It’s Gurn-a Be A Hot One, Mother

Bey

Ask yourself: would you ask Beyoncé to build you a conservatory? Would you ask a nine year old to file your tax returns? Would you ask a Labrador to drive you down the shops? Well no, of course you wouldn’t. And why not? Because that lot clearly don’t know what they’re doing. By which logic, avert your eyes right now Grigadiers, because this is an article about melody written by a tone-deaf 35 year old. Its conclusions may be… flimsy.

Yes, I’m no Steve Wright in the afternoon when it comes to picking my pops. But this much I know: the music in Wii U Mario is rubbish. Tragically rubbish, in fact, because the game itself is superb – so giddyingly near-perfect, in fact, that its horrific soundtrack is not just abusive to the ears, it’s jarring to the soul. This melodically-challenged mush is basically elevator music. Or worse – because even in the urine-soaked lift in Blackpool’s Houndshill Shopping Centre you at least have the comfort that you didn’t pay £55 for the privilege. So it’s a sad failing for the company, and the franchise, that’s brought us some of the most memorable themes of the past three decades. And it got me thinking.


Some piss-stained mush, yesterday.
Modern game music is, in some ways, in a league of its own. It’s unfettered by limits of memory, or audio channels, or synthesisers – it can be anything it wants, sound any way it wants, sample any thing it wants. And while sometimes it’s still amazing, mostly it’s… easy. Modern game designers can churn out a half-baked backing track in half an hour (or pay a D-list indie band to do the same) and so they do. Meaning that, just like the next-gen itself, going big, loud, or gaudy is enough.

It wasn’t always like this.

When you look back, gaming’s musical past stands out not just because of the number of belters – the ratio of memorable tunes to garbage during the 8-bit and 16-bit eras was pretty healthy, too. And why? Because they had to try! When the tools were rudimentary, the only thing they had was their skill. It took craft – and a melody! Because sure, orchestral nonsense and EDM are great when you’re padding out level 42 of your latest blockbuster franchised gumph but, to be a classic, it needs a tune! And so begins the GRiG Campaign for Melody – our noble crusade to bring back the art of tunage and save the Millennials from a dystopian future of half-baked auditory hell. Viva la Revotunion!

And, to whet your whistle, here are some classic examples of how it was done – and a few newbies to show that some still keep the dream alive… (And yes, not for nothing does Smooth McGroove make an appearance. Because what unites the Smooth Megamix? Melody! His acapella loveliness only works with exactly these kind of gems… So sing on McGroove! You’ve earned yourself a GRiGPeter Badge!)

Super Mario Land – Muda Kingdom


Smoothness, yesterday

Of course, you know I love a bit of Muda Kingdom. Often overlooked in the face of the main Mario theme, this is a beautiful bit of 90s dreaminess. All the better with the Man McGroove at the helm…

Bravely Default – Dungeon Theme


A man scratching his nose, yesterday. (Wait, has he even got a nose?!)

Of course, RPGs are a good hunting ground for hwality tunage. They need a bit of mood and so they do put in the man hours. This puppy is actually what first made me think of this article – it’s the first bit of modern game music I’ve had stuck in my head for years. It is a slow burner – the best bit is really a riff, and you’ll find it at about 1:04! – but it’s a standout tune… And if you’re wondering why this YouTuber has called this music “Infiltrating Enemy Territory” and I’ve called it “Dungeon Theme”, well… He’s right. But he’s also a tosspot. Who calls music that unless they’re making some kind of bad euphemism about bumming? Not me! That’s who!

Super Castlevania IV – Simon’s Theme


A box posted by an unimaginative YouTuber, yesterday.

Can there be a game music chart – hell, can there be a music chart?! – that doesn’t feature Castlevania?! Stonking.

Sonic 2 – Chemical Plant Zone


A bearded controversy, earlier

Sonic has quite a few claims to this list, as does the man Smooth. Arguably his version of Green Hill Zone is his better work – while the original game version of this one actually sounds better, benefitting from the synthy edginess that even McGroove’s acapella magic can’t reach. But I like to mix it up so…

Streets of Rage 2 – Dreamer


A contradiction, yesterday

Well, never let it be said that I shy from the controversies. Because one, why is Yuzo Koshiro all the way down here at, like, fifth in this list?! I disgust myself! And two, doesn’t this piece kind of disprove the melody theory? I mean, this is really dance music with a beat and a riff isn’t it? Erm.. Well, yes, as I think we’ve covered on these very pages, Yuzo was apparently quite a fan of 90s EDM and there’s more than a little of European House sprinkled through this Mega Drive classic. But it’s still a great example of making the most of your limits – there’s what, four tracks here? They’re so intricate – and actually that mid-section is verging on a tune. So get off my freakin case man. Jeez.

Street Fighter Alpha 2 – Akuma’s Theme


Knock knock. Who’s there? Akuma. Akuma who? Akuma mutata! Hahahahahahaha…, yesterday

Well, the surprises keep on coming. Because you say classic retro tunes and Street Fighter in the same sentence and you think you know what Benny’s gonna pull, don’t ya? You think he’s gonna reach for Guile’s theme with one hand, and Smooth McGroove with the other and slap down a bit of Guile/McGroove combo action in this here retro tune compilation sandwich! But boom! He’s pulled the old Akuma switcheroo on your asses! (I actually prefer Ken’s theme anyway…) Hey, remember when Capcom did cool buh that was, y’know, finished, rather than release half made games for twice the price? Ho ho, such good times.

Anwyay, here’s Guile’s theme from Smooth McGroove. Sorry.


A lack of surprise, earlier

So there you go – a half-arsed, cobbled together list. But this is only Part 1 of The Campaign (TM)! Clearly, there are loads of beauts I’ve missed off this effort. So how’s about it GRiGadiers – what are your favourites, old and new? Put them in the comments and I might even do a follow up article! (Please do. It’ll totally save me having to think of something new to write about in March. Hurrah!)

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Consumer Oculus Rift confirmed 499 GBP

  
son of a motherless goat. The Oculus Rift will cost a staggering £499 here in the UK with current shipping time of Q2 2016!!

Fortunately four years ago I backed it on kickstarter and get this little beaut for free. Hopefully sooner than Q2 too, but for the rest of you… Well

What’s in the box

  

Posted in General | 6 Comments

GRiG at 5! Mid-Term Report!

Sometimes, even the greats have to stop and take stock.

Amidst the constant stream of parties, women, and fast cars that is the life of the average GRiGadier, it’s easy to get lost in the heady daze that success brings. But how are we really doing, five years in? Are we the shining beacon of hope to the rest of humanity that we set out to be? To find out, we’re going head to head with the class of 2011 in a straight up Battle of the Greats. Via the magic of the Transspatial Temporal Dimensional Fluxovator (which I found down the sofa while looking for the remote over Christmas), we’ve tracked down our 5-year old peers and hauled them into the GRiG Halls of Justice to determine once and for all who’s the greatest.

Ready? Fight!

Round 1!
Grigorig copy
versus
Verge copy

Well, for starters, what a bunch of rip off bastards. A website launched in 2011 with a mix of entertainment and tech news? Get your own freakin ideas you bunch of punks! So embarrassed have the Verge been since this brazen act of pilfery that they’ve been forced to become of one of the foremost modern media sites in the world just to HIDE THEIR SHAME. That’s clearly a win to us.

GRiG 1 – 0 World

Round 2!
Grigorig copy
versus
Eon
The Hyundai Eon

Providing our first real competition of 2011, The Hyundai Eon launched to massive fanfare in October (so, amazingly, it’s still a few months shy of its 5th birthday!) and quickly became the world’s FAVOURITE car / product / word EVER. Several notable car companies including Ford, General Motors, Scalextric et al all immediately closed when it was launched out of pure fear and, indeed, the GRiG did consider a hiatus to see whether its hexagonal grille, crescent shaped tail lamps and sweeping curves would simply close the internet. Thankfully, the Eon limited its domination to being king of the road and left control of the web to us. But, while we come close in a head to head given the Eon’s lack of retro gaming coverage, even we can’t match this beast’s impressive mileage at 21.1 km per litre. A win for the world!

GRiG 1 – 1 World

Round 3!
Grigorig copy
versus
ipad-both-turned
The iPad

Even though the iPad had a few advantages over the nascent GRiGorig – launching half a year earlier, having the backing of a multi-billion dollar international company, having an “i” in front of its name – it’s fair to say it’s been a comparative failure ever since. By the time of the GRiG’s arrival, Apple were already scrabbling around with a new model because most people confused the first one with a cursed mirror that stole your soul – and embarrassingly, they’ve gone on to release loads of versions while the trusty GRiG has remained almost unread… wait, I mean unchanged… since its launch. And it gets worse, as these days most people now think the iPad is a tea coaster, whereas no one ever rests a hot beverage on the GRiG. And finally, of course, the iPad doesn’t even have a keyboard whereas we’ve got, like, three. I mean, frankly, it’s been a paltry half-decade of insignificance for Apple so let’s move on.

GRiG 2 – 1 World

Round 4!
Grigorig copy
versus
organism copy
Mycoplasma mycoides JCVI-syn1.0

Just like the poetry of GRIGorig’s name, the massive popularity of Mycoplasma mycoides JCVI-syn1.0 owes much to how its name trips off the tongue. Marketing, you see. And that’s not all that the world’s first fully synthetic organism shares with your favourite retro gaming blog. Both are made on a computer. And… well, they’re the only two things. In the five years since its birth, however, Mycoplasma mycoides JCVI-syn1.0 has struggled to keep pace with the GRiG’s exponential rise, and these days most scientists acknowledge we’ve made a greater difference to the advancement of mankind. However, few people fear that we might accidentally morph into a world-destroying superbug. And that’s a real chink in our armour. Point to the world, methinks.

