Blog Archive

Friday, April 28, 2017

Two Birds with One Stone:

I finished reading Baccano volume 22, so I'm all caught up on Baccano.  However, the author decided to extend the story for yet another volume so I did not, in fact, get to reach the conclusion of the 1930's arc.  And, sadly, it doesn't appear like volume 23 has even been written yet, much less translated, so I'm now stuck at yet another cliffhanger.

Meanwhile, I also finished my video game music grand melee.  After putting all my songs through the grueling competition, I added in whoever I felt had been given a raw deal until I reached the aesthetically pleasing rounded up sum of 700 songs.

The ultimate video game music playlist consists of 700 songs:

31 from Chrono Cross
38 from Chrono Trigger
23 from Final Fantasy 1 & 2
24 from FF 10
11 from FF 10-2
3 from FF 11
19 from FF 12
1 from FF 13
9 from FF 14
16 from FF 15
12 from FF 3
33 from FF 4
35 from FF 5
46 from FF 6
45 from FF 7
37 from FF 8
35 from FF 9
1 from FF Crystal Chronicles
15 from FF Tactics Advanced
53 from FF Tactics
2 from FF Type 0
19 from Lunar
2 from Star Ocean
28 from Ogre Battle
10 from Tales of Berseria
9 from Tales of Destiny
7 from Tales of Eternia
12 from Tales of Graces
3 from Tales of Hearts
2 from Tales of Innocence
5 from Tales of Phantasia
1 from Tales of Rebirth
24 from Tales of Symphonia
5 from Tales of the Abyss
1 from Tales of the Tempest
3 from Tales of Vesperia
17 from Tales of Xillia
11 from Tales of Zestiria
33 from Xenogears
20 from Xenosaga

This is the most intently I've ever listened to music before.  I tried very hard to get it right.  It took years of collecting and curating music just to get to the point where I could hold this competition, and the fruits of all this effort, ever since my Tales Listening Project began, is this list.

Unsurprisingly, the Tales games which are in fact two games -- Destiny, Symphonia and Xillia, had more good songs than the average one-off Tales games.  Ogre Battle's total is composed of three separate games so that's also not a surprise.  Lunar is composed of two games so ditto.

What really jumps off the map when you look at this is FF 15 having more quality songs than FF 14.  That just shouldn't be possible, to ditch Uematsu and end up with an improved score.

Another astounding feat is FF Tactics, with 53 songs all on its own.  The nearest competitor is FF 6 with 46, but that's a huge gap!  FF Tactics is the best soundtrack to any video game ever made, and it's not even close.  Maybe it's just the best game ever made, period.

From FF4 to FF9 there's a generally high level of competence throughout, but a noticeable gap opens up once you reach FF 10.  Is Uematsu's skill fading at this point, or is it the introduction of voice acting which did FF's music in?

For some reason Mitsuda is much better composing original soundtracks than he is with sequels -- both Chrono Trigger and Xenogears scored well above Chrono Cross and Xenosaga.

For a lowly gameboy advance game, Tactics Advanced has an impressive number of good songs.  Maybe the very word 'tactics' in a game guarantees a great soundtrack. . .

FF 11 was dismal because A) MMO music is more about atmosphere than melody, B) Mizuta's no good.

FF 13's composer just plain sucked.

I started with 1370 songs, so this represents a 49% execution rate, which is plenty close enough to the 50% goal I started out with.  I won't stand for any nitpicking or quibbling about how 'easy' I was on these songs.

Now that I have my perfect list, it's time to settle in and start listening to it.  If I notice any of the songs underperforming, I'll find a replacement for them, and continue to refine my way to perfection.  But as a first draft, this 20 star video game music playlist is worth its weight in bitcoins.

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