The Hideki Naganuma greatest track countdown is down to the final stretch

#2 "Ebb & Flow [Remastered]" originally from JRA PAT

Looks like Naganuma's most chill track is Japan only

I only recently discovered this chill track from none other than Hideki Naganuma's own SoundCloud page earlier this year. After years of flailing helplessly in the hunt for rare Naganuma tracks, the man just up and posts them online himself. I couldn't be happier to live in this high tech age. 

Much of that happiness is from this fantastic theme from an obscure Dreamcast title. As obscure as obscure gets, just placed right on my lap.

What do you think of composers like Naganuma uploading their music to SoundCloud, iTunes, and other online music sites?

Are you happy to be swimming in legally purchasable VGM, or do you long for the days of import CDs and shady forum posts?

The Hideki Naganuma countdown continues to rock

#3 'Rock It On" from Jet Set Radio

One of the tracks that started it all

This song definitely gets me into Jet Grind Radio mode, or is it Jet Set Radio mode? Either way, this song is one that absolutely takes me back to grinding and leaping across the endless rooftops and power lines of Tokyo-to. At the time I heard it, I was amazed that a song like this would even be in a video game. Everything up to this point had been orchestral or electronic soundtracks with the occasional licensed soundtrack game. To hear original contemporary music unlike anything in the genre was unheard of, especially in the then saturated field of platform adventure games. 

Although to simply lump JSR into the ocean of 3D platformers is a clear disservice. There really hasn't been anything like this game in a lot of respects since the series has gone dormant.

I held out hope for a long time for a Wii remake of JSR Future (with the Wii remote as graffiti spray can!) but it never happened, and now that Sega has blown all their money on Sonic game after Sonic game, I can't imagine Jet Set Radio coming to fruition in any heartening way (unless Sega sells the franchise to Nintendo and lets Masahiro Sakurai work on it! Sorry, I dream big).

The Hideki Naganuma countdown continues with music from Jet Set Radio Future

#6 "Oldies But Happies" from Jet Set Radio Future
 

Sample heaven

Probably the most memorable track from JSR Future. I absolutely could not get this track out of my head as I grinded through area after area hunting down every last graffiti soul.

Come back tomorrow for the next track on the countdown!

Share your thoughts on this song and the JSRF soundtrack with us!

The tenth anniversary of the final Puyo release in the US

Looking back on 10 years since Sega's Puyo Pop Fever.

It's no secret that I love the Puyo Puyo series. After I was fooled into believing it was a Kirby game back on the SNES, I fell in love with the frenetic pace of the Puyo series (Known stateside as Kirby's Avalanche at the time).

Little did I know that some ten years later I would get an explosively colorful new iteration of the game by Sonic Team, back when those words meant something. This time, Puyo Puyo retained most of it's original name as Puyo Pop Fever when it was released for the Nintendo DS on May 3rd, 2005. Even littler did I know that this would be the final Puyo game in the US ever since. 

There have been plenty of Puyo games since 2005 by the way. I've imported a few of them. Unlike the incredibly niche audience the game has garnered in the west, Japan has celebrated the 15th and 20th anniversaries of the series with robust new outings. Recently Japan received a fusion of Puyo Puyo Fever and Tetris in one strange colorful package. I am still waiting for prices to drop a tad before I import that one. Why a floundering Sega refuses to port a ready made puzzler to the US market is hard to fathom, especially in a world now replete with downloadable puzzle offerings. Unfortunately, the consistent incompetence of Sega is movie worthy, so I won't get into it here.

As the Dreamcast slowly faded away, and with it the dreams of many gamers who fell in love with DC Sega games such as Jet Grind Radio, Chu Chu Rocket, and Space Channel 5. I think that the final game to escape that era of Sega and into the wild is the Puyo series re-imagining Puyo Pop Fever. The bright and colorful cast fits right in next to the protagonists of the aforementioned series. To drive the point home about this being the end of an era, The Dreamcast release of Puyo Pop Fever (Puyo Puyo Fever in Japan) was also the final Dreamcast game created by Sonic Team. 

Pour a little out for the Dreamcast.

As Sega's star fell, Puyo Pop Fever found itself ported to practically every system available in Japan at the time. Out of about a dozen different platforms, only the Gamecube and DS versions found themselves a release outside Japan. In fact, unlike the Sega published Gamecube release in 2004, the DS version of Puyo Pop Fever was published nearly a year later by Atlus.

I often wonder if this game had come out, perhaps three years earlier, at the height of the Dreamcast, would it have found the same niche audience that loves the Sega games of the era? 

Did you ever have the chance to play any version of the long running Puyo Puyo franchise? Do you think Sega should release another Puyo game outside of Japan?

Dreamcast vaporwave Pleasant Specter OST by Kobayashi Yamato

pleasant-specter-vaporwave-kobayashi-yamato-dreamcast

Kobayashi Yamato was the composer for a Dreamcast title Pleasant Specter, expected to launch sometime in 2000. Unfortunately, the game was cancelled due to disagreements with the game's financial backers, and the game was lost to the ether. 

The strangely nostalgic soundtrack of the game lives on though, thanks to Yamato self publishing the tracks via bandcamp as the Pleasant Specter OST. The album has an upbeat vibe reminiscent of Sega Dreamcast and arcade games of that era. 

This album also marks the first time I have heard the term 'vaporwave' and I am more than happy to absorb that into my music writing vernacular.

Listen to Level 3 Stage 0: Virtual City by Kobayashi Yamato

Dreamcast music released in the year 2014? Absolutely!

This is a track from Kobayashi Yamato from the unreleased Dreamcast game Pleasant Specter. The vaporware nature of the music gives it a certain haunting feeling even amidst the happy tones and movements.

VODUZ X AMURO - Muroduz - Vertigo EP release

Like 128 bit waves breaking on a digital shore. A dreamlike tribute to a system that aimed high, and quickly wedged its way into the classic console consortium. The Dreamcast turned thirteen just this past week. Celebrate by listening to this album, drinking a beer, and breaking out Fatal Fury: Mark of the Wolves or Project Justice, or any other amazing Dreamcast game that has yet to be ported correctly, in America, or at all to any other system.

Project Dolphin - Silvergun EP release

Project Dolphin - Silvergun EP
Project Dolphin - Silvergun EP

I recently ran across an impressive UK based band by the name of Project Dolphin. They have recently released an album of original, but clearly VG influenced jazz rock. Their debut EP, Silvergun, is four tracks of spacey jazz fusion that brings back memories of classic music from Konami and Capcom, but with some impressive live instruments and skill.

The album is available on their bandcamp as both streaming, or to download for the small price of ₤3. This band was definitely a surprise to run across, and I am glad I did, since they are making some catchy tunes!