GRiG 2 – 2 World

Well, GRIGadiers, like every Royal Rumble, this GRiG At 5 WrestleFest has only five rounds [note to sub – check the rules of wrestling before publication. Thanks!] – so before we announce our final competitor, let’s have a quick look at some other Titans of Nature who have tussled with the GRiG in the last calendrical quintet.

Super Street Fighter IV
ss4
Launching a few months ahead of the GRiG, SSFIV is arguably the definitive version of this next-gen brawler and certainly one of the best fighters of all time. Sadly, while the GRiG has remained free to all comers, Capcom have proceeded to fleece their adoring fans for every penny just to change the colour of their clothes. Or something.

The Other Guys
tog
5 years in, and this is still the funniest thing Will Ferrell has ever said.

This KFC burger
kfc
Sadly, this KFC beauty died from its own cholesterol levels before it could take over the world. What could have been.

Sphero
sphero
When Sphero launched in 2011, it was thrillingly billed as “a robotic ball that can be controlled by your phone”. Which of course sounded shit, so its founders saved the day by explaining “it’s fabulous for dogs and cats” and pointing out “you can imagine the military applications for something like that too”. Thus proving they had absolutely no idea what to do with it, either. But, five years on, and it’s turned into BB-8 – and even George Lucas in his wildest, wettest dreams couldn’t imagine merch that cute. So well played, Sphero.

3D TV
tv
Back in 2010, some claimed 3D-tv wouldn’t take off. And they were absolutely correct. It’s terrible, and this gif of a man with a match is, genuinely, better than any 3D film I’ve ever watched. Sorry, progress, you lose.

match

Anyhoo, those also-rans were no match for the GRiG, so who’s the last contender to test our might? Are you sitting comfortably?! Then we’ll begin. Erm… or end. Oh god, I’m sorry, this has been going on a long time and I’m getting confused.

Round 5!
Grigorig copy
versus
lost copy
The Final Season of Lost

It’s been just over five years since Jack, Sawyer, Kate, and the other ones that no one can remember finally reached the end of their epic adventures and, it’s fair to say, their popularity has soared ever since. Yes, so beleaguered were fans by the time this monstrosity lurched to its hamfisted conclusion that there was wild partying when it finally ended and a sense of unity spread across the globe like never before. Since then, the eagerly anticipated follow-up, where former fans sit facing a grey wall screaming nonsense while wondering if they’re really alive or dead, has proved to be even more popular than the original and, in 2016, some have even finally got over the night-sweats and come to believe that their torment is really at an end. Joy, indeed. Sadly, all good entertainment should feature at least one episode with Teri Hatcher in it and, as we know, that’s one area where the GRiG has excelled. So, close as it was between us, the final point goes to… The GRiG!

Final Score: GRiG 3 – 2 World

And, in a meta-style twist that would make even J. J. Abrams proud, your own torment at trudging through this behemoth of an article has, also, finally ended. Hurrah! [sounds of rejoicing, mingled with gun shots and screams]

Until next decade! Adieu!

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Grig Orig at 5

Well, it’s been five long years since Grig Orig started tearing it up on the Internet. Occasionally, I have a brief flick back through the archives and relive the various moments that, since I don’t keep a diary, have almost become a commentary/reference point on what I was focussing on at the time. Or rather, what I was getting grigged off about in gaming. It’s a slow degeneration from the ‘not much hope’ of the early days, to the ‘that’s it. I’m done.’ of the modern era.

But what a ride!

I laughed! I cried! I cried again. I cried some more. And then I wondered what’s the point. But such is the way of life here at Grig Orig… and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Then of course there was the great Griggish blackout of ’12/’13, effectively sheering over a year off of our operation and putting a huge dent in the impressive feat of the aforementioned five years of service… but we won’t go into that.

And so for once, I’m not going to write a fifteen-hundred word strong article that no one will bother reading anyway. What I will leave you with on this momentous occasion however, is the following…

Huh. So that’s what happens when you try and make a video out of a blog.

So there ya blow. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned from my time at Grig Orig, it’s that I use too many commas and don’t quite, know where to, put them,. Oh, and ellipsis’s… serious… overuse.

But before I go, and coz I’m feeling merciful, there’s one last piece of housekeeping to deal with on this most epic of occasions (oh go on then)…

Grig...you're free!

Laters.

Posted in General | 6 Comments

Merry Christmas Nights Ahoy!

