I know this is a space for Vintage Moments and Music but I would be playing myself if I didn’t shine a light on ALL the music that has been a part of my life. Some may not know that I am indeed a Gaymer (a gay gamer duh). I’ve been playing video games ever since I can remember, my very first system that I remember playing was the Atari…NO IM NOT THAT OLD but there was one in the house that still worked. I gravitated towards video games just as strongly as I gravitated towards music and art. So growing up I had the NES, SNES, Virtua Boy, Nintendo 64, Dreamcast, Playstation, Playstation 2, Xbox, Xbox 360 Playstation 4, just to name a few. If I wasn’t outside playing with my friends I was in my room trying to beat the hardest level in a game. Well anyway most of my favorite games has the best soundtracks and musical scores. To my young ears, the music sounded so otherworldly and so ethereal. It sounded like it should be in a movie but a video game basically is a mini movie, especially now a days. Im just gonna share these Vintage Moments with y’all and maybe it’ll strike a memory or two for you guys that do play video games.
Although the first gaming system I ever played was the Atari my actually first memory of a song from a video game that stuck out to me was the Tomb Raider 2 Main Theme. Every time I listen to it now it takes me back to being a chubby little kid with glasses sitting in front of the tv with some iced tea and chicken on the side of me descending into to tombs and caves of Tomb Raider 2. A little moment of honesty, Lara Croft became one of my SHEroes! I looked up to Storm, Lara, Xena, Faith, Prue, Callisto, Catwoman and Daria. I guess little gay black boys all looked up to them because we all still adore them today! That theme from the second installment of the Tomb Raider series embodied everything Lara was about at the time. Smooth yet jaunting. Classical yet daring. Its like something you would hear roaming the jungles of Thailand or something. Also from that same game the track Classical Lara was a major stand out. The orchestral string arrangement was FIRE!!! The build up on the track made traversing the Venice waters that much intense!
Sticking with that mid 90’s time frame the next video game track that has shaped my musical taste has to be the Angel/Devil Theme from Tekken 2.
Baaaaaabaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyeeeeeehhhh! After beating Kazuya and thinking I won the entire game I remember sitting there waiting for the ending movie for the character. BUT NOPE!! The screen went black and this purple M***** F***** popped up out the ground shooting a laser out the middle of his forehead. When I tell y’all I almost ran out the dam room! But I stayed and I fought till the end, even though the first time took me about 5 tries I finally conquered the Devil. If you haven’t played Tekken 2 the final boss is Devil or Angel, depending on how far along in the game you are it could differ. The track is so ominous and dramatic. That coupled with the bare arena made the entire bout that much greater. Tekken (back in the day) was known for the jazzy/techno fussed tracks. It just so happens that my favorite Tekken Character Nina has the best theme song on the soundtrack (besides the Devil/Angel theme).
It comes in with a gunshot and crescendos into a upbeat melodic movement that inspires you beat the crap out of your opponent. Come to think of it, Nina ALWAYS had the best theme songs on any Tekken game. Don’t @ me on that….thanks!
Moving onto the next game (I feel like we may sidebar back into another Tekken game so keep that moment in mind for now). Resident Evil 2……the very first Resident Evil game Ive ever beaten thanks to cheat codes (SHOUTOUT TO TIPS AND TRICKS MAGAZINE!!). The composers of Resident Evil 2 completely did the franchise justice with its memorable tracks and soundbites. From start to finish the music drew you in and played with every emotion that you have. So much to the point that you feel like you’re actually in Raccoon City trying to escape for dear life. The Police Main Hall Theme is the one song that you will hear the majority of your play through of the game.
Back tracking through this area time and time again will have you humming the theme song waaaaaaaaay after you finally escape the station. It sticks to you like T-Virus transmission through zombie bite to the neck. To this day if I ever visit a police station best believe that theme song is playing in my head. Also let me mention the Safe Room Theme
and Ada Wong’s Theme.
No Need to gush over those you can listen here and see why they are so great for yourselves.
Im starting to see a trend with a lot of sequel games here. Its not my fault I just like the continuation of most things. Well this next game is the first in the series so hush! The main theme from the legendary Spyro game brings back a dear memory of mine.
Picture it Sicily…wait Im sorry I did that already. Ok, picture it Trenton, NJ, 199*, A young Ruu with glasses, a little afro and a lot of pudge laying belly down in front of the TV in the living room. My big sister had to be sleep at the time because she always hogged the big tv in the living room. Anyway, it was Thanksgiving Day and I remember starting Spyro for the first time ever. Now I was never the type for kiddy games. I always played games that had blood and gore and “mature situations” so this was a new style for me. It was Thanksgiving morning and I could smell the turkey in the air already. My mom was in the small kitchen cooking up a feast and it wasn’t even 11 am yet! I still had my plate of breakfast next to me, the only thing left on the plate was some turkey bacon that I ALWAYS saved for last. I wanted all the other food to have that turkey flavor…..I WAS A FAT KID WITH EXPANSIVE TASTEBUDS SHUT UP!! Anywaaaaaaayy, I would play a few levels then switch over to ABC or NBC, whichever channel had the Thanksgiving Day parade and watch in amazement. The huge living room window would be open and the family dog Sparta was always by my side. and I would be switching back and forth frot he parade to Spyro. All of that just cemented the moments in my mind. If I play Spyro today I will always flash back to that period in my life.
Moving onto the next franchise with an amazing soundtrack. The OG of Fighting Games Street Fighter 2!!! SF2 was the very very very first fighting game Ive ever played. I would imagine a lot of people my age had their first fighting game experience with Street Fighter 2…..so you know where Im going with this right? You know who had the best theme of all time right? CHUN-LI!!!
When I saw her and heard that theme music on that legendary Chinese street that has been a staple int he Street Fighter legacy for years!!! I fell in love. Im still it love with hat digitized track and all its rebuffs years later. Come to think of it I had Street Fighter 2 Turbo Tournament Edition EX Plus before I had Street Fighter 2………If you didnt catch that sarcasm please exit this post immediately.
Im kind of skipping around in years here so bare with me and hush up! Like I said Street Fighter 2 was my very first fighting game that I played BUT the very first FG that I fell in deep deep love with….was Darkstalkers. I have to add Morrigan to my list of SHEroes, although she really was more of an anit-SHEroe, Morrigan was everything I wanted to be. So seductive and smooth and horrifying yet innocent at the same dam time! Her Darkstalkers 3 theme was her best to date. Out of all….3 Darkstalker games….the third and final installment did her justice. Even though Lilith tried to take her shine, Queen Morrigan reigned supreme!
The very first RPG that I booted up in my Playstation, the very reason today why I fell in love with this franchise, the best game out of the entire series….Final Fantasy VIII (8)!! The dramatics the ENTIRE soundtrack gives. From the easy, whimsical, free flowing melodic tracks all the way down to the heavy, dramatic, hard hitting blood pressure rising tunes. The ENTIIIIIIRRRRRREEEE soundtrack sucked me into this world. When I tell you I would be walking around my neighborhood humming the Balamb Garden theme like it was the latest song out on the radio?!?! Listen Linda Listen, Im not even gonna say which track was my favorite because they all are!! Coupled with the amazing game that FF8 is, being as though at that moment in my life I felt exactly like Squall did?!?! Baby, Lemme just drop the mic and the youtube link so you all can just get into it ya dam selves!!!
I’ll leave post in a cliffhanger fashion because honestly I can go on and on and on with video game music that has stuck with me throughout the years………..*fades to black dramatically with a still screen jumping in the air in a victory pose*