Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Midweek Music Box: Bit Trip Beat

Credit to for this slice of awesomeness.

When last we left our hero he had journeyed hither and yon in search of the nefarious ner-do-well Timbletot.  Running rapidly and narrated by Charles Martinet, Commander video dashes along to a bevy of beautiful chip tunes that are delightful, peppy and perfect slices of sound.  Yet let us yonder to years of yesterday when Commander Video was on a flight of fancy and bopping to a beat. 

Yes!  It's time to talk about the beautiful beats from none other than  Bit.Trip.Beat!  The first in the "sound-sational" series of popular, innovative rhythm games by Gaijin Games.  Alliteration aside, it's  time for a Transition to more tame talk.



While it is fun to mimic the style of the more recent adventure of Commander Video, let's go back a few years to when the first of these games was released.  I have to admit, I was a bit on the fence when I first saw the game.  It looked interesting and all, and the tunes in the trailer were catchy enough, but part of me hesitated a the the notion of downloading what looked like an over-glorified pong clone.  I'm glad I got over that hesitation because within minutes of playing the game I was hooked.  Sure it was difficult.  And yes, there's a bit of an endurance factor that comes into it.  Upwards of 15 minutes of gameplay with no breaks, and pausing could throw you off and make it so you immediately lose when coming back to game.  So what kept me coming back?  What should make you want to pick up the music or just search it out on Youtube?  EVERYTHING.

"Information Chase"

 The rhythms in this game not only offer a "bit" of the feel from the 8-bit era of games, but each tune has careful crafting and original orchestrations lacking in many modern games.  Whoops!  Alliterating a bit again, hard not to do that lately when thinking of Bit.Trip.Beat of late.  Some of the tunes start out simple and build to tune that has a note of building triumph.  Another tune starts with a darker tone, but eventually builds in a way that leads you to feel an undercurrent of determination.  Obviously the music works wonderfully for the game on screen, with the overall pattern of the tune helping you get the feel of where you are in the stage.  

I've used the soundtrack from Bit.Trip.Beat many a time when working out and writing.  Sure it's chiptunes, but there's so much emotion, so much energy and excitement from bleeps and bloops.  Yeah, other games with full orchestras can do this in a much more efficient way, but considering that Gaijin is trying to mimic an older style, but bringing it up to modern times, the fact that it can evoke so much feeling should serve as reminder that you don't need to rely on a full orchestra in order to make a player feel connected to the game or desire to hear the music from your game outside of sitting behind a controller.

The Midweek Music Box delves more into the musical side of things, but so much could be said about the gameplay, control, and just general fun that you can have with these games.  If you don't already own them, just go out and grab them for the music alone.  Or at least visit iTunes and grab the tracks available their for download.  You won't be sorry.

Now, it time to travel once more my dear reader into the land of long sentences and alliteration overload!  

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