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First Commercial Game w/ Music by Me Released Today!

Today, on WiiWare, a game that I did some music tracks for was finally released. The game is titled "Planet Pachinko," and it was made by a local developer here in Orlando, FL. It's not a huge budget title, but I'm happy that things worked out for Darren (the lead producer/programmer) in getting this game out, and hopefully it'll be the first of many titles for him as an independent developer, as well as the first of many titles where I get to flex my composing muscles for.

The music in the trailer is not done by me, but by a friend who also provided some music. The game is only 500 Wii Points, so if you want to help independent developers and musicians, give it a try!

Feel free to post responses or such below, and have a great week, folks.

Two More Drops in the 'Pro' Reviewer Bucket...

For those of you who read/enjoyed my review of Lost in Blue 3's soundtrack over at Music4Games.net, I got two more reviews up.

First is The World Ends With You, which is generally favorable, with a few points regarding some aspects of the soundtrack that I felt were more or less questionable in nature regarding why the soundtrack would be configured the way it is.

The other is YMCK's Family Genesis, which I hold in high regard, especially given that the underlaying writing is simply fantastic in most regards across the album, and I would say that it's a guarenteed/required purchase for most fans of old school video game music, J-Pop, or both.

Feel free to throw comments below, but I must warn you, these are rather long reviews for soundtracks (TWEWY is about 1,660 words, and Family Genesis clocks in at around 1,550 words long).

One small step for Skitch..

...one giant leap for going from Ametuer to Pro composer. :P

(yeah, it's a lame joke)

Basically, this is just a small announcement that the game that I've been working on for the past several months has been officially announced, titled "Hot 'n' Cold." Here's the press release.

Granted, I'm not sure whether this would be a game that many of you would actually buy, and you can make whatever decision you can after reading the release, but I'm still proud of the work I did, and I'm hoping that it'll lead to other projects that can help me make more of a career out of writing music for games.

Feel free to make comments below, and if I can actually show you some tracks, I will, but legally I can't for now.

My first professional review: Lost in Blue 3 Original Soundtrack

Hey guys, just a heads up that a review I finished for the OST of Lost in Blue 3 has been posted over a the website Music4Games.net.

You all know that I'm a bit of a nut when it comes to video game music, so when I was given the chance to work for this website, I was really excited. So, after a few months of being a bit overloaded to work on it, I finally got my first review done, clocking in at 1900+ words even when i got done with the draft I submitted.

I hope you enjoy the review if you read it, and feel free to leave comments below!

Life with the 360: Condemned with a rather frustrating struggle

Back when the 360 was coming out, one of the games that looked quite interesting for me was Condemned: Criminal Origins. With the creepy atmosphere it presented, as well as the notion of some cool little gimmicks like a focus on melee combat with found weaponry, and forensic information gathering, this looked to be a game that might get my interest as a First person action game for a console.

Well, I found it used for about 17 bucks, and picked it up pretty easily...and everything was great up until I actually started playing it.

Then, well, the anger began. And it's rare for me to get more or less angry at a game, but typically it happens when I feel like there are bad general game design choices in play that I wasn't anticipating, and this game just seems to have a load of them that keeps it from being even functional as a decent game in my book. Granted, I'm only about up to Chapter 4...but I think I'm getting a good feeling of the general scope of this game.

Firstly, there is plenty of good about the title. The presentation is great, with appropriate sound design, graphics (for a launch level title), and other effects, the game does a solid job of shaping the environment, and showing some level of flair with the different weapon designs.

That being said, pretty much everything else about the game just has left either a bad taste in my mouth...or simply caused me to feel really, really annoyed about what I was trying to struggle through.

Firstly, the forensic gathering in this game would've been a nice gimmick, if it actually felt like you were really investigating something using some level of puzzle/problem solving about the matter..but since the game conveniently uses the excuse of the 'system' determining what forensics tool you are supposed to use at what time, these segments just feel worthless on all levels, especially since every time you gather evidence, you have to sit through a phone call, and stay exactly where you gathered the evidence, namely due to...

Our second problem, which is an overabundance of invisible walls in this game, which leads me to think that this game is supposed to be very strikingly linear in how the levels flow and how the action builds, which would be fine. After all, Resident Evil 4 was linear, and the levels were built as such, but this makes navigating stages rather annoying, especially when sometimes an invisible wall isn't really an invisible wall, simply somewhere that you can contextually move around an obstacle (like climbing over a single chain or something, while your enemies easily jump over various low walls). Granted, this wouldn't be so much of a problem if..

The levels themselves weren't so confusing to actually move through (problem 3). The stages feature a deceptively open-yet-linear flow to their design, which leads one to believe there's a meaningful amount of freedom to explore and find things (like the occasional weapon with one or two bullets in it)...but really, the game simply wants you to ultimately go on one particular direction without ever telling you where to go, which would be okay, as some adventure games do this, but typically the way you have to go is conveniently blocked off by some door that requires a specific weapon to open up, which means that if you don't already have this weapon (normally you won't), you have to find that weapon, meaning that the majority of this game is nothing more than..

A continuous, unending fetch-quest for either: A) A fire axe, B) A Sledgehammer, or C) A Shovel. And every time you have to get one of these things, there is pretty much always some sort of pre-scripted combat scene you have to deal with, either to get the weapon from an enemy, or you have to negotiate a group of enemies just after getting the weapon. This, again, wouldn't be a problem, if...

The enemy AI weren't a complete joke. Seriously, the enemies in this game really aren't that bright most of the time. I can't count the times an enemy will run out into the open, see my character, then slowly run over around the nearest corner in an attempt to hide from me, only to swing out and try to hit me with a melee hit. Many times, the enemies will simply run away from you, even if they are bigger than you, and have a stronger weapon than you, simply because they were supposed to hide at this point in the AI or something. Plus, the actual hit detection and block detection is wonky, so many times you'll get hit without much control over it, despite the enemy AI simply being poor...which is a direct result of...

The rather clunky feeling controls. These simply come off as being rather slow in response, and your character generally is on the slow side, making it difficult to negotiate some combat situations, especially when it comes to blocking attacks. Typically, you'll end up dying a few times in combat, which wouldn't be bad...but then that leads to my last gripe...

The friggin' checkpoint system. This isn't to say that I'm a fan of saving anywhere you want, but when you go through 4-5 minutes of dialog/forced forensics, only to get killed by an enemy right afterwards before you have a chance to defend yourself...it's a ridiculous idea to force the player through that 4-5 minutes of dialog/forced forensics all over again. It simply makes the game needlessly longer, and more irate at the situation, much like myself right now.

At the end of the day, the game, to me, is a rather harsh blending of a game that treats the player like he/she is an idiot (hand holding objectives, no control in forensics gathering, etc.), while at the same time being so confusing/contrived that it makes the player feel like an idiot (level design, controls, etc.). I dunno. I want to like this game...but I don't know if I can finish much more than what I've done so far.

Sorry if I annoy any fans of the game, just had to get this off my chest.

Famicom Fridays #2 - "Getting Away" from a Long, Hot Month

Gotta new blog entry up tonight. It's not the biggest entry to date, but it works for at least giving a little update. It has a short little song I did based on some music my students were working on, so enjoy, and please offer some ideas of what you'd like to see me write about, or simply like to hear me writing up in the future.

Click the logo for the jump!

Famicom Fridays

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