When was the Golden Age of Film?

Filmaking

Written by K Dog:

Saying when exactly the Golden Age of film started is a very strong statement. The Golden Age of Film, to me, is the time when films were at their peak and since there are so many brilliant films made in the past 100 years, saying when films were at their peak is no simple or easy task. Films have really come a long way and, me being a huge film buff, I wanted to talk about my theory on when I think the Golden age of Film started. Now I am sure almost everyone would assume that I am going to say “Oh the 1920’s or maybe the 1930’s or 1940’s was the Golden Age of Film”. I am sure you were expecting me to give you “maybe a big long lecture on the silent era and Charlie Chaplin  in the 1920’s and talk about the timeless classics like Wizard of Oz, Gone with the Wind, Casablanca or the highly praised Citizen Kane of the 1930’s or 1940’s”. Now, while I do love all of these films and I have a great appreciation for the oldie but goodies, I have to say all of these time periods are all not the golden age of film even though a lot people say that they are. Most people assume that the Golden Age of Film started a very long time ago; Maybe a time when films were at its most revolutionary stage where color was introduced or maybe certain film techniques were first utilized. I really disagree with the notion that the golden era started in these early stages of Hollywood because I don’t think this was when films were at their peak.  I think the Golden Age started not so long ago. I think the golden age of Film has to be in the 1970’s.

Now I know what your thinking: The 1970’s…..really?  When most people think of the 1970’s they think of Gas Shortages, disco dancing, Watergate, and a time when city’s all over the United States were in decline. But to me, when I think of the 1970’s, I think about a time when films were at their peak and a time period were movies were at their most creative and complex level. I have come to the conclusion that there would have been no better time to watch films than in the 1970’s. The 1970’s is a decade filled with most of my favorite films of all time and even though I was not born in that time period, I sure wish I was so that I could have seen the films for real in a movie theater when they first came out.

Difference between 1970’s movies and today’s movies:

The 1970’s was a time where things were changing and there really was no such thing as a standard or a formula for films to follow. Nowadays, most films follow a basic formula like a simple three act plot structure and action movies usually follow the same formula of having a bunch of explosions, CGI effects, and action with a simple story Now maybe these types movies today are simple entertainment, they really don’t have good plots, engaging characters or much creativity (No offense). Now of course, there are some exceptions to the movies that come out today but it still doesn’t change the fact that just about every movie that comes out today usually has to deal with action, explosions, or just a cheap remake to make money. The 1970’s was not like this at all and here’s why.

You see, the 1970’s, to me, was an adventurous decade for film making. The 1970’s was a time with a lack of censorship in films and a decline in the studio system with many economic changes and changes in demographics with movie going audiences. This allowed films in the 1970’s to be more creative and take chances which often resulted in the making of movie classics that still hold up even today. Movies in the 1970’s embraced a new approach to story telling the film industry in the past hasn’t really seen before. Movies in the 1970’s were very unique creating self-consciously gritty, character-driven explorations of moral and narrative ambiguity. You see this is why the 1970’s is my favorite decade of film making and the era I consider the golden era for films. the 1970’s was a time where movies dealt with deep and touching subjects. They all had brilliant complex stories and awesome performances with themes that not many films in the past really covered. The 1970’s was a dark time for many people and the movies reflected that time. The 1970’s introduced some dark films  that were basically satires on many issues concerning human nature. It was a creative time period for movie makers and movie goers.

Setting the Standard for movie genres:

The 1970’s set the standard for almost every single movie genre of all time. Just think about it, there are so many good films in the 1970’s that it is just so hard to count and each one holds amazingly well today. Something that can’t be said for all of the movies in the 1930’s and 1940’s. Here are some of the movies that best illustrate each film genre that I can think of. I think these movies represent the best of each film genre.

Fun Movies in the 1970’s:

People always assume that the 1970’s had some of the darkest and most gritty movies of all time. While this is true in some cases, the 1970’s also introduced many lighthearted and fun movies. This is a case of The 70’s versatility to have gritty and dark movies but plenty of comedies and fun movies as well .

