Plants vs. Zombies piano versions #9: Zen Garden

August 10, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Posted in Plants vs. Zombies piano version series | 3 Comments
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I know it’s been a while, but I decided that I’d like to finish up the Plants vs. Zombies piano version series! So I’m gonna kick it off today with the Zen Garden theme:

For Science!

May 16, 2011 at 3:30 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 12 Comments
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George and I finally finished Portal 2 this past weekend, and since I really loved the turret opera and ending credits theme I went to arrange and record this immediately afterwards:

My favorite trophy: No Hard Feelings (“I’m different!”) So cute.

Play for Japan and To Far Away Times

April 14, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Posted in Video Games | 11 Comments
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Last week I was invited to participate in Akira Yamaoka’s Play for Japan: The Album, which will be released on iTunes at the end of May. The album is going to be a compilation of music created by video game composers from around the world, and all proceeds will be donated to the relief effort in Japan. I can’t tell you how honored I am to be able to help in this way; my favorite game composers, whom I have looked up to since I was a child will also be participating (Yasunori Mitsuda, Nobuo Uematsu, Akira Yamaoka, etc.). I will try my hardest to compose something beautiful for this album, I hope that I can do a good job!

Also, Matt made a request for “To Far Away Times,” and since he’s like the biggest Chrono Trigger fan I know (he even had a job beta testing the original SNES version) I had to fulfill it ^_^ Hope you enjoy!

Mega Man 2 – Air Man (piano improvisation)

April 12, 2011 at 9:40 pm | Posted in Video Games | 3 Comments
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Random story: When I was in 7th grade, I took a cooking class and the teacher made us choose three “life accomplishments” to write a mini essay about… I don’t remember the last one (and I don’t remember why we did this in a cooking class), but the 1st one I wrote about was how I overcame my claustrophobia by forcing myself to ride an elevator over and over again at Circus Circus in Reno. The 2nd one was beating Mega Man 5. I didn’t have any compunctions whatsoever about putting that one on there.

With that, I give you… (Jimmy Jimmy Jimmy… Woods!! 100 points if you get that reference)… ahem: Air Man’s theme from Mega Man 2 (yes, I know it’s not from 5, but I hope that was a good enough introductory story in that it pertained to my love of the NES Mega Man series ^^). Hope you enjoy!

Chrono Trigger – Frog’s Theme (piano improvisation)

April 8, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Posted in Video Games | 11 Comments
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This one is super short. I was messing around after finishing the recording of “To Good Friends” and decided to play “Frog’s Theme” as well… Originally I wasn’t going to post it because it’s not even 30 seconds long, but then I got a request for it… Now I’m really glad I didn’t just delete it! Hope you enjoy!

Also… who is your favorite Chrono Trigger character? Mine is either Frog or Schala… but then again, I also really like Robo. In terms of battle parties, my favorite was Chrono, Marle, and Ayla because it was fun to do Cube Toss and Falcon Strike!

Chrono Trigger – To Good Friends (piano improvisation)

April 7, 2011 at 12:21 am | Posted in Video Games | 16 Comments
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I love this song ❤

No Yoshi is an Island

April 3, 2011 at 2:45 am | Posted in Video Games | 10 Comments
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I don’t know why Yoshi makes me so happy. Perhaps it’s because I have such fond memories of playing Yoshi’s Island when I was younger. Perhaps it’s because everything in his world is so weird and funny and cute…

See those puffy white things? If you eat them then your pupils will get really small, you’ll completely lose your balance, and the world will wave back and forth as if you’ve had too much to drink. The level is very appropriately named, “Touch Fuzzy Get Dizzy.” Besides hallucinogenic dandelion puffs, you will also be shrunken and eaten by a frog (your only way out being to shoot eggs at its uvula), sent into outerspace to fight a crow by pushing spikes through the other side of the planet (which I suspect was an inspiration for Mario Galaxy), morphed into trains, cars, helicopters, and submarines, and chased by someone named “Tap Tap the Red Nose.”

The world is highly interactive for a Super Nintendo game, which is probably why I spent so much time replaying it… Besides wanting to get 100% on all the levels so I could unlock bonus mini-games and secret levels, I also wanted to uncover all the little hidden details that made the world feel so creative and whimsical. In one of the levels, there’s a row of enemies standing above you. Their goal is to pass a bomb from one side of the room to your location so that they can hit you with it… But if you stomp the ground while the bomb is being passed from enemy to enemy, whoever is holding the bomb will prematurely drop it, causing the poor butterfingers to lower his head in shame as his peers disapprovingly shake their heads.

I could go on and on about how much I loved the gameplay, the puzzles, the character art, the music, and the world… but the thing I love the most about this game was how it inspired me. When I was younger, I used to subscribe to Nintendo Power (I also got grounded a lot for calling the Nintendo Power Hotline, but that’s another story)… My favorite issue was #77 because it had an article on Shigeru Miyamoto that completely fascinated me. This was the first time I’d ever heard anything about the creator of Super Mario Bros. and I was immediately impressed by him. When I was growing up, I always found myself immersed in some sort of creative activity… I drew comics of my friends on the side of my math homework, I procrastinated practicing my Classical music assignments because I was too busy improvising new songs or figuring out how to play the music from Little Nemo the Dream Master on the piano, I wrote stories and designed new levels in Megaman, and I was always imagining. The more I learned about Shigeru Miyamoto, the more I felt like I could relate to him and how he saw the world. Yoshi’s Island was like this big crazy manifestation of all that creativity… and after reading that Nintendo Power article, it became my dream to work in the video game industry; I promised myself that I would never abandon my creativity and that I’d always try to look at the world with a childlike heart.

