Friday, May 21, 2010

Actually, it's NOT just Masuda...

If you really just want to hear what I'd come up with -- and keep in mind this is like 3-4 years old at this point, scroll down to the bold text, but you'll miss what I think is a fairly interesting story.

Hahaha, this is probably the most insane music coincidence possible ever really -- I was, about 3-4 years ago working on a MIDI remix project of a bunch of tunes from Sonic 3 -- largely for the sake of making them sound better than the music in Sonic and Knuckles Collection for PC. You can probably find some of the songs on youtube if you look.

Although my first couple songs were songs from Sonic 3 that got replaced by slightly-less-awesome tunage in the game (the Sonic 3 credits and Ice Cap Zone are a couple notable examples), it quickly ballooned into a general let's-remix-everything-in-the-game project. But it didn't ever get completed because I am lazy, easily distracted, and moved on to other things.

Anyway, one of the songs was Mushroom Hill Zone -- original song can be found here (act 1) and here (act 2) but if you'd like to hear the versions from the PC collection, you can go here and here but I should warn you these are recorded off the default roland sound canvas most PCs use. If you've got a better player you might want to trawl around for the actual MIDIs from the game, which have been ripped and can be found around the internet somewhere, I'm sure...

There was also a remix version of the song on an album, found here. The album's actually pretty crappy but amusing because of it -- good for one or two listens. It also only has S&K music, but there are little bits added on here and there in a couple places. My goal was, in some of the transitions, to add in a couple references to this album inasmuch as it was apparently official/licensed. Also if I could make references to other songs in Sonic or even other Sega games, I'd do it.

Now, my rendition of the song sounded a bit different from all of these, naturally. I added a lot of dischord because I felt that the zone was meant to be a bit hyperactive, fast, and somewhat of a bad trip (I mean, giant mushrooms? Sounds like a particularly strong surreal fever dream to me!). Now, the song's still at more-or-less the same tempo as the original, but it's got a lot of odd things going on in the background an dissonances here and there.

If you'd like to listen to my version, it's right here: (please share if you like it)

Now, the funny thing is that *after* making this, I realized that I had forgotten one potential source for material -- there was another instance of Mushroom Hill Zone, in the lesser-known video game Sonic the Fighters. Now I've still never played the game and hadn't heard any of the music at the time, so I was a little upset I'd looked over potential source material. So I took a listen to it.

Uncanny, yet again. Similar instrumentation, lots of bends upward like in my version of the song, some chromaticism in the background like my song. Holy crap, I apparently referenced it without ever hearing the damn song in the first place. I am entirely amazed that this happened and was laughing for a good long time (in fact I am right now giggling to myself a little at it, having gone back and listened to it again).

I'm not really sure how to explain the similarity. I can't recall ever hearing the song before that point. It's not something that was necessarily a consistent style choice throughout the rest of the project. I'm actually not sure how I feel about the rendition itself at this point -- like the album of S&K remix tunes it seems mainly something to listen to, chuckle if you've heard the Fighters soundtrack, and then file away in the recycle bin.

Anyway, if you'd like to hear the other 6-or-so songs that I made before basically putting the project on an indefinite hiatus, feel free to comment or something. I can link to them fairly easily, and will put in a little description or something even maybe.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Let me just put it this way:

Chlor-Trimeton, I cannot remember the your name for more than 5 minutes. You should make a joke about this.

"Chlor-Trimeton. It may not run off the tip of your tongue, but it won't run off the tip of your nose either."

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Speaking of Pokemon...

The new starters for the upcoming games have been announced.

Naturally as I am very interested in the sort of punny naming that they come up with I have decided to put a couple ideas in the ring.

This dude's the grass starter, at least if he follows the same rules as every other starter until now. I think he looks vaguely like the geico gecko dude and has a smug expression in this image. I think then, that I will dub him "Gexter". Yes, he is rather snakelike (the Japanese name is something like "ivy snake" from what I can tell, probably a portmanteau, oh how they love their portmanteaus in pokemon -- perhaps will call them "poke-portmanteaus" from now on or something) but I can't get the image of this-is-as-much-gecko-as-snake out of my head.

An alternate possibility: "Ivyleague"

"Pokabu" is his Japanese name, which almost surely incorporates a pun around "pork", given that this is a pig. I think we should go with that. Given that he's a fire starter, I am tending toward "Porkroast" but at the same time this makes him seem just a little weak, as though he were getting roasted rather than doing the roasting. Perhaps "Porkroaster" would work, but that's 1 character above the normal limit for the games until now (10 characters, this is 11).

Okay, this guy is more of a challenge. He appears to be an otter, and he appears to have a slightly mournful disposition in this image. Perhaps we could make a pun on how he looks blue. Perhaps we could work the word "glum" in there somewhere -- "glum" has the sort of punch for a synonym for sad that a lot of pokemon names have. "Lachrymotter" would be one of my preferred suggestion if I had the space -- but if we go for 10 characters we can't do that, and it is a bit tough off the tongue, not like squirtle or mudkip. Still, I happen to like it because that way all three starters end with an "-er" suffix of some sort. Of course if we can only go with "Porkroast" then this guy will become something like, say "Blubglub" because he's a water pokemon and is inspired by marine mammals most of which are known for their subcutaneous layers of blubber.

