Tag Archives: Video Games

Video Games and EDM (Part 1)


Part of a series I’m writing for an EDM website, I’m going to be exploring the relationship between EDM and video games. This is an excerpt from that story, which begins by chronicling some of the earliest instances of EDM in video games, part of a shift that helped raise awareness of electronic in the US in the late 90s and early 2000s.

Video Games and Electronic music enjoy an intertwined relationship


Electronic music and video games, in some respects go hand in hand. Whether it’s promotional trailers often featuring EDM, locations and dance clubs actually a part of the game, or the game soundtrack, the industry seems to have taken notice. The same feelings that make EDM fun to dance to and get hyped to, are also fun to game to.

Not only can a lot of EDM be found in today’s video games, but even in the past, video games helped give electronic artists and video game music producers a platform for their music to shine. Before we talk about today’s EDM in video games, let’s talk about some of the earliest instances of electronic music in video games.

Many studios out of the UK were already experimenting with EDM in games

Some of my first experiences with electronic music were while playing video games. Back in the era of Nintendo 64, the original Playstation and early 2000s PC games, games developed by British and European studios helped expose Americans to dance music. American studios did eventually catch on, but until the arrival of dubstep, electronic music was still very much a niche genre in the US.

If you were lucky enough to have stumbled across some of the more quirky games of the 2000s era, you would have been treated to some early electronic music, some in-house and some licensed. The frantic RC racer game, Re-Volt, was one of these games that helped cement my love for EDM. Several Nintendo 64 games, especially those developed by European studios featured UK house music, such as the action-adventure game Buck Bumble.


Re-Volt (N64, PSX, PC, later re-released on Android)

Published by Acclaim, this unconventional racer had players control RC cars along small miniature tracks scaled to the small RC cars size. Tracks within the game took you to locales such as the aisles of a local supermarket and its parking lot, or through a child’s room, littered with toys and teddy bears serving as obstacles. Just to add to the craziness, the game also threw in Mario-Kart style items like firecrackers, oil slicks, nitro boosts and even a self destructing bomb that could be passed off in “tag you’re it” style fashion.

As soon as you load up the game, you’re greeted by an upbeat house track with filtered vocals. Re-Volt was one of the earlier games to actually use MP3s in the game, and on the PC version, you could pop the game CD in your computer and the soundtrack would play directly from those files.

Each of the music tracks in the game, presumably created in-house, had electronic music flair, indicative of the UK based game developer’s studio. “Little Toy Carz 2” was one of a few insanely epic tunes for it’s time. Drum and bass, a bit of breakbeat, and techno sounds into a blazing fast BPM definitely set the tone for the lightning fast races within the game. The theme for the supermarket track, “Toys for the Boys” incorporates elements of speed dance, rave and Goa with an intro that I will never forget, some fifteen odd years later.

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[Video Games] [J-Electropop] Utada Hikaru – Simple & Clean (Ray of Hope Remix)


[Video Games] Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8

Electronic/Pop
Simple & Clean (Ray of Hope Remix) – Utada Hikaru
Theme from Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Remake for Playstation 4.

Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Opening Movie:

Simple & Clean “Ray of Hope Mix”

When you walk away, you don’t hear me say
Please, oh baby – don’t go!
Simple and clean is the way that you’re making me feel,
tonight, it’s hard to let it go

We’re almost through our first month of 2017 so congrats to everyone for that! In other news, fans of role-playing games, Disney, Square Enix and Utada Hikaru are rejoicing around the world at the release of Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Prologue for Playstation 4. Released January 24, 2017 (my birthday week!) the game has been a long time coming for many fans after several side spin-off games were released in the past few years and little updates for Kingdom Hearts 3 have surfaced.

Nevertheless the game will likely prove to be extremely popular and wildly successful like most of the offerings in the award-winning franchise that pits Square Enix characters (including popular heroes, and villains, from Final Fantasy) with Disney characters and often in Disney “worlds.”

Since the beginning of the series, Japanese-American singer, Utada Hikaru, has been seen as a sort of frontrunner for the series as the titular games in the series (KH1 & 2) both featured some breath-taking opening movies featuring music from Hikaru. For 2.8, the iconic “Simple & Clean” from the original Kingdom Hearts gets the remix treatment turning from a dance-techno pop song to a more electro-pop/dance offering.

The “Ray of Hope” remix is quite interesting, though short, and 2.8’s opening movie makes it feel all the more epic. You can check out the video and the song itself above. Here’s hoping to a remix of Kingdom Hearts 2‘s “Passion” showing up somewhere eventually as well.

[Video Games] Final Fantasy XII gets a Remake coming in 2017


[Video Game News]
Final Fantasy XII HD Remake

Square Enix announced yesterday they will be remaking the classic Playstation 2 RPG, Final Fantasy XII, for an HD remake (presumably for PS4, but it’s possible Xbox One and PC may also receive the game). This comes not long after Squeenix announced a few months ago that they would be remaking the legendary Final Fantasy VII.

While the Final Fantasy VII remake appears to be more a remake in spirit and visually (graphic-wise): the combat action has changed from turn-based RPG to action RPG much like Final Fantasy XV, we have yet to see how much Square will change for the XII remake. In the trailer it appears they left the loved and hated, Gambit system alone. Albeit it looks a little more exciting (attack combos?).

I played the original Final Fantasy XII on PS2 many years back. It was actually one of the last new games released for the Playstation 2 before it was retired and entirely replaced by the Playstation 3 and was in the last phase of games before production stopped for the system. I liked the game a lot. The characters felt new and rich. The storyline seemed interesting, the fighting system was kind of new and best of all there was a nice, hefty amount of voice acting (more than any other FF at the time, next to or maybe even more than Final Fantasy X).

Unfortunately, like Final Fantasy XIII (though for much different reasons) I stopped playing the game maybe halfway through it (at some temple level). FF12 suffered due to some issues with the Gambit system (kind of like programming the AI to execute certain moves but only in certain situations). The game to me felt like it was trying to be a more storied version of Final Fantasy XI: Online (a game I sunk thousands of hours into when I was younger, before World of Warcraft came out). The whole time I played XII I felt like I should be online, or see other people but alas it was not. Not only that but the music choices seemed poor and the team decided to have music play through a whole area, as opposed to music for battles, music for cutscenes, etc. making the soundtrack seem very boring.

The remake is touting a brand new soundtrack and possibly new battle system so maybe it will succeed in ways its predecessor failed. We will know in early 2017.