it is something both hosts enjoy doing or find fulfilling.

    Personally, I do enjoy Haju episodes a lot, though I feel they may start to loose their sheen at once a month; I like this strongly listener focused show. But I am pretty sure I will continue to enjoy and find value in this podcast whatever direction you decide to go.

    Oh yes. I have one, probably unnecessary, piece of advice about the order to play Mega Man games in: don’t play the Zero games before the X games. The two series have very, very simmilar mechanics but the Zero games are faster. Having started with the Zeros, I always find the Xs just a little clunky and unresponsive, even though I have no problem with objectively clunkier games like Castlevania.

  10. That Dungeon Keeper track was wicked! There's some good industrial influence going on there. And though I am familiar with it, I do love Ceremony from Secret of Mana. It reminds me a bit of the Akira soundtrack, which also uses some Gamelan gongs. My first experiences of Gamelan come from these creepy tracks, which is probably a little unfair because there is more of a spiritual element to traditional Bali/Fiji Gamelan music. It's really great stuff if anyone feels like tracking down more of that sound. I admit I still find it sounds a little unsettling to my American ears, colored by Akira and Secret of Mana, but I still can get into it.

    I had a college instructor once who was inspired by the very different mindset of a Balinese Gamelan orchestra. He explained that they would give the most difficult part to the performer in the orchestra who was struggling the most, so it was the responsibility of the rest of the orchestra to bring that person up to speed so they all collectively looked good. He had us do one assignment where we broke into groups and everyone in the group had to turn in a paper, but we all got the grade of the lowest rated paper from our group. It was a frustrating experiment because it is so opposite of how Americans typically work, but it really did change the class dynamic because you suddenly had a very vested interest in your neighbor succeeding. It was a shifted cultural experience that I will never forget, even if it pissed me off at the time.

  11. Hi both, hopefully you see this, as I'm posting it a week or two after this came out.

    On the topic of whether to incorporate retro tracks by force or to have a once a month Haju episode, I'd like to suggest an alternative - a once an episode Haju track. I think forcing choices is problematic for the reasons Emily laid out, but I can understand Josh's desire for more music that speaks to him. I think a whole Haju episode can get kinda tiring though, and I miss hearing people's testimonials. A once an episode Haju track ensures some retro input each time, and doesn't make for a once a month episode that doesn't feature anyones testimonials.

  12. Keyglyph, or anyone interested in making a story-based game (while you’re waiting on that NES maker), I can recommend twinery.org. I made a Halloween game this year in just a few days and found it really rewarding...!

  13. Very nice post.really I apperciate your blog.Thanks for sharing.keep sharing more blogs.


  14. OMGOSH, Josh’s explanation of faeries was SO creepy. I find Hiroki Kikuta’s gamelan tracks in Secret of Mana to be much more ominous(the dissonant chords speak louder to me than the playful timbre of the chimes) than you guys did, so it colored everything so darkly!

    1. I think I found Ceremony more creepy than the hosts did as well -- it speaks to me with a light touch, but it speaks of doom and horror.

      T'was strikingly unforgettable too.

  15. After hearing Emily's thoughts about what story might fill in the blanks in the Mega Man narrative, I wonder if you all have listened to The Protomen? They have their own, dystopian view of the Mega Man universe that might be right up your alley. Take this song, for example: