Welcome once again, Gameologiganders, to our weekly open thread. As always, we invite you to tell us all about your weekend gaming plans down in the comments. I’ve also got a second question for you this week: What was your favorite video game music of the year? I’ll get the conversation started with a couple of personal favorites. (It was hard to choose!)
“Too Late To Love You,” Kentucky Route Zero: Act III
With the release of The Entertainment and Act III, Kentucky Route Zero extended its tremendous run into 2014. One of Act III’s key scenes is a musical interlude that has a pair of traveling musicians transform a musty dive bar with their tragic synth-pop ballad. The song (with lyrics by Zero writer/designer Jake Elliott) is haunting on its own, but it’s paired with the game’s gentle surrealism and inventive staging to create my favorite video game scene of the year. If you haven’t played the game yet and intend to get around to it, I suggest skipping this video and letting it surprise you. It’s worth it.
The Sportsfriends variations
Sportsfriends is a suite of games united by a common goal: getting people together to bond through games. Beyond the stellar multiplayer games included, the product is bound together stylishly, with colorful minimalist menus. That same eye for cohesion informed the soundtrack as well. It’s built around a handful of variations on an undeniable, bubbly theme. When setting up on of the individual sports, sounds tied to that game’s identity are mixed in, such as sitar-like elements for BaraBariBall. During the credits, the main theme is turned into a downtempo jazz number. My favorite has to be the wild, percussive street-fair variation that plays while the game lists its Kickstarter backers.
The Nidhogg soundtrack
Mark Essen got producer and electronic musician Daedalus to provide the score for Nidhogg, his storied fencing-meets-football game. The results are spectacular, with each of the four tracks mapping to the personality of its dedicated arena. “Mines” is distinctly industrial, reflecting the level’s irritating conveyor belts. “Clouds” is more understated and ethereal than the rest. What’s more, each track mutates dynamically to fit the mood of the match. For my favorite, “Castle,” this means its breakbeats become more furious and prominent as the competition intensifies, as if each manic snare hit is mapped to the fencers’ careful skittering.