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  • FUN Ep. 6 — The Secret

    Posted on June 3rd, 2013 keving 7 comments

    “640K ought to be enough [fun] for anyone” — Bill Gates

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    FUN - Episode 6 - The Secret

    Click above to listen/download!  (Or consult the RSS feed or iTunes page)

    And so it’s come to this! It’s the final episode of FUN with Kevin Gifford and His Pretend Pals, an exciting podcast devoted to old game/computer music and to me talking crap a lot. Download and enjoy the secret to having as much fun with your life as possible — a dwindling resource, and one that can be secured only through concerted effort. What’s the secret? You’ll have to listen to find out! (Hint: It involves the SID chip, mostly.)

    It’s been tremendous fun doing a podcast for the past six weeks and I hope you’ve enjoyed listening to the episodes. Now, presuming I get any free time before E3, back to the usual game-industry harping…

  • FUN ep. 5 — Greetings from Methmond

    Posted on May 28th, 2013 keving 8 comments

    “See the sky turning red and you’re still in bed; it’s fun in Acapulco” — Elvis Presley

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    FUN - Episode 5 - Greetings from Methmond

    Click above to listen/download!  (Or consult the RSS feed or iTunes page)

    Here is episode 5 of FUN with Kevin Gifford and His Pretend Pals, a limited-time podcast run by me. I play lots of old game/demo/computer-generated music running the entire history of the genre. Throughout the show, I also cut in and talk about myself, the game industry, and other things of questionable interest.

    Features this time around include:

    • An intro
    • A thrilling look at the drug situation in the state of Oregon
    • The first GameCube track in FUN history
    • The exclusive story of how running a dumb NES site got me into the game industry
    • Discussion of how Microsoft is going to spy on you scratching your balls
    • The wistful farewell song
    • And more

    This is a free podcast and by all means let everyone know about it, because FUN is best when it’s shared, right?

    A full annotated tracklist will be released tomorrow! And make sure to keep June 2 open, because the final episode will be the one where I finally reveal my secret formula for enjoying the rest of your life! What could it be?!!

  • FUN Ep. 4 playlist

    Posted on May 20th, 2013 keving 6 comments

    Paperboy_Apple2_Box

     

    I went all-out with FM this week and I regret not a single second of it!

    Part 1
    – Main — World Cup Soccer (Midway, pinball) — Vince Pontarelli
    – Ice castle, Netaro Village — Momotaro Katsugeki (Hudson, PCE) — Michiko Yoshida
    – Silent Language (Course C) — Power Drift (Sega, arcade) — Hiroyuki Kawaguchi
    – Ending — Lethal Enforcers 2: Gun Fighters (Konami, arcade) — Tsuyoshi Sekito
    – Field — Cosmic Fantasy (Telenet, PCE CD) — Hisao Inoue etc.
    – Winters White — EarthBound (Nintendo, SNES) — Keiichi Suzuki/Hiroyuki Tanaka
    – Block Town — Pac-Mania (Namco, arcade) — Yuriko Keino/Junko Ozawa

    Looking back, I’m surprised to find that I would’ve had a full segment with nothing but Japan-made music if it weren’t for that darn piece of classic early-’90s sports interstitial music leading things up. I’d like to think John Test, composer of “Roundball Rock” (aka. the NBA on NBC music, surely the best in its genre), would be impressed by Vince’s effort.

    Perhaps in response to the warm weather of last week, I’ve unconsciously played two different very good “ice/snow world” pieces. “Winters White” routinely gets mentioned in discussions of best “snow” tune ever, or at least they would be if people actually held these conversations besides myself. I played through EarthBound when it was a new release in 1995 and not once since; I should get back to it sometime but I’m too busy with Sorcerian at the moment.

