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... but if anyone is, in all likelihood, my presence on Newgrounds will slowly fade away in the coming months...
So, continuing from a previous rant and, again, for my own personal indulgence, let me talk a little about the the repetition factor when considering a VG song. We, as humans, tend to be, well, indoctrinated by repetition; if we listen to a song enough times, there's a natural tendency towards liking by sure attrition.
Now, of course, this goes both ways; listen to a song too many times and only the best of the best will still seem fresh and interesting after that. But, in videogames, that normally doesn't happen, fortunately, despite the inherent repetition that tends to exist in this format, because developers know of this and try to create at least some diversity. There are some notorious exceptions, such as Castlevania: SotN and the song that plays in the inverted castle, Final Toccata.
This is a song that crosses the line; it's actually quite good, but the length of time most players will have to listen to it will, almost inevitably, make them dislike it eventually.
So, instead, let me give an example of a song that, through sheer attrition, a lot of people seem to like, Battle Theme from FFIV.
Is it a bad song? No, not really. It's catchy, it gets your blood pumping and it transmits the nature of the fight well; it's not too epic (which would dilute the songs used in boss battles), nor too 'light', and it doesn't become 'bad' after hearing too many times, so it certainly accomplishes what it sets out to do. But is it a really good song? Nope. It's excessively simple, short and, quite frankly, unimaginative, specially when you compare to later Battle Themes of other FF's.
So, again, not a bad song, but certainly not a landmark or brilliant composition.
What example can I give them, of a song that we've heard a million times that really does posses greatness, so to speak? Well, the example may seem trite, but Battle from Chrono Trigger.
We hear this song many, many times during the game, so there's a definite repetition factor going on here, but this is a much superior song to the above. Sure, it's also a bit too short, but it conveys all the positive things the previous song does, with a more interesting structure and lasting power. It's also got a few layers going into it and it's overall a better song.
So we have to be careful when considering these choices; a song might sound good if we hear it enough, but it might not be so good when we hear it the first time round.
Second time a movie I'm in makes it to the front page, I'm pretty damned happy with that: Jesus and Skyrim
And I find it hilarious that people on youtube find the video offensive...
I find it weird the fact that my voice work here on Newgrounds have achieved progressively worse scores, starting from 2.40 and now down to 0.90... despite the fact that I have believe that I've improved my skills significantly in that time period!
This either means that I'm seriously deluded about the improvement, that standards have improved even more than imagined (which I know is true, up to a point) or that the audio portal is filled with people who just like to spam zeros (which I also know is true to a point).
I'm guessing it's a combination of the latter two, but I'd love to hear someone else's opinions: am I deluding myself when I believe that
is better than
is better than
So, firstly, this rant is more for my own personal indulgence than anything else; if you're reading this, you're more than welcome to do so and leave a comment if you like, but because there is no intended audience, trolls won't, exceptionally, be tolerated.
Anyway, the issue I want to discuss is one that's been troubling me for a while now: video game music. There are plenty of top 10/20/50/100 lists of the best videogame songs out there, just google the phrase and you'll quickly face a deluge of lists, including lists with most memorable or catchy songs or most nostalgic or etc.
Yet, most of these lists seem to have little to no thought behind what should constitute a good song, much less the best songs, instead just focusing on what the author believes is the best song out there, with little to no justification on their choices.
You're absolutely right to ask what the hell I'm talking about, since these types of lists are inherently subjective things, right? But that's the thing, although they are subjective, doesn't mean that there aren't some aspects we should think about before creating such a list. That is, there are things inherent to these songs that affect our choices deeply and that we should be aware of when making them.
Some of the potential factors that I'll be dealing with are things such as the good game factor, the emotional response factor, the "catchiness" of a song, the nostalgia factor, the repetition factor and how well a song complements a game.
Allow me to focus on one single aspect to begin with, the emotional response factor: the problem of separating our experience of listening to a vg song from our experience playing that game, in particular the emotions that we had in particular songs and scenes. This is a pretty big deal and can be one of the most problematic aspects these lists have.
Let me start with a well-known song: Aerith's theme.
Make no mistake, this <is> a good song. It's very delicate, pleasant and has a nice crescendo in the middle and certainly fits the character it represents very well. As such, it's a common choice for such lists. And that is a mistake.
The problem here is that Aerith's theme is irrevocably associated with not just the character, but also a scene: Aerith's death, naturally. This is one of the most emotionally charged scenes in vg history; one that has a deep gut reaction for most gamers and that produces powerful emotions (mainly sadness).
And that's the crux of the matter: when many people hear the song, they don't stop to appreciate its merits and flaws for its own sake and, instead, they immediately make the connection and that, irrevocably, makes the song all the more powerful and moving and, well, good in their mind.
