Episode 3: Underwater
by Matt Clinks
MetaVendetta Episode 3: Underwater
We have a full crowd for episode 3, all gathered round the microphones to discuss the most important-slash-annoying theme in all of video games. Underwater! It’s the basis of new concepts and mechanics thrown into a straightforward concept. That’s a tall order, and that’s why we are stoked to have special guests Scott Davis and John Pike joining the regular crew of Donovan, Gabe and myself. Scott is a financial vet of the video game industry and a musical genius from right here in the Austin area. Bringing the more metal slice of life is staple, John Pike, from the legendary Austin VGM pioneers, the Descendants of Erdrick – and currently playing the skins in The Returners and The Lords of Thunder.
So hold your breath and get ready to dive in… this is MetaVendetta episode 3: Underwater.
photo – calvin sprague
1. “Proto Seas (unused)” by Eirik Suhrke
from Ridiculous Fishing
Starting the show with a show stopper! You can’t even begin to talk about underwater video games and not bring up Ridiculous Fishing. The iphone phenomenon created by the two dudes at Vlambeer is paired perfectly with Eirik Suhrke chiptune style. He adds just enough depth and layers to modernize it a bit. My favorite part of this soundtrack, however, is that Suhrke has created two versions of each song for each world – one for when you are sitting in your boat above water and one for … that’s right…under water. Very cool. Lastly, I don’t know why this song wasn’t used.
I said we’d have another game by Amanita Design on here, and it sure didn’t take long for inspiration to smack me in the face…in the form of five botanical creatures going on a long ‘Wes Anderson-esque’ adventure through a whimsical world of plant-things. You guessed it, Botanicula. While not directly about water, the world of Botanicula is filled with all kinds of creepy crawly creatures in a very ambiguous environment. Maybe you are underwater, it’s hard to tell at points. Either way, THIS is an underwater song – for sure. It’s in the title, Submarine and it destroys! So get ready for this excellent track from the sibling duo from a small town in the Czech Republic – DVA.
Capsized is a game and soundtrack combo that is a shoe-in for this list. The game has a very straightforward premise – your ship has crashlanded on an alien planet, underwater. The 2D action-platformer has a soundtrack by Magnus Birgersson(Solar Fields) that fits the underwater theme. It keep the pace of the game up and remains ambient all the while. The real kicker of this game is the hand-drawn art style done by Jesse McGibney.
Frog Fractions is a game that revels in it’s own absurdity. A little flash game that starts off like a cheap piece of ‘edu-tainment’ software and carries the torch of off the wall and non-sequiturs to new heights. Congrats Timebeard! You made an insane game with an equally insane soundtrack to match. Here’s a few short cuts from the album…
Joel Corelitz put a lot of love into the Unfinished Swan soundtrack. I mean there are numerous Sony sponsored videos about the topic. The’ interactive music system’ integrated into the gameplay is something you really need to experience. When I originally played this game, I started at about 11pm and marathon-ed it. I couldn’t put it down. The story of Monroe chasing after a crazy swan that escaped a painting was really well done, but the atmosphere and the way it builds around you with the music is incredible. A different take on the water theme, Unfinished Swan does some very unique things with it’s first-person adventure gameplay. Without spoiling anything, there is a specific reason I put this game in the water category – it plays an integral part of the game, breathing life into the city around you.
6. ” Vessel” by Jon Hopkins
from the Vessel Soundtrack – originally from the album ‘Insides’
Another unique use of water in a game. Vessel is a physics-based puzzle-platformer developed by Strange Loop Games from Seattle(a place known for water, badump!) Sorry. Vessel builds a steampunk world around you as you take the role of a great inventor who has lost control of his water-based( fire, later) creatures, named Fluros. Your job is to fix the situation through a series of mind-bending puzzles set to a really enjoyable soundtrack. I can’t really give Jon Hopkins credit for making video game tunes here, but I thought this was an interesting situation – it seems like the developers named their game after the 2009 Jon Hopkins song title of the same name. Then after that they used Jon Hopkins material for the entire soundtrack… again this is all conjecture and could be merely coincidence – maybe I should do more digging before making statements like that. Either way, he brings an awesome steampunk vibe to the whole “water-creature-puzzle-situation.”
That’s right, the mother of all underwater tunes, Aquatic Ambience composed by David Wise. This guy is basically the crown champion of all that is Donkey Kong music. It was actually a news story that Retro nabbed him to compose the soundtrack for their upcoming Donkey Kong Country Returns sequel. A legend in the truest since, Wise has credits as far back as Marble Madness and is responsible for most of the hallmark Rare titles. In my opinion, this song is the pinnacle…I can still imagine riding around on Engaurde the Swordfish trying to collect all those bananas! Oh nostalgia.
***Intro – Outro – Background Tracks by Chemical Grove
Chemical Grove official Bandcamp
All MetaVendetta intro/outro/background music has been kindly provided by Chemical Grove. Check out their website, support them, and go to their shows!
Friends on this episode:
Huge thanks to John Pike and Scott Davis for talking indiegame music and VGM-related things with us. Make sure and check out their links:
Gabriel Sandoval – website
Donovan Gentry – website
Stay posted for the Episode 4, Space pt.1 ‘Stimulation’ – featuring Matt P, the creator of Cosmic DJ
The first Wednesday of every month…