    Read the rest of this entry »

  • FUN Ep 3 playlist

    Posted on May 14th, 2013 keving 5 comments

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    FUN is halfway done! Here’s a quick recap of what I played in episode 3:

    Section 1
    – Feed My Disease — Comix Zone (Sega, Genesis) — Howard Drossin
    – The exciting “crossing a sewer” music — Energy (NCS, PCE)
    – Stage 1 — Drill Dozer (Nintendo, GBA) — Go Ichinose, Satoshi Nohara
    – Stage 2 — Gods (Accolate, Genesis) — Jason Page
    – Village — Tengai Makyo ZERO (Hudson, SFC) — Toshiyuki Sasagawa
    – Stage 1 — Kuru Kuru Kururin (Nintendo, GBA) — Atsuhiro Motoyama
    – Stage 2a — Golden Axe III (Sega, Genesis) — Naofumi Hataya, Tatsuyuki Maeda

    I wrote about Energy long ago. The music still rocks, but not as much as the job Jason Page did revving up the soundtrack of Gods for the Genesis. The original Amiga was a lot more plodding and “Amiga-y” in the bad definition of the term.

    Comix Zone gets some love these days, but it sure didn’t at the time, despite the fine job that Drossin did with the Genesis’ sound chip. No FM game sounds like this.

    Section 2

    20 minutes of Sorcerian, the PC88VA version.

    I don’t think it can be emphasized enough how influential this soundtrack was to a generation of computer enthusiasts in Japan. Yuzo K. got his start writing music articles for computer mags, and by the time this game came out, he was already a major celebrity in the business. Music disks came out for the PC88 from amateur groups and they all sounded a lot like Yuzo. In that was I suppose he was kinda like the musicians in Future Crew for people of my generation. (Speaking of people I haven’t played yet…)

    Section 3
    — World Wide Connection — Shock Troopers 2nd Squad (Saurus, Neo Geo) — Masahiko Hataya, Masaki Kase
    — Battle — Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire (Nintendo, GBA) — Go Ichinose, Junichi Masuda
    — Europe in the Middle Ages (Receiving) — Gain Ground (Sega, arcade) — Katsuhiro Hayashi
    — Stage 5 — Sunset Riders (Konami, SNES) — Motoaki Furukawa
    — Village — Fury of the Furries (Kalisto, Amiga) — Frédéric Motte
    — Main — Mousin’ Around (Midway, pinball) — Dan Forden

    Sega arcade composers had an odd yet endearing habit of creating tunes that had no hope of looping before the player would finish the stage it played in. Stages in Gain Ground run a variable amount, but never more than about three minutes, a bit under how long this tune runes. (More to the point, if you spent that long on any individual Gain Ground level, that most likely means you’re screwed anyway and your game is about to end.)

    Fury of the Furries is not a fetish game, but instead an innovative French platformer that sort of foretold the gameplay mechanic that The Lost Vikings used a bit later. It became Pac-in-Time on the SNES and also had a PC port, but the Amiga version wins out music-wise I think.

    Section 4
    — Title — Ottifanten (Infogrames, GB)
    — Field — Hourai Gakuen no Bouken (J-Wing, SFC) — Hitoshi Sakimoto
    — Little Joke 1 — XTD (Amiga)
    — Title/Field — King Breeder (Artec, PC8801) — Hitoshi Sakimoto
    — Battle tune 2 — Hippodrome (Data East, arcade)
    — Desert town — Romancing SaGa 3 (Square, SFC) — Kenji Ito
    — Sweet and Sour — PRI/Oxyron (C64)

    Sakimoto did a lot of random stuff, didn’t he? I should write about King Breeder sometime (it’s not porny).

  • Podcast: FUN Episode 3 — Look what I can do

    Posted on May 12th, 2013 keving 2 comments

    “Across the nation around the world, everybody have fun tonight; a celebration, so spread the word” — Wang Chung

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    FUN - Episode 3 - Look what I can do

    Click above to listen/download!  (Or consult the RSS feed or iTunes page)

    Here is episode 3 of FUN with Kevin Gifford and His Pretend Pals, a limited-time podcast run by me. I play lots of old game/demo/computer-generated music running the entire history of the genre. Throughout the show, I also cut in (about once every 15 minutes) with commentary about the game industry, favorite artists, and the plight of the hourly worker in Central Oregon.

    Features this time around include:

    • An intro
    • Some more singing
    • A look at the best FM music ever composed by Yuzo Koshiro
    • Me discussing the time I went out to the deserts surrounding Reno and shot up a photocopier
    • Me creating the world’s first audio Commodore 64 crack intro
    • The wistful farewell song
    • And more

    This is a free podcast and by all means let everyone know about it, because FUN is best when it’s shared, right?

    A full annotated tracklist will be released tomorrow!

  • FUN Episode 2 playlist

    Posted on May 6th, 2013 keving 1 comment

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    Now that Episode 2 of FUN is out, it’s time to fully examine the playlist. Read on for names, titles, details, and endless rambling.

    Intro
    – 
    Crocket’s [sic] Theme — Mad (Scoop Designs)
    – Title music — David Beckham Soccer (Rage Software, GBA) — ?

    Rage Software paid £1.5 million per year to license Becks’s likeness back in the day. This, among other financial extravagances and the general failure in selling games they exhibited after the turn of the millennium, led to their liquidation in 2003. Thus they became just another rung in the great, towering ladder of publisher bankruptcies that defined much of that decade of the UK games business.

    There are around 20 to 25 covers of “Crockett’s Theme,” one of Jan Hammer’s signature synth tunes for Miami Vice, available for the Commodore 64. Quite a lot of them were composed while the show was still on first-run TV. Until now I had no idea the show’s official run went on until May of 1989; I thought it was a lot shorter-lived for some reason. This means that Miami Vice and Cops were premiering new episodes at the same time for a few months — and the first season of Cops was shot entirely in and around Fort Lauderdale, FL, so even their subject matter overlapped a bit at times. That’s what I call “Must See TV” (especially after a night at the bar).

    Read the rest of this entry »

  • Podcast: FUN Episode 2 — David Beckham

    Posted on May 5th, 2013 keving 3 comments

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    FUN - Episode 2 - David Beckham

    Click above to listen/download!  (Or consult the RSS feed or iTunes page)

    Here is episode 2 of FUN with Kevin Gifford and His Pretend Pals, a limited-time podcast run by me. I play lots of old game/demo/computer-generated music running the entire history of the genre. Throughout the show, I also cut in (about once every 15 minutes) with commentary about the game industry, favorite artists, and exactly what I think about E3 and where I’d like to see it shuffle off to.

    Features this time around include:

    • An intro
    • Some great singing
    • An extended look at the music behind the greatest sports game ever made
    • Music generated by SIDs, AY-9-3-8912s, Yamaha YM2151s, Amigas, and much more
    • An exclusive reveal of the location of McDonald’s Treasure Land (it’s closer than you think)
    • The wistful farewell song
    • And more

    This is a free podcast and by all means let everyone know about it, because FUN is best when it’s shared, right?

    A full annotated tracklist will be released tomorrow!

  • FUN Ep. 1: The playlist

    Posted on April 29th, 2013 keving 8 comments

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    Thanks to everyone who listened to FUN Episode 1! If you haven’t yet, you’re missing out on something I’m sure is very important!

    Here’s an RSS feed. iTunes feed is submitted and hopefully it’ll go up sometime soon.

    As promised I am going to outline the playlist below, along with some commentary. In the future I’ll just release it alongside the actual podcast, but I ran out of time over the weekend. How many did you guess right?

    Read the rest of this entry »

  • Podcast: FUN Episode 1 — Hypertension

    Posted on April 27th, 2013 keving 6 comments

    “No more fun and games of the mind; let’s get busy one more time” –Samantha Fox

    fun01

    FUN - Episode 1 - Hypertension

    Click above to listen/download!

    Welcome to FUN with Kevin Gifford and His Pretend Pals, a limited-time podcast run by me. I play lots of old game/demo/computer-generated music running the entire history of the genre. Throughout the show, I also cut in (about once every 15 minutes) with commentary about the game industry, favorite artists, and exactly what I think about E3 and where I’d like to see it shuffle off to.

    Features include:

    • An intro
    • A regular featured look at an artist I particularly like (this week: Steve Rowlands)
    • The Thursday Night Mystery News featuring everything that really matters in the game/ferrets industry
    • Music generated by SIDs, AY-9-3-8912s, Yamaha YM2151s, Amigas, and much more
    • A bit where I talk over music in humorous fashion
    • The wistful farewell song

    This is a free podcast and by all means let everyone know about it, because FUN is best when it’s shared, right?

    A full annotated tracklist will be released in a couple of days. See how many tunes you recognize until then! Lemme know which ones you like!