Oh also listening to the music from HG/SS is uncanny because of how a number of the samples are the same ones I've used in a bunch of songs. Also, Masuda's love of leading tones/chromaticism, pentatonic scales, and syncopation are very similar to my own tastes in composition. Seriously, too many of my songs sound like rejected pokemon tunes now. :P

I wonder if something that sounds uncannily like this will be used in some sort of factory or power plant dungeon (like the one off Rt.9 in Kanto). Or you could speed it up a little bit and maybe make it some sort of battle music.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

So There's Pretty Little To Catch In HeartGold Remaining

...To complete the Johto 'Dex (excepting a Mew and a Celebi which are basically event pokemon that I'll hopefully be able to get through Mystery Gift), the following pokemon are what still need to be acquired by catching/trade (I have several I need to fully evolve, but that's a different matter, really):

Update: names in green have been caught already. I was on planes and in airports all day Friday but forgot about the lapras. Perhaps at the end of this week I'll remember it.
  • Pinsir (which I am trying to get for a Scyther on the idea if it'll work or not)
  • Heracross (sadly, headbutting is a lot more effort than it's worth sometimes since an encounter isn't guaranteed -- nor is it particularly likely to encounter one, and that's the only way to get a heracross)
  • Aipom (yeah, another headbutting pokemon -- seems more effort than it's worth at times)
  • Tyrogue (sadly the game seems to lock up in the cave where the dude who gives him out is)
  • Lapras (can't get one until Friday, sadly, since it only shows up in Union Cave on that day -- thankfully it's not like the legendaries and just shows up every week)
Yeah, that's a grand total of 5 pokemon. I've beaten all the gym leaders, Red, the Elite Four (TWICE!) and gotten all the legendaries I can get without the aid of a trade for SoulSilver groudon (which would give me the ability to catch rayquaza...but I could always import both from a copy of, say, Emerald).

Anyway, my team of pokemon was a bit typical, and they were vastly underleveled compared to Red. Because of how I played the game (rarely saving after losing a battle, in fact) I was able to acquire lots of money and thus faced up against him with something like 47 hyper potions and like 20 revives (and a couple very handy max revives I'd found in caves and had been saving for this occasion). The list of my pokemon is as follows -- keeping in mind that most of Red's pokemon are in the 82-88 level range.

  • Ampharos -- Level 70, "BaaHumbug" (female) Actually the name got more appropriate as it learned more moves from level-up. It's strong, moderately fast, and has a pretty high defense. But it's notably really really strong. I've been battling pokemon in the Battle Frontier and, since everyone's levels are scaled, I notice that I can one-hit-kill everyone except those who are completely invulnerable to the types of attacks he has -- which is pretty much none since each attack is of a different type (though only the electric attack gets a same-type bonus). Those of you who've used an ampharos know that as they're a 2nd-stage evolution, they're fucking broken. Mine also tends to paralyze on physical contact and has attacks that cause confusion or paralysis, which made her hard to capture but awesome to use.
  • Quagsire -- Level 66, "Sir Axalot" (female) Yes, as this is female I know "Dame Axalot" or "Lady Axalot" would be more correct, but she's so fucking built unless you squinted really hard you wouldn't be able to tell. Fucking tank for its level, and completely immune to electric (crucial for a water-type), as well as actually gaining health from water-attacks. Sure, she's double-weak to grass, but that's not a big deal. Got good defense and a ground attack that can, again, one-shot a level 88 pikachu like Red's. Also is a bit of an HM tool, as my default surfer. Might consider removing one of the HMs to teach another type of attack.
  • Charizard -- Level 57, "Kaminatma" (male) Actually named for the lady who gifted me this pokemon in exchange for something like a mankey (I think), bred and raised right from level 1 (through a ditto breed). The 1.5x bonus on experience gotten from fights made him really easy to level up. Sure, he's a starter but he's also a 2nd-stage evolution on the fire type which is exceedingly rare. His flying-type helps to take out the fighting pokemon, destroys most grass-types, and his notable weaknesses to water and electric are completely covered by Sir Axalot. Sure, there's a double-weakness to rock, but they're weak to both of Sir Axalot's types, as well as steel and grass. Also insanely fast, though Red's venusaur's sludge bomb puts it in for a world of hurt, at least at this level -- it's 27 levels underneath it, so it only takes out half its health in one hit.
  • Sneasel -- Level 60, "Wildweasel" (female) Actually named for a dude who was in the channel when I needed a name for this one. I have him on my party because he is damn fast with good defense, and is part ice-type making him crucial for taking out dragon types (actually wasn't as huge a player with Lance at the time due to being underleveled when I fought him, but I'm saving him for battles with friends who use pseudo-legendary dragons at their top evolutions which are doubly ice-weak). His special attack is crap, sure, but who cares when he has physical attacks of multiple types? Also he was indispensable as a meat shield against mewtwo, since his dark-type meant he was immune to his attack.
  • Gengar -- level 59, "Deadweight" (male) Along with Sir Axalot and BaaHumbug, one of my first catches. I love ghost-types for some reason. Is it the immunity to ground, fighting, and normal attacks? Is it their use of the ability curse, which cuts off half their HP to cause the opponent to have an uncurable poisoning effect, which combined with an attack like mean look, prevents the opponent from escaping and with hypnosis prevents them from even attacking, while they get worn away to death? Is it because they're completely fucking broken in the card game, able to do 50-damage attacks for two energy cards or 10-damage with guaranteed sleep? (Seriously, the duo is nearly unstoppable unless your deck is filled with colorless pokemon -- but a little base-set machop fixes that easily.) Anyway the correct answer is, as is almost cliche for questions like all of these, all of the above. Holy crap do I love Deadweight, especially for helping me capture rarer pokemon. I am actually his original trainer but traded him away for a couple minutes solely to evolve him to get better stat bonuses. He is hells of speedy, and makes for a damn good sacrifice play. Sadly, he's psychic weak due to the poison subtype which is bullshit in my opinion, but that makes him a good pair with Sneasel.
  • VENUSAUR -- Level 57 (male) You know what? He's got a couple status moves too but he's so low-level and kinda slow and ice-weak so Red's Blastoise can still make easy work of him. He's also slow. I seriously only send him in for helping capture wild pokemon that are relatively common, and for trying to inflict additional chronic damage effects (leech seed). I also got him from a trade with someone who didn't want to give him an interesting nickname (actually the dude who picked up poor ol' Marty Grass YEAH SERVES YOU RIGHT FOR NOT NAMING THE GUY), and since he's from a trade I can't rename him. I'm thinking of replacing him with something like a Skarmory, which due to being part-steel has defense against practically everything. Sure, he's fire and electric weak, but that's good for Sir Axalot, who's strong against the one type and immune to the other. Also the steel type has resistance to nearly everything, so at high levels that dude will be hard to dent. The only reason I haven't added one already is that I only got one recently, since I have HeartGold and they're native to SoulSilver only.
I think I'm addicted to the damn game. Further, I've bought it for my plane trip on Friday but all I have left to do is catch those pokemon I mentioned, the roaming Latias, and special pokemon and items from Mystery Gift and I'll have every pokemon available in the game.