Animal House

(A movie with low brow humor but energetic all the way through. Animal House is one of the most famous film comedies ever made and it is a movie that definitely appeals to the younger crowd.)

Saturday Night Fever

(A film that made John Travolta a star. Saturday Night Fever is a very fun film that embodied the 1970’s disco age and a movie that actually helped popularize it at the same time.)

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

(One of the most quotable movies of all time. Monty Python and the Holy Grail is one of my favorite comedies for its laugh out loud scenarios and wonderful comedic performances. Really, this movie doesn’t take itself seriously and that’s why I like it. )

Comedy movi

(My favorite Steve Martin movie and a movie that has my favorite stage actress of all time in it, Bernadette Peters. This movie is very very funny. Go see it if you haven’t already.)

Epic Gangster Movies:  

The Godfather

The Godfather part 2

(I am being honest when I say that I don’t absolutely adore these movies like a lot people do because I feel these movies can be a little slow at times. However, these movies are still some of my favorite movies of all time because of their brilliant performances and their epic story lines. The Godfather is known sometimes as the greatest film ever made and The Godfather Part 2 is known as the greatest sequel ever made. Because of those statements, these movies have to be good. Don’t take my word for it, go on and watch these movies if you have not already.)

The Musical Films:

The 1970’s had one of my favorite movie musicals, Cabaret. It also introduced one of the most cult classic movies of all time, Rocky Horror Picture Show. Other movie musicals like Fiddler on the Roof and Jesus Christ Super Star are also classics as well.

Cabaret

(Cabaret beat out The Godfather for the best director academy award and To be honest, I actually agree with the academy on this decision. Cabaret has my favorite uses of direction and atmosphere in a musical. The moody and dark, gritty atmosphere of the whole movie really makes it scary and unique and the condensed set and feel makes it really feel like you are watching a cabaret. The score is great and the subject matter is quite frightening but also very entertaining in a guilty humor sort of way. Joel Grey’s performance of the Emcee is one of the best musical performances and one of my all time favorites.)

Rocky Horror Picture Show

(Possibly the movie that defines the term cult status. There is a reason this movie is performed live on stage and in many movie theaters around the world: It is just so much fun.)

Jesus Christ Super Star

(A movie with a lot of good music.)

Fiddler on the Roof

(While not one of my favorite musicals, this is still a classic and it has awesome music in it.)

War Drama:

How can war be so thrilling yet so terrifying. The 1970’s introduced some of the most terrifying war films of all time with most of them dealing with harsh truths about war. These movies probably influenced so many other great war movies in the future.

Apocalypse Now

(Not really a war movie but a movie based on Joseph Conrad’s classic book, Heart of Darkness. This movie is possibly my favorite war movie  (if you can call it that) and it is  my favorite Francis Ford Coppola movie. This movie also introduced me to Martin Sheen and told about the horrible things war can do to people mentally. This movie could have influenced Kubrick’s movie, Fullmetal Jacket. Both movies take place in the Vietnam War and both deal with the horrible things war can do to people mentally.)

The Deer Hunter

Patton

(A movie I really like because of George C. Scott’s performance. George C. Scott is one of my favorite actors of all time. This movie and Dr Strangelove probably have my favorite performances of him.

Action Thrillers:

The French Connection and Dirty Harry really come to mind. Who can forget the French Connection and who can forget Clint Eastwood’s performance as Harry Callaghan.

The French Connection

Dirty Harry

Film Noir or Neo Noir

China Town

(This movie has one of my favorite screenplays and endings in one of Hollywood’s bleakest and best scenes.)

Horror Movies and Sci Films:

The 1970’s didn’t have shortages of sci-fi or horror films. the 1970’s invented the slasher genre with movies such as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Halloween. These movies are very good even though I am not a big fan of Horror movies. I still remember the dreadful time when I was watching Texas Chainsaw Massacre while I was finishing up studying for finals one night. I couldn’t sleep that night and that chase scene in that movie still gives me chills today.