So that brings me to the latest video:

This is my improvisation of the ending theme song from Yoshi’s Island, which was written by Koji Kondo. It’s beautiful and sweet; a perfect way to end the game. The premise of the game is that Kamek (a wizard and caretaker of Baby Bowser) has foretold that Mario would stop Bowser in the future… so he sends his cronies to kidnap Baby Mario as he’s being transported by the stork to his future parents. The cronies are able to kidnap Luigi and the stork, but Mario falls safely onto the island of the Yoshis. Shortly after, the Yoshis set forth to rescue Luigi and the stork so that the babies can be delivered to their parents. At the very end of the game, the parents hold up Baby Mario and Luigi, and “heroes are born” is shown at the bottom of the screen. Right at that moment, the Super Mario Bros. “level completed” riff from the original game is been worked into the composition… it’s so beautiful… I’m slightly embarassed to admit this, but I get tears in my eyes during that part.

Anyways, I hope you like this rendition… and if you’ve never played Yoshi’s Island, I hope you get the chance to play this wonderful game. Who knows, maybe it’ll inspire you, too.

Videogame Music DVD and Darkspore

November 20, 2010 at 5:30 pm | Posted in Video Games | 2 Comments
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This is for all of you video game music fans out there: My friend Jeriaska (a journalist at Gamasutra who is known for his fantastic video game composer interviews) is putting together a DVD series filled with interviews of famous composers such as Nobuo Uematsu (Final Fantasy), Akira Yamaoka (Silent Hill), Hip Tanaka (Metroid), Daisuke Amaya (Cave Story) and many others.

I’m personally really excited about this because so many of these composers have been such great inspirations to me, so it’s fun to hear them talk about what inspires them and how they work. Jeriaska has set up a Kickstarter to help fund this DVD project, so if anyone is interested in checking that out, here is the link!

And for those folks who have been following Darkspore’s development: Our friends Dan Kline and Paul Sottosanti from EA Maxis did a fun co-op walkthrough of Cryos. The ice bridge that appears around 5 minutes into it looks so awesome!

Lastly… if for some reason you didn’t receive an add or invite to the Google Groups I started last week, here is a link to that ♫. Although anyone can sign up, due to Google restrictions I am unable to personally add all the people who contacted me over the last couple years about the PvZ soundtrack (but you can sign up yourself, there is no restriction for that). Unfortunately, I was only able to get a few hundred on there out of a few thousand, but I’ll keep adding to it as Google lets me. So if you get a chance, feel free to sign up — I’d love to have you on there!

I just learned the ASCII code for these connected eighth notes: ♫ Haha… I know it’s not that exciting, but for some reason I think it’s so cool. There are going to be musical notes everywhere now.


Blood Elf Druids Music Video

October 25, 2010 at 2:38 pm | Posted in Video Games | 25 Comments
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Hi everyone! I hope your week is off to a good start! As promised, here is the music video I’ve been talking about (this is my 2nd time posting… the first time around, youtube’s video processing crashed so the link was broken). For those who didn’t get a chance to watch the preview video (which explains why I wrote this song), you can find it here. I really hope you like it… it’s my first attempt at machinima, so it might be a little goofy (as if getting all dressed up like a Blood Elf Druid with a fake ivy skirt and wooden staff isn’t goofy enough).

Thank-you to everyone who used their WoW characters to help me get Fraps footage for the video: George made a Gnome character for the purpose of having a bunch of Yetis beat him up, he and my Mom did a ton of dancing, Joe helped run us through Botanica so I could get the High Botanist Freywinn shot, and Wyatt hooked me up with a beta invite so that I could get a shot of the “singing sunflower pet”… so thank-you to all of you guys, you are awesome ^_^

Also, I uploaded the song to my bandcamp page if anyone is interested in downloading it!


Melolune piano version series #1

September 29, 2010 at 12:57 am | Posted in Melolune piano version series, Video Games | 7 Comments
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Hi everyone! I guess I was in sort of a musical mood tonight or something, because after I finished Rigor Mormist I felt like recording some stuff from Melolune. And that led to me thinking I should start a Melolune piano version series as well, since there’s so much music from it that I want to share with you guys ^_^ So… for #1 I’ll start with these:

Although I’m sure a lot of you have heard it already, the original version of “Carya de Mio” actually has lyrics… it’s a lullaby that one of the main characters’ mothers used to sing to him when he was a child. You hear it during a scene when he’s reflecting on all of the good things she did during her lifetime. His last memory of her was when she asks him to recall the lullaby right before she passes away… she explains that the lullaby is “sung during dark times to help us remember that even when things are looking dim, we try to be full of light… that perhaps some of our light, would help to make someone else’s world a little brighter.” She hopes that she shined enough light onto him that he would lead a good life as well.

I put it up the original song on my bandcamp page (the player is below), but you can download it for free as well using this link. I hope you enjoy it ^_^

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