Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Marta and Luisa Throw a Dance Party

Hey there. Meet the Great Giana Sisters.

Look familiar? No? How about a different perspective:

Get it now? Yes, these sisters are distaff rip-offs of the Mario Bros., and not just because they’re a pair of Italian siblings staring in a video game. The level design in The Great Giana Sisters so closely resembles that in Super Mario Bros. that Nintendo sued it off the shelves after its release. Kotaku just did a “Hey! Remember old stuff?” post on it this week, and though I’ve known about this game for some time, I’d never actually seen it in motion. So I watched, but more importantly I listened. Given that the game was released in 1987, I’m damn impressed with what it did with tinny eight-bit sound.

Give the title track a spin:

At the beginning, it sounds a lot like the opening theme to an Italian horror movie from that wonderful late 70s-early 80s time period that I’m so fond of. At about the 0:45 mark, it breaks down into something else that I noticed even more in this track:

I could be way off on this, but doesn’t this sound remarkable like most of the parts of certain electro-indie bands playing today? I’m getting a distinctly Crystal Castles vibe here — much more so than I get from other dance, chiptune-inspired and -influenced stuff out there. (And yes, by the way, there is an old school video game named Crystal Castles, and no, that isn’t where the band gets its name.) I think it’s a profound similarity, just filtered through the comparatively primitive sound-processing abilities of the ZX Spectrum game system. Compare, oh, say “Crimewave,” for example.

Do you hear it too? Is my brain pixels? Should by electroclash band be called Is My Brain Pixels?

In closing, I would like to note that it was almost a year ago that I put up a post in which I theorized that the faux eight-bit sounds of Mega Man 9 sounded weirdly like the Scissor Sisters.


  1. The Great Giana Sisters had a great soundtrack, but the music isn't as impressive when put up against some other NES composers. It kinda sits with stuff like Cheetah Men in that you don't expect such great soundtrack work out of an obscure non-licensed NES game.

    And it's not even fair comparing it to the NES masters, like Mr. Tim Follin:

  2. Ooh. This Tim Follin is talented indeed, though I must say I've never heard his work before. Thanks for pointing me in his direction.

  3. Tim Follin's greatest weakness was doing soundtracks for absolutely terrible games. Solstice is great, but besides some okay games like Plok? Terrible, especially Silver Surfer.

  4. Anonymous7:56 PM

    The original Commodore game seems to have 2 different box arts. One with 2 uggly women, and one with 1 attractive woman. What's the difference between the 2 box arts in terms of release dates, version numbers etc?