Thursday, June 27, 2013

Let's Listen: Sega Racers

at 12:00 PM
Sega racing games are a time-honored tradition dating all the way back to 1985's Hang-On. Luckily, they've always had great tunes.

Outrun - Magical Sound Shower - Hiroshi Kawaguchi


Outrun goes for a chill feel. You might have a hard time hitting those turns and evading those cars, but the music doesn't care; instead, it captures the wind blowing through your hair. Much like the original Hang-On cabinet was innovative for giving you a bike to ride, rumor has it that Yu Suzuki wanted to install fans in Outrun cabinets to blow players' hair back. Anyway, despite its laid back, casual melody, the percussion will keep you from falling asleep with hard-hitting snares and a cowbell (I think that's a cowbell?) that adds a samba flare (based on casual YouTubings of what exactly samba is).

Virtua Racing - Time Extend 1-5 - Takenobu Mitsuyoshi

Virtua Racing loves its jingles. While it is a shame that most of your time racing is spent with nothing but engine noises, the flourishes in the above video are still well-written. It's a great feeling when one of them plays after you pass a checkpoint. I'm not sure how appropriate that sluggish first one is for a racing game, but by the third time extend jingle, things have gotten poppy and peppy. While Outrun knows it's cool and doesn't care what anyone else (or anycar else) thinks, Virtua Racing tries to fit the mold of coolness--granted, it's successful. If you want a substantial tune, try the Replay theme. It's awfully long and repeats quite a few times, but at least stick around for that killer bridge at 1:25.

Daytona USA - Let's Go Away - Takenobu Mitsuyoshi

Daytona USA's super power is that it has vocals. The songs here are full-on pop in an energetic sense typical of J-pop. Much like J-pop, the goofy, over-the-top offerings here will be an acquired taste. But who can resist a good rolling start?

Sega Rally Championship 2 - Muddy Slippin' - Hideki Naganuma, Tomonori Sawada

Sega Rally Championship 2 still has that poppy edge, but it's not afraid to get distinctive; there's lots of stops and starts courtesy of a rambunctious lead instrument. Between the lead trumpet and backing organ, the instrument choice isn't too typical, either. This one's funky in the same sense that you might say Sonic Adventure music is.

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