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.
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.
I am determined to run the Weird Video series into the ground with all of these Nintendo adverts. Only this week, the gimmick is Japan! This time on the marketing-go-round, it’s the TV advert for the Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past on the Super Famicom.
Link is played by a badass woman here! Couple that with Thriller-esque dance moves, a rap lifted straight out of House of Pain’s “Jump Around”, and a menacing Ganon puppet, and you’ve got yourself an advert for the ages. A legend, even.
Meanwhile, in the USA…
Listen out for that “wicky wicky wig” at the end. Vocal impersonations of record scratching sounds ensure street cred in this advert for the ages. A legend, even?
There’s tons and speculation, it’s wild, and everyone wants to know: what is NX? Seriously, what is it? Well, I’m going to tell you. Consider it a leak. NX is… Fred Willard. It’s just him. He is the NX.
The funny thing is, the evidence has been out there all along. It was on the original Wii’s Nintendo Channel. But no one actually used the Nintendo Channel, so that’s why no one realised until now. Thankfully some brave soul ripped some videos off of there which offer proof.
Just think about it. Here, in this advert, Fred Willard is the star. The DS barely features, even though they reference it several times. But the DS was extremely popular at the time, it overshadowed Willard. So, as with many of Nintendo’s internal experiments, Nintendo kept the core idea (Fred Willard) in hibernation for years with the intention of re-packaging and selling it at a later date. Nothing goes to waste at Nintendo, and we have a great many examples of this, from Mario 128, the tech demo that became Pikmin, to Stage Debut, the tech demo that became Miis. And now it’s Fred Willard’s turn, and he’s bringing the whole gang along for the NX release: Paul, Richard, Robbie, the butcher, and last but not least the vegetarian and not-vegetarian, spicy and not-spicy chili con carne!
OK so let’s be real for a minute. I have been itching to post this video since I discovered it last week. It’s so insipid, so low-key, so mundane… it should be boring, right? Then why is it so utterly compelling? Who are all these non-Fred Willards in the video? Are we supposed to know who they are? Because the advert seems to think we already do! Honestly, even though this video doesn’t inspire the same kind of cheesy nostalgia as last week’s featured Star Fox 64 advert, I think this is just as good, maybe better. And if you think so too then you’re in luck because there’s more.
Specifically, there’s a remix (something the kids are calling Youtube Poop?), and an extremely well-done one at that. This short film, which is considerably longer than the original video, completely flips the original on its head thanks to the inspired decision to incorporate footage from the Wizard of Oz film. Yes yes yes! I urge everyone to see this, so do check out both part one and part two. (Part two is where things get really weird.) Then, drop a comment letting me know what you think. Am I crazy for thinking both of these videos, the original and the remix, are genius?