Thursday, October 27, 2016

Music References in Retro Videogames

As long as there have been people producing music, the muses of the past have provided them with inspiration. This is also true for video games, granted sometimes the line between inspiration and outright plagiarism was crossed. The original inspiration for this article came as the result of the similarities and references of the music in the game Earthbound and American popular music. Set in a peculiar representation of American and Western culture, the game has close to three hours of soundtrack that is inspired by American and English popular music from the previous decades. A lot of references come from The Beatles, and even the character naming screen hosts a hidden sample of the intro to Monty Python. If you listen closely to the recording, you can tell that the sample that plays in the background throughout Your Name Please actually the Monty Python intro being sampled and not just the song from the intro; called The Liberty Bell March.

There are plenty other examples of music references in video games. I wanted to make this article a little different than the other articles and videos out there and point out similarities I have found, rather than copy the hundreds of webpages and Youtube videos out there. For example, I am under the impression that the Earthbound song Humeresque of a Little Dog samples Arlo Guthrie's Alice's Resturant. Have a listen; comment below and tell me what you think.

Earthbound - Humoresque of a Little Dog (Buy Something Will Ya) / Arlo Guthrie - Allison's Restaurant

Mega Man's Electric Man Stage / Journey's Faithfully

Black Sabbath's The Mob Rules / Maximum Carnage on the SNES.
Ok, so this one is outright plagiarism, the song is copied note for note, including the guitar solo.It sounds like the programmers wanted The Mob Rules to be the backing track to this stage and did the best they could.

Ys III Dungeon / Metallica's Call of Kthulu
Listen specifically to the intro bass, it matches Metallica's bass about 33 seconds into the song

Ys IV / Yngwie Malmsteen - Far Beyond The Sun
When I showed my friends this similarity and I told them that I liked the Ys music, one of them told me that if I liked that bullshit music I should just listen to Yngwie Malmsteen. So I did, and that's how I came across this similarity. I wouldn't be surprised if there isn't a lot more similarities between the what they Falcom in-house band recorded and Yngwie Malmsteen.

Koji Kondo who has done music for the Zelda series and Punchout has cited Deep Purple as an influence on his work, which brings us to the next two examples:

Punch Out - Get Up Mac / Deep Purple's Burn

Zelda's Dungeon / Deep Purple - April 
You can also hear the Zelda overworld music in Deep Purple's April.

Neo Geo Basebal Stars / Van Halen's Jump

Street Fighter II - Ken's Stage / Cheap Trick's Mighty Wings
Mighty Wings was written for the film Top Gun and makes me wonder if at one point Ken's music was supposed to be Guile's theme music instead. Thank god we didn't get a theme or stage based off of Playing With The Boys.

Finally, here's some music from Road Rash III. It doesn't sample anything in particular as far as I know. It does sound like Motohead though, which means it kicks ass.

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