Also I am *considering* loaning out my Kyogre for a Groudon at a later date to someone interested in catching a Rayquaza in HG/SS, which requires both of the two in order to get it. Of course, I'm also considering getting either Ruby or Emerald and taking care of most of the pokemon unique to those games via Pal Park to add them to my collection in this game (I WILL COMPLETE THE DAMN NATIONAL 'DEX, DAMMIT) and trade away the extras for, say, some of the Diamon/Pearl/Platinum legendaries. (Anyone have an extra fateful event (gift) Arceus they can spare to unlock the extra legendaries hidden in the Ruins of Alph?) This will also take care of the issue of the starter pokemon from Hoenn, which I only get one of.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Where have you been, dude?

Well, I've been spending way too much time lately playing Pokemon. I've sunk in over 100 hours into the game and I only got it Apr. 28.

I love the game, especially because I can trade Pokemon over wi-fi, which has been absolutely essential in order to complete my Pokedex. I have, in addition to my starter chikorita, a cyndaquil, a charizard, and a venusaur, the last two of which are still in my party, though I'm thinking of switching venusaur with a metagross or similar.

Anyway one of the things I love about the game is collecting all the pokemon and giving them silly and ludicrous nicknames. In fact, someone out there in the internet world has a chikorita out there that I bred named Marty Grass. I'm at the time of writing this actually raising a diglett into a dugtrio with the name of "Molenester". I'm almost tempted to put it on the internet for trade just so that I can ruin pokemon for some poor unsuspecting 8-year-old but I figure it'll get the FBI on my case. Still, it'd be funny to see what his (or her -- because a lot of girls play pokemon too) parent thought of it.

Incidentally if you have a fourth-generation pokemon game (Diamond/Pearl/Platinum/HeartGold/SoulSilver) and are interested in trading, I am totally up for it. If you'd like one of the original starters (bulbasaur, charmander, and squirtle) I can probably provide, and am working on the same for each of the second-generation ones (chikorita, totodile, and cyndaquil), and am willing to catch/breed any of the HeartGold exclusives. My only exception is legendaries, unless you're willing to trade back -- for the sake of pokedex completion. I want one of every evolutionary line for the Johto 'dex, which HG can provide in terms of legendaries minus maybe Mew and Jirachi or whatever.

I have a number of 'mon in a box for trade right now, including a number of baby pokemon (pichu, smoochum, happiny, elekid, magby) and a few extra exclusives to HG. I'm looking for a Skarmory at the moment, but I haven't seen a trainer with one so I can't trade for it over GTS.

Anyway long story short I am a pokeholic and probably need professional help.