But listen to the song on its own right: again, it's a good song, but it's nothing especial. Musically it's not very complex or that interesting, the pseudo-wind instrument that plays from 1:45 to 2:00 is completely out of place and annoying and the song has little lasting power, in the sense that you wouldn't want to hear it again... unless it provokes emotions for other reasons.
So it's not such a terrific song.
Now, let me show the opposite example to this one, the track The End of Battle from Shadow of the Colossus:
This track is, in many ways, very closely related to Aerith's theme. Just like Aerith's theme, it plays out in an emotionally charged situation, the death of each Colossi in the game and is strongly associated with it. It's a slow piece, albeit with different instrumentation and atmosphere to FFVIII's song, but with a similar tone. It even has a similar length of duration.
And yet, again noting that both are good songs, The End of Battle is arguably a superior piece, quite simply because it's a more complex and interesting song, containing different motions and themes within it, despite being more minimalistic. It's definitely a song one might want to hear again, so it endures. And although it was specifically created for the purpose of making us sad and/or reflecting the tragedy of what it reflects, it accomplishes this without necessitating the emotional reflex associated with the scenes in the game itself.
So, in summary, it's quite hard to separate our emotional response from listening to song from the emotions that we had when we first heard it when playing a game, a topic I'll talk about in a more general way in the future. But we should nevertheless try to do it, for the sake of trying to figure out what makes a really good song.
... they were nice guys and I got a drawing from Edd himself.
RIP Edd, you will be missed.
It's far from perfect and certainly isn't Hayao Miyazaki's best movie, but it still is sweet, cute and awe inspiring (literally).
Go watch it, it's worth it.
Random poetry, from across time.
There is a hidden part of me,
Dug very deep into my core,
That lead me to pain and agony,
And forced me to implore,
Myself, to forget.
Be it consciously or not,
A part of me was changed,
And through the years I forgot,
And because of this, estranged,
I was of myself.
And yet fate sometimes pity keeps,
For a poor soul such as mine,
And such this week I stood and reaped,
More than I could ever pine,
When I found your game.
It touched me to my very soul,
And allowed me to remember,
That hidden part of my whole,
That from me I nearly rendered,
And had made me incomplete.
It did this with it's heart,
Larger than I could dream,
And allowed me to go and thwart,
My cynicism and the screams,
Of the pain I once had.
Its lovely art,
Its lovely truth,
Its lovely story,
Its lovely music,
Its lovely creativity,
Its lovely pureness,
Its lovely characters,
Its lovely ideal.
Its lovely hope.
And so I must extend my thanks,
To all those who touched this game,
For you have, and I must be frank,
Given back the most precious flame,
For J. B.
Jesting, I look, at the puzzles and jigsaw,
Outwardly obvious, I look again, as if Calvino,
Not obvious anymore, the false should dispel,
And I cry it does not, truth hidden like a tomb
The conclusion, I surmise, is that it is all pretension,
How else to explain, my failure in multiple strata?
And yet, I stop there, lest I lose my worth,
Not going forward, for such lies, would lead to regret,
But if the end is at first, and of course, vice-versa
Lost from my way, I can only hope for cooperation
Of the one I address, and much I'd forgo
Waiting for the answer, such is my hajJ
( ) Look for love
( ) Search in vain
( ) Hope is that
It does not die
For this truth is such
( ) Cannot lie
(or how I started loving the bomb)
Sweet smells are about, and here
That burning feeling comes
And all is forgiven, in a flash
No more evil, for 'tis undone
Live life renewed after this
Even if ere there was calm
You know that dullness is a curse, and
Knowledge can be harm
Ask carefully to Death: "Where?"
Swiftly he answers: DESPAIR, AS
HE WHO DISCOVERS TOO MUCH, OF
KNOWLEDGE FORBIDEN AS SUCH
ERE WOULD SAY
No answer I pray!
This truth I now hold
Efface from my mould!
I climb up to hell
And fall back to heaven
Betrayed by myself
Blind to the future
Trolls are welcome. Maybe.
In other news, ever notice how 1998 was <the> year for video games?
Original, embaixo a traducao:
Mais uma vez
A natureza revela toda sua sabedoria
Nature reveals all its wisdom
Fomos buscas inspiracao
We seek our inspiration
Num dos animais mais majestosos que Deus foi capaz de criar
In one of the most majestic animals that God has created
Dentre todas as aves
Among all birds
A aguia eh que possui a maior longevidade
The Eagle is the one with the greatest life span
Podendo chegar ate os 70 anos
Reaching up to 70 years of age
Mas, para chegar a essa idade
But to reach this age
Na metade da sua vida
Halfway through its life
Ela tem que tomar uma seria e dificil decisao
The Eagle must take a hard and serious decision
Isso porque nessa idade
This is because at this age
As suas unhas estao muito compridas e flexiveis
Its nails have become long and flexible
Nao permitindo mais que ela agarre com facilidade,
No longer allowing it to easily grasp,
As presas das quais se alimenta
The prey on which it feeds
O seu bico, alongado e pontiagudo, se curva
Its beak, once long and sharp, bends downwards
As suas penas,
Evenlhecidas e pesadas pela a gordura do tempo
Aged and heavy by the accumulated fat of time
Dificultam o seu voo, tornando o dom natural de voar,
Hinder its flight, making its natural ability to fly,
Uma tarefa quase impossivel
A task almost impossible
Nesse momento, a aguia so tem duas alternativas
At this point, the eagle has only two alternatives
Aceitar a morte
Ou enfrentar um dolorido processo de renovacao
Or go through a painful process of renewal
Que ira durar 150 longos dias
That will last a long, 150 days
Quem vem chegando, voando para ate ajudar
Who's coming along, flying to give a hand
Dando um show, que eh mesmo de arrepiar
What a perfomance, it really tingles your spine
Pra toda encrenca e confusao
For any trouble and confusion
O seu carinho eh a solucao
Their love will always be a solution
Eh soh chamar que eles veem
Give them a call and they'll come
Eh soh chamar que eles veem
Give them a call and they'll come
Sao tao fofinhos, sao do bem
They're so cute, they're good
Nao tenha medo, pois voce pode contar
Don't be afraid 'cause you know you can count on
Com seu carinho toda vez que precisar
Their love for every time you need
5 4 3 2 1
5 4 3 2 1
Os Ursinhos carinhosos
The Care Bears
For quite some time now, I've been extremely curious to the answer to a simple question: what flash movies do the top artists of Newgrounds consider to the best of the site? Anyone can have some idea of what the users think, thanks to the portal ratings (http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/) and the most 'favorited', watched and best reviewed movies (http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/stat s), but what the artists themselves think has always been a secret.
To try to answer this question, I've organized a poll, where I asked the top 50 rated artists on Newgrounds to answer two simple questions: which 3 movies do they believe are the best movies currently on Newgrounds? And which 3 movies, if any, currently on Newgrounds most influenced them as an artist? I also asked that if, they wished, they might comment on why they choose the movie.
I sent out a PM to each of the 50 artists, in the hope that at least 20 of them would answer these questions and, as luck would have it, 20 of them did, although sadly the majority of them only answered the first question. Because of this, I did not have enough responses for the second question and I can't present meaningful results.
I've compiled the answers and I can now present to Newgrounds the results of the poll. First, a list of the best movies in order of votes, each movie followed by some of the comments the voting artists made regarding that movie. I've also compiled a list of the authors with the biggest number of votes, as an alternative criterion for the best.
1st place (5 votes)
'The YuYu is the slickest animation I've ever seen in a flash movie. The chase scene is simply incredible, and the animation of the YuYu "cloud", especially when it gets defeated is an awesome spectacle to behold.'
'I specifically like the YuYu because first, Adam Phillips is arguably the best animator on this site. But that specific one had a lot of high-speed movement and was very well in sync with the music. I personally enjoy matching the visual actions to music and I would look to that movie for a reference when I am trying to animate fast moving objects or backgrounds. Because it was done in flash, that meant I had all the tools I needed to mimic the effect.'
'Incredible special effects'
2nd place (4 votes)
'While this is literally a brand new animation, I saw his previous animation "Roller Coaster Junkie" and thoroughly enjoyed that. What he made was an excellent short story that encompassed all kinds of styles: action packed robot fighting, comedy, folklore-styled stories....It was a fantastically made animation that could appeal to all audiences, which is a crucial skill on Newgrounds.'
'It's a great example of a perfect meld of score and animation. It's a fun little tale executed with precision.'
3rd place (3 votes)
Chuck's New Tux
4th place (2 votes)
how it will end.
'Because of its use of styles and humor'
'Because I love the siblings series and this was one of the funniest and well directed episodes of his'
'... the writing. Rob can make a toon from anything! It has its flaws but it's still one of my all-time favorites.'
There she is!! Final step
'The animation is simplistic yet well made. The conclusion of the story is just perfect the way it is'
'Tankmen II really brought it all together I feel. It took everything good about the original, and upped the scale to match its potential. Taking the Newgrounds icon and making it into a series that good is one of the best things that's happened to the website.'
'because it's a combination of good writing, voice acting and artistic style'
5th place (1 vote)
Mario v.s Sonic (VGDC) - http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/
'This to me was the father of all sprite movies. The fight wasn't particularly advanced by today's standards and the humor wasn't the highest brow, but I remember seeing this and thinking "wow! He took the images from the game and made do what he wanted to do". That was just simply amazing to me. Sure you could draw the characters, but that's still imitating the game, or giving it your own spin (...) People bitch about VG parodies all the time, but sprite movies introduced people to flash who were too intimidated by the drawings demands of animation or just sucked at drawing.'
