You know what staple of the 90s I miss the most? The Collect-a-thon 3D platformer. It was a genre that marked an era in gaming, no matter which system you took your allegiances, chances were that it had one of these games in their library. The people at Sony had Spyro the Dragon and of course Crash Bandicoot, while on the Nintendo side there were games like Banjo-Kazooie and Super Mario 64. Sure some of these elements have made their way into the modern action-adventure genre, but the base concept is long forgotten.
In games such as Assassin's Creed you have a plethora of items to collect all over the maps and they even try to incorporate them into the main story by giving them a back story and purpose, which in most cases I really don't care about... Seriously, I don't care that Ezio's brother needs a hundred feathers. But it's not how they implement these elements into the story, but the reward, or lack of reward in some cases.
In all honesty, I just want to go back to the 90s and simply collect items... no need to give purpose to my trip, just plaster it with quirky sounds and let me collect all the things in the world.
Track: Hat Kid's Spaceship Hub/Moonjumper's Theme (Alpha Build) | Game: A Hat in Time | Composer: Pascal Michael Stiefel.
Luckily for us, Gears for Breakfast, the game developer where our fellow TAYer and favourite UK gentleman, Habboi (AKA William T. Nicholls) works as Art Director, has the solution in A Hat in Time. A game in the same vein of those wonderful titles developed by a company formerly known as Rareware.
Not only they brought back what made the genre so special, they also managed to emulate the musical style that marked the soundtracks of those games. The song above is extracted from the hub area where you choose your destination in the alpha build of the game, it's a exquisite mix of space-y sounds and orchestra that gives this out of this world feel to the world.
But there's more, in the fifth update of the alpha build (released in March 2014), a different track plays when in the hub area, it sounded more magical and playful than the previous one, a song that feels like it came straight out of Banjo-Kazooie...
I wonder who might be the mysterious composer behind this glorious music...
Forgotten Cadences examines the less celebrated, but always unusual sounds of video game music.