Author Topic: Weekly Video Game OST Discussion 1 - Pokemon Black and White  (Read 1129 times)

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Offline Lord Raven

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The way it's gonna work is I'm going to choose 8-10 pieces from a video game and talk about them.  People are free to chime in, hype up the OST, or comment on the OST; maybe bring up an alternate interpretation.  My piece is going to be dry, but my purpose is to provoke the discussion as opposed to head it.

I'm going to start with something we're all familiar with - Pokemon Black/White OST.  Black/White's OST is actually remarkable amongst Pokemon OSTs, because many of these tracks are soothing and melodic which appears to go along with the theme of harmony between people and Pokemon.

I'm going to start out light with Lacunosa Town's music.  It's quite possibly one of the most soothing themes I've heard from a Pokemon game.  Lacunosa Town represents a town that closed itself off to prevent Kyurem from taking people away to feast on them.  Lacunosa's name originates from the term "lacunosus" which is a type of cloud that represents a sort of fence, which relates quite readily back to the purpose of neutralizing Kyurem.

Driftveil City is actually a very lively piece which has a bit of a heavy side due to the strength of the bass in the background.  It's a town filled with construction workers and mining, so it seems fitting to have an upbeat theme, probably to motivate the workers.

Relic Castle is a theme I'm shocked with because it sounds a lot like a typical RPG desert theme.  This is one of those tracks that you'd listen to and you probably wouldn't trace it back to Pokemon, but it definitely gives a mystical vibe that's necessary due to the abundance of Darumaka as well as basically a tomb (where Volcarona - basically a seraphim moth - resides).

Nimbasa City is a bubbly city center type place.  Castelia City may be like New York, but this is an upbeat theme that exists in basically the entertainment capital of Unova, given it has a ferris wheel and various sporting facilities.

The Elite Four Battle theme is quite possibly one of the more dark and foreboding elite four themes.  Given that there's Ghost, Psychic, and Dark Elite Four members it's very fitting - the Marshal ruins it a little bit.  You'll also notice less than a minute and a half in that you have a refrain of the Hoenn Elite Four Battle theme which really threw a lot of us conspiracy nuts about the RS remakes in a loop.

Route 10 has some beautiful music with it - it's on the way to Victory Road after you get your 8 badges.  It definitely has a huge feel of triumph, and around here you start running into Pokemon like Rufflet and Mienfoo who evolve at a late level but have really good offensive stats to go along with them so you can basically "plug and play" into your lineup.

Opelucid City is a very interesting city because it has two different themes and appearaces depending on your version.  There's even two different gym leaders!




They're both quite different in tone and atmosphere while retaining roughly the same melody.  Obviously the white version is more acoustic given the town's more natural and classical look, whereas the black version is more electronic given the town's more technological and modern feel.  It actually outlies the contrast between the two games and it was done quite well.

(Each image has a link)

I'd like to finally highlight Route 4 and all of its different variations
Autumn which appears to have vibraphone to give a very fall-like vibe.
Winter which starts out with a light xylophone to give a bit of a crystal-y vibe associated with winter.
Spring which starts with a light flute to represent "waking up" from the winter so to speak, like spring.
Summer at last, which starts with a strong trumpet that transitions into the main theme.  It seems to give a vibe of more sunshine.

The downside is that the differences only happen when you first enter the route - but it is a very nice and subtle touch that gives the ambiance of each season.  Undella Town has a much starker contrast between the seasons in their pieces, but I didn't like that theme as much so I didn't include it :X

Enjoy!  I'll be doing a more obscure game next week.  Talk, offer critique, write poetry and your own interpretations of the music.
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Offline Kerou 犠牲

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Re: Weekly Video Game OST Discussion 1 - Pokemon Black and White
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2014, 13:41 »
From a music standpoint I really did enjoy B/W so this piece was great to read. Route 10 was definitely one of my favourites (as well as some of the music associated with N; the castle theme, his room theme; they really set the atmosphere fantastically) and as a whole I was pleasantly surprised by the music (although R?S/E is still my favourite as an overall soundtrack).

But yeah, good stuff, I'll keep checking back into this thread =]

Offline Hahex and Oshawott

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Re: Weekly Video Game OST Discussion 1 - Pokemon Black and White
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2014, 01:59 »
Man, the White version version of Opelucid sounds way better than the Black version. I just find the more electronic version much, I don't know, messier? than White. I guess that would make more sense, since the White version uses a lot more "natural" (or attempts to sound like natural instruments, instead of synths). But in principle, it's a good idea. I think one of the biggest strengths of the B/W soundtrack was the sheer variety and contrast of tracks.

Otherwise, I thought B/W had some very strong pieces in them, but at the time I didn't find them very memorable. Looking back, I suppose that was mainly because the games were new, so they hadn't a proper chance to sink in. But once again I find this soundtrack better than the ones from X/Y. XY definitely had some standout songs but I felt like there wasn't a lot of variety. Not quite a fair comparison, since 5th gen had about 4 games to really expand the world, but even then that track from Couriway Town was reused a few times IIRC. It also doesn't help that I spent the majority of the post-game almost exclusively in Lumiose City, the breeding route and that Battle Maison town, although that's more of a fault with the game as a whole rather than the soundtrack.