Well since we’re being productive on Grig…

and yes Lartens, I know I suck at this game. I could almost sense you shaking your head at every missed chip but it’s the best I could do after being no good at the game to start with and then only having 2 warm up goes after a year of not having played it. Also, lag, and any other excuse I can get my hands on.

Yeah. I’m just bad.

Anyhoo, merry Christmas!

Posted in consoles, Dibbs Ahoy, Retro, Sega, XBox 360 | 4 Comments

Meanwhile, in 1991…

Man, that felt good. On a whim, I downloaded Super Mario Land on Virtual Console last night – and that puppy is still a belter! The platform stages are perfect (the bit where you ride a rolling rock was revolutionary and is still pretty good!), the music is brilliant (as well as the obvious themes, stage 2 is SO good – in fact, I’m gonna put that below too – and of course, the happy riff in this end music above is one of the all time greats), the graphics are classic Game Boy cute and… whaddya know, I went and completed that bad boy in one sitting.

It’s not a major feat, as I remember once completing it in the car on the way to school so it’s clearly a bit of a short adventure. But it was classic how, after more than TWO DECADES, i still remembered the tricks, the secrets, and which jumps are a real bitch. Even better, though, I’d forgotten about the submarine / plane stages – SO good!

Anyway, the point of this is it got me in the mood for more completions (and classic 90s gaming). So how about on Night Trap night let’s get ourselves a classic Game Boy game each on Virtual Console (or a Game Gear or NES game, I suppose) and complete that sucker in one night. It could be the night of four completions – a true Grigging record! Some suggestions to whet your whistle – Mega Man (any of), Shinobi (Game Gear), Balloon Kid (I kinda fancy playing this one again, which is where this all came from), Sonic 1 or 2 (Game Gear obvs), 6 Golden Coins (I’ve actually never played that I don’t think…)… man, there are loads. So, you in?!

Super Mario Land, yesterday. This kid is right actually – the combination of UFO, skeleton fish, and seahorses IS a bit weird. Though I think that UFO might be meant to be a submarine. Still… It’s a bit messed up.

Posted in 3DS, bedgell, HandHeld consoles, nintendo, Retro | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Er… New NES Release Roundup!

Yes, it’s true – a brand spanking new release for the NES! This little beaut showcases 8-bit power at its grandest – and I’ll be darned if it doesn’t look all-tooting spankerific.

It’s not actually a game, but still does some marvellous things with the sound and graphics that will make you wonder why the NES isn’t still kicking it with the next gen punks. It’s a little powerhouse! I did wonder whether they’d managed to make the sound better because there was no game going on at the same time. I mean, it sounds pretty advanced compared to how I remember those tunes at the time. Impressive!

Anyhoo, watch away Grigadiers! And a very Merry Christmas to one and all! Ho Ho Groon!

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Retro vid of retro pickups starring the boys from the Grig!

Well, I said I was gonna trawl this one out… and here it is. No more babbling needed. Roll that shizzle!

Posted in consoles, Dibbs Ahoy, Games, Retro, Sega, SNES | 2 Comments

‘Kup, Hotrod, look!’

Grig mongers! Now, I ain’t intending to keep posting stuff from Dibbs of the Grig Gaming all over the show here at Grig, but this one you gotta take a butchers at – Transformers Devastation ahoy! And it looks freakin’ sweet! Get ready to run riot with Prime before a showdown with the big man himself – Devastator! Let’s get busy with the Griggy!

So there ya go. Looking pretty darn awes, no? Except for my gameplay. But I’m hoping for good things from the rest of this game coz what I played so far was pretty flippin’ good!

And so, I’ll see ya next time. Same Grig time, same Grig cha…

Ah shut up. Laters.

Posted in Comic, consoles, Dibbs Ahoy, Films, Games, General, XBox 360 | Tagged | 3 Comments

Some Sega Rally?

Grig-mongers! So Dibbs of the Grig Gaming is racing forth at full steam, throwing out content like it’s going out of fashion… which technically it is coz it’s mostly retro. Or is that now officially cool and in fashion right now? Whatever. The point is that I’ve defied my own expectations for how much effort I thought I was going to put in to this li’l endeavour and have plooped out far more videos than I thought I would. So I thought I’d throw another one up on the ol’ Grig for no reason at all. That’s a lot of thoughts! Sega Rally ahoy…

Well, I aint as good as you two Grigadiers, but I was surprised that I could actually get first after all these years after only a little bit of a warm up. And it was still a dang fine time playing such a beaut again! And I now have a catch phrase which I’ll leave you with…

‘So I’ll see you next time, same Grig time, same Grig channel.’

Yeah, I didn’t say it was a good one.

Just that I had one.

Laters.

Posted in Arcade, consoles, Dibbs Ahoy, Driving, Games, Racing, Retro, Sega | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment