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Sunday, August 7, 2016

Champions Vs Shadows #2 Round 2 Reviews: Ian Ferguson

Today's guest judge is Ian Ferguson from the Completely Unnecessary Podcast.  On the podcast Ian & Pat (Contri) discuss videogame news, retro gaming, collecting & movies.  I've been watching clips from this podcast on YouTube for awhile now, and thought Ian would be a perfect guy to have judge this gaming themed challenge.  To listen to full episodes of their podcast go to cupodcast.podbean.com or if you want to contact Ian his Twitter is @pxlsicle.  I'll embed one of their YouTube clips below in case you want to sub to the channel.  I highly recommend it.

- Spin


Kudos to everyone involved!

All three songs were fun to listen to and I found the last two to be especially catchy. With that being said I think the first track may fit the criteria the best.

Governing Dynamics - Dark Energy uses a good chunk of speech samples from a couple characters in Half-Life woven throughout a song about the general story and themes of the game itself. It has a nice composition and at no point do the these samples feel shoe-horned in, in fact they create a sense of flow to the song that really gives it a story quality of its own. It would feel right in the game, an advert, or on a completely unrelated concept album.

Heather Zink - Ms. Pac Man is incredibly catchy with it's piano and sing song lyrics. At first listen I felt the video game samples used were more or less tacked on which didn't detract from what I enjoyed about the song but would dock points based on the criteria of the competition. I kept listening to the track, however, and realized the whole thing, especially WITH the samples, had this wonderful cartoon chase-like quality to it, exactly what a song about Ms Pac Man should sound like. It is straight to the point, simple, and fun like any good old arcade game.

Ben Taggart - Ballad Of The Mushroom Kingdom (Shadow) - A wonderfully produced track in the style of a ballad with excellent and truly funny lyrics telling the other side of the story, the tale of Bowser from Super Mario Bros. as the hero of the day. It's memorable, clever, and sticks in one's brain and obvious a lot of effort was put into this track. Problematically I don't feel the samples were used to their greatest effect, mostly being used as punctuation and not particularly integral to the actual music. The use of some of the most familiar samples, bite sized ones at that, could be seen as a good idea as they are immediately recognizable but the flipside to this is that this can also cause them to barely register on the ears of certain listeners. An excellent track about a video game but perhaps not the best use of video game samples.

I think overall Dark Energy is the most cohesive use of samples, Ms Pac Man is the best overall snapshot of what an arcade game would sound like in song form, and Ballad is the best lyrically of the bunch. By the guidelines set out by the competition I believe this means my vote would have to go to Governing Dynamics - Dark Energy. It was definitely a very close call between them and Heather Zink but at the end of the day A decision had to be made.

Ian Ferguson

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