But to get back on topic, the Black and White soundtrack has a lot of variety which was nice. The way the music changed depending on the seasons, whether or not the player was moving, proximity to other NPCs and which NPS the player talked to was also a good call. Honestly, when it comes to dynamic soundtracks, I haven't played a lot of games that incorporated them very much. Skyrim sort of did it, Ocarina of Time did it to a larger extent but only in the big overworld area. But none are quite as subtle as the B/W soundtrack, with maybe only a few tracks fading in or out at a time.

Offline Lord Raven

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Re: Weekly Video Game OST Discussion 1 - Pokemon Black and White
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2014, 02:32 »
Fire Emblem:  Awakening had a pretty decent dynamic OST.  The map theme would fade into the battle theme when you started a battle, and then it would fade back to the map theme.  The battle theme is a more percussive and bombastic version of the map theme.  Here's an example of what I'm talking about.

Resonance of Fate also had a shift in OST when you went into Hero Mode in a battle.  Dynamic OSTs are really the coolest thing.
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Offline Spriter

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Re: Weekly Video Game OST Discussion 1 - Pokemon Black and White
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2014, 19:18 »
Well, I very much enjoyed the music in Lacunosa / Relic Castle / Route 10, as you've mentioned them.

Lacunosa is very relaxing and is pretty much a contrast to the fear of the Kyurem attacks, as far as I can see. Relic Castle is very nice in general, and Route 10 is kinda motivating, urging you to get along the road to the Elite Four. And it's significant because the theme ties in with the rival battle with Cheren too.

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Re: Weekly Video Game OST Discussion 1 - Pokemon Black and White
« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2014, 19:21 »
I really love the White Opelucid Music and style *why oh why did I buy black* darn.


I think Iccirus is an honourable mention tbf, the music there was amazing and all cosy village fete stuff I really loved it. Totally underrated.

Absolutely agree that Driftveil should be on there though, probably my favourite from the game. So catchy!

Offline Hahex and Oshawott

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Re: Weekly Video Game OST Discussion 1 - Pokemon Black and White
« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2014, 20:24 »
Fire Emblem:  Awakening had a pretty decent dynamic OST.  The map theme would fade into the battle theme when you started a battle, and then it would fade back to the map theme.  The battle theme is a more percussive and bombastic version of the map theme.  Here's an example of what I'm talking about.

Resonance of Fate also had a shift in OST when you went into Hero Mode in a battle.  Dynamic OSTs are really the coolest thing.
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Offline Dragonpika

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Re: Weekly Video Game OST Discussion 1 - Pokemon Black and White
« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2014, 22:30 »
rewriting this due to a hideous ctrl+v instead of ctrl+c just as I clicked "Preview".. tables will be flipped promptly.

This is a really cool idea for a topic! Hahaha I've heard the first few bars of Nimbasa's theme, isolated from the rest, so many times due to flying there to consult the IV Judge - I'd forgotten how the rest even sounded!

A favourite of mine from the BW soundtrack is the Abyssal Ruins theme. It's really atmospheric, it somehow manages to be slightly creepy, magical, otherworldly and watery / bubbly all at the same time. Perfect for exploring ancient underwater ruins to.

Also worthy of mention, and I'm not sure if this really counts since it's a remix but it was included on the OST, is LAST BATTLE - N^n Remix. It's an official remix that Masuda put far too much thought into.

Black and White's soundtrack really shone with its little changes based on season, version and the odd extra little musicians you could find scattered around to add to the music. The most notable example of the latter is almost certainly the wonderfully quaint and quirky Village Bridge theme. The bizarre little warbling guy never failed to amuse me. The video is a buildup, adding a new instrument with every iteration of the song and providing a screenshot of the musician; the full version starts around 1:28.

It's weird because the modern Pokémon music tends not to stand out to me as much as the retro stuff, probably because 8-bit stuff has an inherent catchiness to it, but there really are some gems in it and honestly most of the music fits the scenario even if the tracks themselves don't especially stand out.




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Offline Lord Raven

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Re: Weekly Video Game OST Discussion 1 - Pokemon Black and White
« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2014, 23:52 »
I like the music that Kay posted and those themes are nice and suit the dynamic part of the OST (namely the Village Bridge).  Abyssal Ruins is a nice piece with just an empty yet sea-like feeling.  It progresses into something more ominous.

I've never heard that N remix before, I thought the original was dry but that's very interesting, it's definitely a lot more chaotic and it probably fits that chaotic atmosphere at that point in the game.  You'll find a lot of composers put a lot of thought into the things they compose though, right down to the bar.

Quote
It's weird because the modern Pokémon music tends not to stand out to me as much as the retro stuff, probably because 8-bit stuff has an inherent catchiness to it, but there really are some gems in it and honestly most of the music fits the scenario even if the tracks themselves don't especially stand out.
This is a very interesting point that actually should deserve some clarification.  This was only natural with the fact that technology has gotten better over the years.  The composers had to make the melodies stand out and count back in those days because there wasn't much room for a multilayered soundtrack, and all you could hear is beeps and boops.  As video game technology progressed they could put more nuanced and atmospheric pieces - this in turn makes it harder to remember what you're listening to at the moment.

It's easier to listen to these tracks and get a feel for the game though, but the melodies aren't as memorable.  I prefer that kind of music anyway, but others will look to old chiptunes and melody-based tracks and think of them as superior for that reason.



Should I start a new thread for #2?  Or should I post it here?  I want to post a new thread so this doesn't get cluttered.

(it's a more obscure game but I think you guys will appreciate the music)
« Last Edit: September 07, 2014, 23:55 by Lord Raven »
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