'The Rose General' by katethegreat19, a moving tribute to Final Fantasy IX

This wonderful OCReMix dropped right around the same time I took my first shot at Final Fantasy IX. Not just on of my favorite FF remixes (in a world inundated with them) but also one of my favorite OCR tracks. Damn fine work.

Unfortunately, this song ends the week on a Melencholy note. For many folks such as myself, I feel that the Final Fantasy series, as well as Square-Enix as a company have diverged largely from what made their classic games so memorable. You can decide for yourself whether that is a good, or necessary move for S-E. 

In more upbeat news, it appears that rumors are circulating already that the FFVII reboot for PS4 is only the beginning of a full PSX FF trilogy series of reboots. That would include Final Fantasy VII, VIII, and IX. 

Share your memories of Final Fantasy IX with us! Would you love to see FFIX get an HD reboot much like the upcoming remake of FFVII?

Final Fantasy IX week continues with club music style battle theme

This remains one of my favorite battle themes from the entirety of the FFIX series (at least, if Battle on the Big Bridge never existed)

What are some of your favorite battle themes from the Final Fantasy series?

Get Tipsy, Final Fantasy IX turns 15!

To be fair, I haven't played anything past IX, so this game is definitely the end of the era of many years of Squaresoft fandom. Basically from Super Mario RPG to FFIX, Square could do no wrong.

I can't help but imagine the following track, Steiner's Still Tippin' as Zidane and his band of thieves dropping these Mike Jones fronted rhymes on Steiner's theme as a major diss to Steiner and his high falutin' moral code.

Especially savory in this mashup is the line 'Blowing on the endo, GameCube Nintendo' In the context of the mashup, it appears that Zidane is such a thug, that he was even playing a non Sony console. 

Do you still look forward to the latest Final Fantasy games? Do you prefer replaying the classics?

Celebrating 23 years of Legend of Zelda: Links Awakening music

Was it all some weird dream?

Link's Awakening was my first solid introduction to the Legend of Zelda series. The game was strange, obtuse, and confounding. I got stuck a dungeon or two in, and never saw the ending to the game in my first stab at a Zelda game, but I roamed around the game world regardless, enamored with the endless mini games, sword cutting, and doing my best to figure out what the hell is going on. 

Despite my young failings, the game will always hold a very special place in my heart as the first Zelda game I ever played, and what has lead to this overabundance of Legend of Zelda merch surrounding my work desk as I type this.

The Legend of Zelda has more to do with rap than you might think. Much like many of today's leading hip hop artists, Link started from the bottom. He washed up on Koholint island with nothing to his name. After fighting through a world that feels created just to hold Link down, he slashes through the darkness and rises to the top. Literally. The very top of the island where the Wind Fish sleeps. 

Also, if Link is Jay-Z, then Zelda is Beyonce right? Why isn't there a drawing of that?

Did you enjoy reminiscing with these VGM remixes for Link's Awakening week? Share some of your favorite Legend of Zelda and Link's Awakening moments and memories!

This week we are celebrating 23 years of Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening music

This Saturday marks the 23rd anniversary of the Legend of Zelda Link's Awakening,  will turn 23, in honor of that, I'm highlighting some of my favorite covers and remixes of music from Link's first  foray into the world of handhelds.

I can't think of a better song to kick the week off than this short but over-the-top rearrangement of the opening music from the game by7 Careless Juja

Celebrate 30 years of Gradius with this Gradius X Aretha Franklin mashup

Let Gradius free!

Today is the 30th anniversary of Gradius hitting arcades in Japan. I imagine this is the party theme when the Bacterions (or whatever the hell you fight in Gradius) are finally defeated. Although, considering that a new Gradius in nearly ten years, and I have a sneaking suspicion that Konami headquarters is actually just a large warehouse with bums living inside it, maybe this song is a cry to Konami to sell the rights to a good, loving company while they still can.

I had no idea Aretha Franklin was singing about an alien invasion. I hated sitting on this song. This song has everything. The R&B VGM mashup I've been dying for, not to mention the highly underutilized tunes from the Gradius series. This is the kind of track that gets me so hyped about running this blog. It hits the sweet spot of two of my passions, early 90's shmups and late 60's blues and rock & roll.

I have a lot of passions.

I don't even have a clue who created this strange but beautiful fusion, but it really feels like they had me in mind. 

Too bad the person who created this strange but wonderful mashup hadn't merely left this on the front porch of the internet before running off. If anyone knows the whereabouts of this mashup producer, please inform me.

Thanks for spending Gradius week with us! Share your favorite Gradius memories with us in the comments and on twitter or facebook!

The best Hideki Naganuma track is actually two tracks from the underrated Sonic Rush

#1 TIE "Vela Nova" and "Wrapped in Black" from Sonic Rush

It should have been a tie between the entire Sonic Rush OST

It could have easily been a ten way tie for how much I love this soundtrack. I will refrain from such shenanigans though, and simply include the two tracks I think most exemplify Hideki Naganuma's Sonic Rush soundtrack

As if it were an answer to my prayers, after the beginning of my search for more Hideki Naganuma, the game Sonic Rush is released to the Nintendo DS in 2005. The soundtrack, is, of course, by Hideki Naganuma, and the beats he was pumping through my DS speakers left me in amazement. If it weren't for Meteos on the DS earlier that year, I would have had no idea that the DS was capable of such sounds. 

Sonic Rush (the soundtrack and the game) were both phenomenal. Not only did Dimps nail my idea of what a Sonic game is all about (going fast), but the music by Hideki Naganuma was simultaneously a breath of fresh air for the series, and also very much in line with Sonic's colorful world.

This one starts off slow but builds into an upbeat dance mix perfectly fitting when speeding your way through endless loops, raills and corridors. Wait a minute, with the rail grinding, ability to do tricks, and epic Naganuma beats, is Sonic Rush actually a 2D Jet Set Radio!?

I'm a little shocked I didn't see all the similarities to Sonic Rush and Jet Set Radio before, but now it's too obvious to deny. That probably explains why i think Sonic Rush is the most definitive Sonic experience since Sonic The Hedgehog 2.

This closing track makes a strong testament to the greatness of any quality Sonic game though, the epic Supersonic ending. That intense final sequence in Sonic Rush is accompanied by the track "Wrapped in Black." 

If hard pressed, I would choose Wrapped in Black as the go to track from the album, but a lot of what makes it great is the dark contrast of this music compared to the soulful and upbeat playfulness of the rest of the soundtrack. 

If you missed it, check out the full countdown!

#7 "The Concept of Love [The Concept of Passion Mix]" from Ollie King

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

#5 "VENDOR POP" by skankfunk from Yakuza 5

#4 "Let it Go from Ollie King

#3 'Rock It On" from Jet Set Radio

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

Do you enjoy these music countdowns and celebration weeks? tell us in the comments or @genoboost on Twitter.

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).

Counting down my top seven Hideki Naganuma tracks

#4 "Let it Go from Ollie King

A hip hop inspired, arcade only track.

As with most things I love, through sheer force of nerdery I end up falling in love with things that are just a tad too niche, even for retrogamers or VGM fans. Due to this, finding more of what i enjoy so much is a trying endeavor to say the least.

Such has been the story of my love and fascination with Hideki Naganuma. his music has been a huge influence for me in falling in love with sample heavy mixes and mashups. Naganuma's soundtracks have also had a clear influence on what I expect out of game soundtracks to this day.

If it was several years ago, this list would have been nothing but music from Ollie King and the JSR series, luckily the internet has seen fit to host so many more Naganuma songs to those of us seeking them out. 

As for the track, "Let it Go" is more of that signature sample heavy, hip hop and DJ influenced style that made him number one in my heart. This song is a great place to start with when digging into Naganuma's music. This is definitely a banger and I am clearly partial to the heavy hip hop sampling in this track. Ah crap, I forgot to vote for any characters from JSR in the Smash Bros ballot...