Waterlollies - http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/
'Mainly because I think Adam Philips is a brilliant animator, the artwork is beautiful and the characters and environments are so realized. It's like it really exists and we're just visiting. It's the perfect little fantasy world.'
Mastermind - http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/
'I just think the character is really great, the animation is perfect and the voice acting is top notch.'
arfenhouse teh movie too - http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/
'Because of it's humour, characters and such'
Street Fighter Collab - http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/
'The quality, the detail, the overall humor (despite the over the top grossness in some scenes) was amazingly put together by most of the best flash authors on the site'
The Real Legend 3 - http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/
'The animation quality and artwork, as well as the humor, is superb and really sticks to the original source material.'
1 - The Story of Khale - http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/
'The first epsiode of Story of Khale could be looked at as one of the best flash games that you can't play. It's almost completely side-scrolling, with a few run loops, some jumping, etc. However, it's all executed really well, and gives you a great insight to the world Leafworthy has created. The lush backgrounds and interesting vistas are really imaginative and the music that goes with it fits wonderfully.'
Metal Gear Awesome 2 - http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/
'cos of its fast, snappy pace with hilarious drawings and exaggerated animation'
Egocaptured - http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/
'cos I laugh my arse off at the voice acting and impressions every time, especially Bill Cosby at the end.. oh man'
Bitey of Brackenwood - http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/
'magic, makes you spellbound'
Fallen Angel: Teaser - http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/
'Very well produced cinematic work with tension'
Prowlies at the river - http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/
'It's his fault I ended up getting a tablet in the first place'
Burnt Face man 7 - http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/
'I didn't start watching that until about a year ago due to my dislike of David Firth's main series "Salad Fingers". Burnt Face man, however, is actually incredibly funny and well done.'
Cat Syrup - http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/
'It basically introduced me to glitchy animations on here and how interesting it can be to try to replicate glitches like that'
Till death do us part - http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/
Freak: Prelude (ep 1) - http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/
William the Demon Killer - http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/
Walk-Smash-Walk - http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/
Dad's Home - http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/
Tail Chasers - http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/
The Ultimate Showdown - http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/
silver vs blaze 1 - http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/
maze game 2 (unfinished) ** - http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/
the gathering storm - http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/
A Norse in the 9th Ward - http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/
These Pancakes Are Tiny - http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/
Cuboy Ep.3 - http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/
Bunnykill 4 - http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/
Walk in the Woods - http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/
Drag Bike Manager 2** - http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/
Pico's School - http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/
Pico's Unloaded - http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/
Voice Chat Adventures - http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/
Sloth Tv 2 - http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/
Hyakugojyuuichi - http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/
Reading Rainbow 1 - http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/
LA-ATHF Review - http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/
-Conflict- - http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/
Cuntilda Ep. 1 - http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/
** Technically, these aren't movies but games, but I decided to count these votes anyway.
1 http://andrewwilliamdickman.newgrounds .com/
1 http://tttttttttttttttttteh.newgrounds .com/
1 http://insert-name-here.newgrounds.com /
Annex: technical discussion.
First off, how do I select the top artists on Newgrounds? Using my own personal preference was obviously not a good choice, so I pretty much had only two options: using the artists with best ratings (http://www.newgrounds.com/rankings/ar tists) or the artists with the most bookmarks (http://www.newgrounds.com/rankings/bo okmarks).
In the former, as every vote can end up making a difference, there are small changes on those included on the list almost daily; the latter is much more stable, but tends to favor older authors, who aren't necessarily on Newgrounds any more. Both criterions have their advantages and disadvantages and would probably have been acceptable, so I arbitrarily choose to go with the ratings criteria, on the hope that it would lead to more votes.
Second, how many movies should I ask the artists to vote on? 1, 3, 5, 10? Ideally, more is better, but if I requested too many movies for them to vote for, that would almost certainly have discouraged some authors, especially those who wished to comment their choices, so in the end I decided just for 3. I also made any commentary optional, for the same reason.
How many responses would make for a meaningful result? A simple rule of thumb would have probably said at least 30, but I knew this wasn't realistic, as I had previously tried to conduct this poll in the past, with a measly 10 responses, so I decided that 20+ answers would have to be enough. Finally, how would I compile the votes? As I didn't request for an ordered vote (which would have been a bit too complex), this was simple to do: I just summed up the votes for each movie.
Concerning the artists' votes, I decided to exclude any musician and voice actor from the votes and only consider main artists. One movie, Street Fighter Collab has many, many authors and I was tempted to only use Stamper, the organizer, but in the end I decided on simply counting all of them, even if this did inflate the votes of some artists.
Finally, let me end by saying a big thank you to all the participating artists and to Tom for divulging these results. And a thank you to the all the great authors that put their flashes here on Newgrounds; they are what makes NG a really great site.