I just had to share this fun bit of Sonic trivia that gave me a good laugh today. (And you know it’s going to be good because Sonic the Hedgehog is involved. Sonic’s involvement is a must for trivia to be considered good in my book.)
This story begins with Sonic 1 and 2 for the Megadrive/Genesis. We’ll get to Akon later, rest assured. Now, the music for the first two Sonic games was written by Masato Nakamura. Nakamura was the lead composer for a popular J-pop band called Dreams Come True. I’d vaguely heard of Dreams Come True but hadn’t ever listened to them until recently. I shouldn’t have been surprised, given the early Sonics have easily some of the most iconic videogame music there is, that Dreams Come True look to be a really good band. I know basically nothing about J-pop but this group makes me want to know more about J-pop. They sound a bit like classic Michael Jackson but with a great female vocalist.
Here they are performing live in 2014. Look out for Nakamura on bass!
Around the time of Sonic 2’s release in 1992, it seems Nakamura decided to use a melody from Sonic 2 as the basis for a Dreams Come True song. The melody he used shows up in Sonic 2 in a few different places: it’s most developed form is in the ending music, but there’s a short form of it used in the options menu. Here’s the ending, which has the fullest version.
Personally I always liked this tune but have to admit it never jumped out to me as having potential to be a pop hit. Well that’s why I’m not a superstar music producer, clearly…
Is it cheesy? Sure, a bit. But all things considered, this is a cracking arrangement and performance. I find the English vocals by Miwa Yoshida especially impressive – she sounds completely comfortable and natural singing in English despite (presumably) not being a native speaker.
This would be a nice story on its own, but unfortunately I have promised Akon content, so here goes. More than 10 years after Sonic 2 and Sweet Dream (also known as Sweet Sweet Sweet), the game commonly referred to as Sonic ’06 saw a number of bands and acts hired to record songs for the soundtrack. The results are both amusing and cringeworthy, like with one of the game’s main themes performed by Zebrahead:
Zebrahead remind us here in the chorus, lest we ever forget: in Sonic’s world, life is an open book and compromise does not exist. Sega knew that, which is why they hired then-superstar Akon to remix Sweet Dream by Dreams Come True for Sonic ’06!
In this one remix everything comes full circle. The scales have fallen from my eyes and life suddenly seems somehow complete.
14 years after Masato Nakamura walked away from the Sonic series, he returned (in a fashion) for this oddity of a game. To recap: a song from Sonic 2 was arranged and performed by a Japanese band. Akon covered the band’s song and contributed those ridiculous autotuned vocals that made him a household name in the mid 00s. Sega then put the end result in Sonic ’06 and a trivia is born.
This week’s video will strike a chord with anyone who’s played Xenoblade Chronicles 2. That’s because this video brings in voice samples from an iconic regular enemy, the Scottish accented soldiers of Mor Ardain. If you’ve not had the pleasure of sampling this game, you may wonder what makes these soldiers so memorable. Well, there’s just something funny about these dime a dozen soldiers who order you not to forget them every few seconds everytime you encounter them. That plus the Scottish accent.
A lot of love went into this video, that’s for sure. It’s a great way to honour the Xenoblade series, with its now rich tradition of hilarious battle chatter. All three games have spawned stupid meme-worthy dialogue, from “now it’s Reyn time” (XBC) to “have a biscuit” (XBCX) to “you’re done” (XBC2). Keep up the fine work Monolithsoft, I say.
Weird Video Wednesday returns! And it does so in style with Wii Shop Bling, a Drake/Wii Shop channel music mash up:
I strongly dislike Drake’s voice, I have to say. It’s so… meh. And yet coupling him with the light muzak of Nintendo’s Wii Shop Channel (and an all too brief cameo from the underrated DSi shop theme) was a stroke of genius. Beyond the absurd beauty of the music, the visuals are hilarious in their own way. Must be the contrast between Drakes’ and the luscious ladies’ laid back dancing and that smooth jazz sound. I would love to know what Kazumi Totaka – the composer of the Wii Shop channel music and indeed all music for the Wii channels – makes of this silliness.
Whoever heard of a 89 and a half minute long game review? Not me, and certainly not a review released three weeks ago whose subject matter is a seven-year-old game. Against my better judgment, I ended up watching this in its entirety. More surprising though than my own poor judgment (that’s not a secret to anyone at this point), is that the review itself, made by a guy in his garage, was really good! Comedy, drama, action, multiple philosophising robots… it’s all here in this tour de force of gaming criticism.
I have strong opinions about Fallout 3. In my opinion, it is a largely overrated, messy game with a few redeeming qualities. As Maya wrote in her post on race in Fallout 3, there’s a lot of wasted potential and loose ends in it. That’s what this review is largely about too, the wasted potential, especially in relation to the original two Fallout games (neither of which I’ve played outside of a brief demo, sadly). It’s not all bad news though – there’s redemption at the end. Perhaps one day I’ll try my hand at a feature-length video review, not of a game but of this very feature-length review? Let me know what you think.
So recently I was investigating rare/expensive PS2 games (as you do) and I happened across an eBay auction advertising a rare PS2 game, the first and only Spain exclusive game on the system. The first thing that grabbed my attention was the boxart.
Well, that’s not something you see everyday. Que Pasa Neng! El Videojuego translates roughly as What’s Up Neng! The Videogame, Neng being the name of the character on the cover. This week’s weird video, returning after a short hiatus (i.e. I forgot it was Wednesday) is gameplay footage from this rather unusual game.
You can rest easy – this is satire, thank God, in the vein of Ali G. And, surprisingly perhaps, the game looks fun! I don’t know what is going on exactly: first you’re tasked with a Tetris challenge to stuff people in a car? Then you have to… catch and eat flies – or are you spitting them out? I can’t even tell. It’s all very random and Incredible Crisis-esque.