The Hideki Naganuma countdown just keeps rolling along with unreleased music from Super Monkey Ball

#5 "VENDOR POP" by skankfunk from Yakuza 5

What's old is new, and what's monkey is gangster

I was shocked, yet not very surprised to learn that Naganuma has produced several VG tracks under a pseudonym. Luckily, the lid is off, at least for those paying attention. It would appear skankfunk just might be the eponymous Hideki Naganuma.

How an unused track in an early 3DS game rolled along like the titular Super Monkey Ball until finding itself lodged deep within the Japanese mafia simulator Yakuza 5 is completely beyond me. All I know, is that it works.

Now I must ask, what other game series do you wish Naganuma would take a stab at? Gears of War? Legend of Zelda? Let us know!

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!

Hideki Naganuma week begins! Counting down my top seven game themes by Naganuma

#7 "The Concept of Love [The Concept of Passion Mix]" from Ollie King

A Naganuma remix of a Naganuma classic

According to my sources (Wikipedia), it appears that today is Hideki Naganuma's birthday! Be sure to wish him a happy birthday on Twitter (although, considering the time difference, maybe his birthday was yesterday now?)!

To celebrate, I have decided to spend the next week counting down my favorite Hideki Naganuma tracks, one per day. Stick with me for the next week for some of the all time best Sega music ever produced!

About this track, I've never actually had the chance to play Ollie King, but discovered the music after hunting down any music of Hideki Naganuma's I could find after becoming infatuated with the Jet Set Radio series. This is my favorite rendition of the Jet Set Radio Future opening track Concept of Love. 

Come back tomorrow to find out the next song on the countdown!

Also share some of your favorite Naganuma tracks and memories from Jet Set Radio and Ollie King in the comments!

Hideki konno week ends with a futuristic metal F-Zero medley

Get pumped with music from the long dormant F-Zero series

Armcannon goes to town on this epic rendition of several series themes. F-Zero and F-Zero X will always hold a special place in my heart as far as VGM is concerned. 

Konno is merely listed as 'Supervisor' for the N64 entry of this series, but hey, every hand helps, and I am always guilty of looking for excuses to play music from F-Zero and/or Armcannon.

Here is a related question, with Konno's success with Mario Kart, would you like to see him give a new F-Zero a try? Considering how Mario Kart 8 has gone, I'd gladly shell out cash for a new F-Zero with futuristic characters like Samus and Fox McCloud as DLC.

Share your thoughts and F-Zero memories with us!

Happy Birthday Hideki Konno! Celebrate with this remix of 'Vanilla Lake' from Super Mario Kart

An upbeat tribute to the Konno directed original

This track is by DJ Bouche, and is a remix of my personal favorite music from Super Mario Kart (mostly because I destroyed fools on Vanilla Lake 2), originally composed by Soyo Oka.

I certainly hope Bouche takes on the rest of the themes in the series with this vibrant style.

What are some of your favorite musical themes from the Mario Kart series? Do they correspond to your favorite tracks in the game?

Hideki Konno week begins with music from his first game, Super Mario Bros 2

Alright, technically his first game was Doki Doki Panic, but still!

Check out this 2012 Remaster of one of my favorite classic OverClocked Remix tracks from the long ago era of 2002. Back in the day when you could download every OCReMix by hand (which I did). This one is the only OCR track submitted by electronic musician DarK PurPLe. 

You can check out the original OCR track here.

Super Mario Bros 2 continues to be the black sheep of the Mario series, even with the inclusion of bob-ombs and shyguys (shout out to Black Shy Guy, my main in Mario Kart 8, also made by Konno) in the everyday life of Super Mario characters these days. 

Do you think nintendo should create a 'New Super Mario Bros. 2?' Something along the lines of the New Super Mario Bros series, but for the plant pulling fun of SMB2.