Friday, November 02, 2012

How a Cool Video Game Sounded in 1988

Does everyone suffer from the strange syndrome in which the duration of a memory has little correlation to the significance of the event that caused it? I’ll assume everyone does. I would rather that I’m not the only one whose memory works like an unsorted junk drawer. So, then, just this week that weird memory thing that we all suffer from put into my head some video game music that I hadn’t heard since the late 80s. Here, you put it in your head now:

It’s from Wizards & Warriors II, a game that I completed but which never really grabbed me like your Marios and your Mega Mans. In fact, only re-examining it now do I realized that it was developed by the crew that would eventually make the Donkey Kong Country games, which I loved. It’s the same composer, in fact, and I feel like you can hear some similarities with this opening ditty and some of the tracks from those Donkey Kong games, which often sounded somehow more epic and less cartoony than a game about banana-grabbing simians should have merited.

I lack the musical know-how to state whether this track exhibits a higher-level of compositional quality than most video game music and therefore that is why I remember it, but it nonetheless starts playing in my head every three or four years or so. I wonder how long this will continue.

At least I’m not the only one who remembered it. Dana Harris, a composer, reworked it with updated technology to give it an older sound.

In the second version, it occasionally sounds like Prokofiev’s “Montagues and Capulets,” no?

Sudden bursts of video game music nostalgia, previously:


  1. I think the original Wizards and Warriors had the best theme music of any NES game, hands down.

    1. Then you may be interested in The Advantage's cover of the Wizards & Warriors opening theme song: It's quite good.

  2. Am I the only one who's reminded of Crocodile Cacaphony at :46?

    Also, it's worth mentioning that the only DKC game that can really be attributed to David Wise is DKC2; DKC1 had a number of composers, and DKC3 was composed by the same woman that voiced the protagonist in Perfect Dark.

    -Red Snifit

    1. No, I hear it too.

      And that fact I didn't know. Thanks for the correction. I'd been under the impression that it was a solo effort.