The 1970’s definitely doesn’t have a shortage of sci-fi films and most of the sci-fi films were very dark and had horror elements.  Alien had a vision where alien life in our galaxy is deadly and aggressive and the movie had a heavy dark condensed atmosphere. The movie had pessimistic sci-fi views that could have possibly influenced my favorite sci film Blade Runner. The two movies were made by Ridley Scott and some of the dark atmosphere in Alien could be seen in Blade Runner.

Alien

(One of the few horror movies that I really like, Alien is one of Ridley Scott’s greatest movies. Being a horror that had so many sci fi elements. The atmosphere, mood, and the tension in this movie is one of a kind and the alien makes for one scary bad guy.)

Best of Kubrick and a lot of controversy:

A C O

Possibly my favorite Stanley Kubrick movie (and one of GMS’ favorite movies). A Clockwork Orange is one of the few movies that when I watch it more, I appreciate and enjoy the movie more. A Clockwork Orange was a very controversial movie when it came out and it was blamed for a lot of copy cat crimes. Yet there is no denying the uniqueness and stylistic feel this movie has. This movie is a mix of satire, sci-fi, and a whole bunch of things. It is a one of a kind movie experience.

The Beginning of David Lynch:

The 1970’s introduced David Lynch, a film director notorious for his legendary wacky and weird movies. He is one of my favorite directors of all time and his first movie was made in 1979, which was titled Eraser Head.

Eraserhead

(Eraser head is not my favorite David Lynch film (that honor goes to Mulholland Drive) but it’s still an awesome movie despite being very creepy.)

The Romantic Comedies and the Best of Woody Allen:

Truthfully, I am a huge fan of Woody Allen and all of his films. Woody Allen always created very funny movies that are filled with many one liners, nerdy humor, and relating story lines and while there are many films he made, my favorite out of all his movies has to be Annie Hall. Annie Hall is a brilliant movie that takes a funny yet honest look at human romantic relationships. It is a movie filled with so many one liners and a touching romantic story between Alvy and Annie played brilliantly by Woody Allen and Diane Keaton. This is a movie that really defines romantic comedies for me. This movie never fails to make me laugh and cry on the inside.

Annie Hall

(This movie that beat out Star Wars for Best Picture.)

Manhattan

(Another terrific Woody Allen film in the 1970’s.)

 

Dark and Gritty movies:

Films in the 1970’s began to also reflect the disenfranchisement brought by the excesses of the past twenty years.

Taxi Driver

(The movie Taxi Driver had a really unsettling look at alienation and city life. It was a very dark movie but it is possibly my favorite Martin Scorsese film. Travis is one of the greatest anti heroes of all time and Robert De Niro plays him brilliantly well. Bernard Herrmann’s score in this movie is also one of my favorite film soundtracks.)

225px-Networkmovie

(A film portraying the greed and narcissism that is present in American society and Television media.)

All the President's Man

(Dealt with the impeachment of Richard Nixon.)

Rocky:

I sometimes consider this movie to be my favorite movie of all time. It’s washed down Philadelphia setting, its touching, timeless story about a normal man trying to conquer impossible odds, its actors, its musical score its ending….oh man, do I really like this movie. While I love this movie so much and I can talk about for a long time on why I like it, I think it is interesting to mention  how I think this movie really embodies cinema in the 1970’s. Rocky’s story as well as Sylvester Stallone’s story of being an actor and film maker embodies the mindset of film making during the 1970’s. 1970’s was a time where there wasn’t anything such as blockbuster movies or standards for movie to follow. It was a time were directors and actors really had the freedom to do whatever they wanted in their movies and not get in trouble for it. Basically it was a time for people to take chances and Sylvester Stallone had one chance to make it big when he made Rocky. He wrote the script, he starred in a role that was basically him when he played Rocky. Lucky for him the movie became a success and Stallone is still making movies today.  Rocky 2 is another great movie that is an A+ sequel in my book. It may not be better than the original but it is very close to being on par with it. An interesting thing about Rocky and why it is stand out movie in the 1970’s is how it was one of the few optimistic feel good movies during the time. The 1970’s were filled with movies having pessimistic views and dark grit. Rocky was a movie that had a dark and gritty atmosphere but also a sense of optimism and a message that is universal for everyone. People may say all they want on how this movie didn’t deserve best picture over Taxi Driver but you know what, I like this movie a lot better then Taxi Driver. Taxi Driver, while a very good movie, is a little too dark and depressing and this wasn’t anything new during the time of the 1970’s. Rocky on the other hand was a movie that offered an awesome gritty and dark Philadelphia atmosphere mixed in with a feeling of plain optimism. The movie offered me nostalgia, based on my Philadelphia heritage, a brilliant score, and a great screenplay with brilliant performances.

Rocky

Rocky 2

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest:

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is another movie that I think about when discussing the awesome movies that were in the 1970s. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is a very interesting and unique film because most of the movie feels like a comedy yet the premise and the ending are all very dark and tragic. One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest tells about the abusive behavior mental institutions can really be towards people who have problems mentally. The villain Nurse Ratchet is a very disturbing and is an incredibly frustrating villain and McMurphy is a wonderful charismatic yet flawed protagonist. Everyone in the movie is brilliant creating one of my favorite ensemble casts of all time. Jack Nicholson, Brad Dourif, Louis Fletcher, Danny Devito, William Redfield, Sydney Lassick, Christopher Lloyd and everyone in the movie all do a brilliant job bringing comedy, charm, drama, and tragedy in the movie. I love every single one of these characters, except Nurse Ratchet for obvious reasons. This is a movie that says that sometimes it is okay to be a little nuts.

One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest film Final

The Invention of the Modern Blockbuster:

The 1970’s  was the start of the modern blockbuster which was introduced by Steven Spielberg’s movie Jaws in the second half of the 1970’s. While Jaws started the blockbuster movies, it wasn’t until George Lucas’ film Star Wars when the blockbusters just exploded. There was good things and bad things that came from this.

Jaws and Star Wars were two movies that basically showed movie makers how to make movies to make their money back. Even though this was a bad thing in some cases it was still a good thing because it made movies way more popular than they ever were before. Even though a lot of the blockbuster movies today are so bad, Jaws and Star Wars are probably the two best examples on what a blockbuster movie should be. These movies still hold up even today and their impact on the film industry should definitely be noticed.

Jaws

(Jaws is one of my favorite horror movies of all time and I am not even a fan of horror. Also the John Williams score is a masterpiece.)

Star Wars

(Star Wars is one of my favorite movies of all time. The special effects and the brilliantly executed cliché story line were awesome, as well as well John William’s brilliant score. I can’t imagine what it would have been like for me to see this movie in a movie theater when it first came out.)

What is the best movie in the 1970’s:

If I had to pick the greatest film from the 1970’s and the best film of all time it would have to be The Godfather. That movie is as close to flawless a movie can ever be with its direction, actors, story, and music score. Is it my favorite movie?: no (not even close). But it is a movie that I will consider the best movie ever made.

What are my favorite movies in the 1970’s:

This probably changes from time to time but my favorite right off the back would probably be either Rocky or A Clockwork Orange. Here is my top 10 right on the top of my head. This is not definitive it is just what I am feeling now.

1. Rocky

2. A Clockwork Orange

3. One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest

4. Annie Hall

5. Apocalypse Now

6. Cabaret

7. The Godfather Part 1 and Part 2

8. Star Wars

9. Jaws

10. Alien

Conclusion:

The 1970’s introduced so many quality movies of so many different movie genres that can be considered the best of the best. The 1970’s had not only quality story telling movies but it also introduced the modern blockbuster with movies such as Jaws and Star Wars. In reality there was just no decade that introduced so many brilliant movies with great stories, great performances, and interesting subject matters to deal with. The 1970’s has a lot to be proud of with its movie catalog. It also introduced so many wonderful directors like Spielberg, Lucas, Stanley Kubrick, and Martin Scorsese into the world of Hollywood as well as many famous actors and actresses. The 1970’s was a creative time where movies were unique, had heart, and dealt with very touchy subjects. Of course there are some movies nowadays that are very good but today the general rule of a movie is for it be a commercial success and make a lot of money (I am looking at you Twilight and Transformers). The 70’s was a decade when movies were made with creativity and passion first and money and commercial success second. Movies like The Godfather, Jaws, and Star Wars are all great movies but they turned out to be a commercial success. The 70’s was the best example of creative and passion movies done right and blockbusters done right and no other decade quite did this in my opinion.  So agree with me or not, this is just my personal opinion on when the Golden age of Film started. All in all, film is a very subjective thing and everyone has their different opinions and likes and dislikes.

Rocky IV: Why Its My Favorite Rocky Movie EVER

GMS here.

I had the greatest end to a summer that I could ever have: a Rocky III and Rocky IV double feature.  Due to the pressuring by K-Dog and two of my other dear friends, I have gotten into the Rocky series.  However, the one thing that intrigued me the most about the series was a clip my friend posted on Facebook:  the first few seconds of Rocky’s fight with Ivan Drago in which Drago says his famous line, “I must break you.”  That made me want to watch Rocky, and so, in anticipation of Rocky IV, I watched the first movie, which BLEW ME AWAY.  The heart in that movie is something I can barely put into words.  I then proceeded to Rocky II, which wasn’t as impressive but had an even better fight with Apollo Creed than the first one.  The third one was very enjoyable, with one of my favorite songs (Eye of the Tiger) and the monster Clubber Lang.  Finally, the moment I had been waiting for had arrived: Rocky IVWas it everything I had expected?  Yes, and more.  Do I think it is the best Rocky movie?  A good possibility, but not for sure.  Is it my favorite?  Well, if you read the title, by know you know that it is my favorite Rocky movie EVER.  Here’s why.

I tend to love movies that are products of their time.  The James Bond movies are largely products of their time.  Dr. Strangelove is a product of its time.  However, more than just about every movie I have seen, Rocky IV is a product of its time, but it’s also much more than that.  I am somewhat of a history buff, and my favorite time period of U.S. History is the Cold War (which would explain why I love James Bond and Metal Gear Solid 3).  Seriously, with the way I joke about the Soviet Union at school, people actually think I’m communist (which I’m not, by the way).  I just really am intrigued by the time period.  During that time period there was, of course, much tension between the two great superpowers: U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R., or C.C.C.P.if you speak Russian.  This sentiment crept its way into our popular culture, and many stories in books or movies featured the East vs. West conflict as its major theme.  Now, along comes Rocky IV, released in the year 1985, and bearing the same conflict of East vs. West—for most of the movie.

Is it East vs. West, or man against man?

Though the opening credits feature two boxing gloves clashing, Rocky’s with the Stars and Stripes and Drago’s with the Hammer and Sickle, an image clearly representing this decade-old conflict, this conflict fades as the movie progresses.  It clearly changes toward the end to a different theme, one expressed by a lyric from a song in the movie, Burning Heart by Survivor: “Does the crowd understand?  Is it East vs. West or Man against Man?”  Yes, the battle between Rocky Balboa and Ivan Drago changes from a battle of U.S. vs. Russia to man against man, and there are quite a few factors that play into this.

“I want you to promise me you’re not gonna stop this fight, no matter what. No matter what!” 

To understand these factors, we need to look at the three fighters in this movie: Rocky, Apollo, and Drago.  For clarity and chronology’s sake, I’ll start with Apollo Creed, and what he’s all about in this movie.  Apollo has always held fighting dear to his heart as his prime value.  Fighting is who he is, and he will never pass up an opportunity to better himself and prove to the world that he is capable of greatness.  He tells this straight out to Rocky in the first fifteen/twenty minutes of the movie, when Rocky questions whether he should go through with the exhibition fight with Drago.  This sentiment has been his feeling all along, even when he was the heavyweight champion of the world.

Creed needs to prove himself to the world once more in Rocky II

You can tell that this is his feeling in Rocky II when he wants to rematch Rocky: he wants to do so because he feels that his ability was made a fool of in the first movie, and he wants to prove himself to the world again.  This is in clear contrast with the sentiment of Clubber Lang from Rocky III, who simply wants to be the best and crush anyone in his way, a much more selfish sentiment, fueled by rage to boot.  Creed has even passed on this sentiment to Rocky when training him, and so has Adrian.

