I'm gonna be up-front and honest here: This week's article is completely self-indulgent.
I'm a sucker for a good song made on inferior hardware. So, naturally, old video game songs are quite high on my list of things I like. And, personally, the songs that were made and played on the old computer system, the Commodore 64, are extremely technically impressive alongside being great songs in their own rights.
Keeping in mind that I'm musically illiterate, let's take a look at'em!
Honourable Mention #1: The VVVVVV Soundtrack
(Click the picture to listen to the album!)
The one and only reason this entire soundtrack doesn't top my list is because it wasn't made on actual Commodore 64 hardware. Whether or not the songs actually COULD play on a real Commodore 64, I'm not sure, as there's some brief voice samples in some of the songs. But whether they could have played on it, it's obvious that it was very inspired by the sound the Commodore 64 could make.
And, unlike the rest of the songs on this list, you can actually buy the album from the original composer, Magnus Pålsson aka Souleye! Check him out!
Honourable Mention #2: Rob Hubbard - Monty On The Run
(Click the picture to listen to the song!)
Everyone and their dog loves this song, and I gotta admit, it's for good reason. It's a damn fine chase song, and whenever I need to run anywhere in a hurry, I listen to this song. Somehow, it manages to power me throughout the entire length of the song running at full power. (after which I promptly collapse as soon as I arrive, but that's beyond the point)
5. Rob Hubbard - Commando
I will admit that this song is a bit.... Abrasive. It uses sounds that could be unpleasant to listen to. But goddamnit, it's too damn catchy for me to mind that!
4. Chris Hülsbeck - Turrican II Intro Song
I've listened to this one for hours on end when working on stuff. It's pretty easy to listen to, having none of the abrasive sounds of Commando, and keeps a good beat all throughout.
3. Rob Hubbard - One Man and His Droid
Anything Rob Hubbard made for this machine came out as gold, I swear.
No exception here in this piece.
2. Jeroen Tel - Supremacy
Or, as it was released in North America, Overlord.
Somehow, this song encompasses what a Strategy game is all about. Somehow, it conveys feelings of absolute power, loyalty, and a grand campaign that must be completed. I got these feelings from the song before I even knew the song was for a Strategy game!
If that isn't powerful music, I don't know what is.
1. Rob Hubbard - Nemesis the Warlock
I had a detailed opinion of this song, but then I saw a youtube comment.
vapourmile said: "I admire how this composer would create musical narratives evocative of the games narrative. This piece combines powerfulness, relentlessness and sadness."
And that sums it up better than I ever could.
This song alone would convince me to buy Nemesis the Warlock comics. (as soon as I find any) Over the years that I've been listening to Commodore 64 songs, I keep coming back to this song. Time and time again, I think "OH MAN THIS SONG I JUST FOUND IS GREAT TOTALLY MY FAVOURITE", but after a while, my fervor for that individual song fades, and Nemesis the Warlock keeps climbing back up to the top in my mind.
So even though my head is telling me "OH MAN SUPREMACY IS AN AMAZING SONG HOLY CRAP", there's still that little voice in my head telling me that Nemesis the Warlock is my favourite.
So I'm inclined to respect that voice.
So in conclusion; Of the 8-bit computer systems out there, including the Famicon/NES and Master System (on top of plenty of other 8-bit machines that are out there), I would have to say, musically, the Commodore 64 is my favourite of them. Despite owning a C64, I lack the proper cords to use it, and thus have never properly used a Commodore 64. (emulators don't count, personally)
And so, I have to rely on the internet to inform me of why this was a great machine. With the advent of youtube, I can educate myself on old songs for days and days and days!
I understand that this isn't indicative of the proper experience of owning and using a Commodore 64, but I'll take what I can get, and then talk about it.