Adrian’s speech to Rocky in Rocky III brought tears to my eyes, and it’s very true what she told him.

In Rocky III, Adrian tells Rocky that he needs to fight for himself and to show the world that he is capable of greatness.  If Apollo has this great sentiment, then why did he lose to Drago, who does not have this sentiment at all?  The answer is simple: Apollo was cocky, and treated the fight more like a pageant, in his usual style (see Rocky I and II).  This pageant, though, was the most overblown.

Livin’ in America indeed.

He did not take Drago seriously, a huge mistake.  Thus, Apollo dies, leaving Rocky next on Drago’s hit list.

 “Cause I’m a fighter! That’s how I’m made, Adrian. That’s what you married. We can’t change what we are.” 

Moving on to Rocky.  Rocky has had the same set of values as Apollo in the previous movies, and his belief in these set of values has increased as a result of being under Apollo’s tutelage.  Though his success in fighting has been somewhat “rocky” over the years, as he had to deal with the attention, fame, Mickey’s death, and being part of a family, he has always pulled through in the end, because his friends have reinforced this value.  Rocky wants to prove to the world that he is capable of greatness, and his “warrior’s code” requires that he fight anyone who would challenge his title, as it would be a reaffirmation of his ability and yet another chance to remind the world of his greatness.  Though he may try to escape it by retiring, the ring will always call to him.  Mickey was right about a lot of things, but he was wrong in trying to protect Rocky from fighting Clubber Lang in Rocky III.  Though his intentions were good, and he truly cared about Rocky’s wellbeing, Rocky needed to remind the world that he is capable of greatness and is not the has-been that Lang makes him out to be.  By trying to protect him, Mickey was saving Rocky’s body but damaging his soul.  Throughout these four movies, Rocky has held this value close to heart, and this is the reason for his success.  His determination to push himself in his training led him out of his comfort zone in Mickey’s gym to Apollo’s old gym and even the snow-capped mountains of Russia.  He pushes himself to the limit, whether it be chopping down trees and adding it to a wheelbarrow so he can pull it on his hands and knees (along with Pauly), climbing the mountains of Russia, or racing Apollo Creed on the beaches of California.

Rocky trains hard to attain his goals.

When Drago kills Apollo, you immediately think that Rocky’s thoughts turn to revenge, and you’d be about half right.  It’s much more than that.  When Rocky says he doesn’t want Apollo’s life and sacrifice to be in vain, he doesn’t want to just avenge the man, but the man’s ideals as well.  The ideal that is the central ideal of the entire series: that a man can rise from nothing and prove to the world that he can go the distance.  Drago is actively challenging that ideal, and has struck the first critical blow by killing Apollo.  Rocky must defend that ideal at any cost, even his own life.

 “It is a matter of size. Evolution. Isn’t it, gentlemen? Drago is the most perfectly trained athlete ever. This other man has not the size, the strength, the *genetics* to win. It is physically impossible for this little man to win. Drago is a look at the future!”

Finally, we move to Ivan Drago, my favorite character in the Rocky series thus far (I still haven’t seen Rocky V or Rocky Balboa).  After viewing Rocky IV and deliberating in my mind, I believe that Ivan Drago is a tragic character in a sense, as he is a puppet for the majority of the movie: a puppet of the decade old Cold War power struggle between East and West.  There is a clear contrast between Ivan Drago and the two other antagonists Rocky has faced (or former antagonist, in the case of Apollo Creed).  Apollo, as I stated earlier in my analysis, had the same values as Rocky, and instilled them deeper in him before he died.  Clubber Lang was different.  Rocky and Apollo’s sentiment is not only that they personally can achieve greatness, but that any man can rise from nothing and go the distance.  Lang’s was more selfish: he was in it to win it, and he’ll crush anyone in his way of the title.  Drago is a puppet of the Soviet Union in their efforts to win the power race against America.  He is, in essence, a lab-grown fighter.

Ivan Drago, the lab-grown boxer.

Drago trains under close supervision of Soviet scientists, using special machines to increase his performance, and he even uses steroids.  Come on, isn’t it obvious?  The way his wife so quickly denies that they are doing so should be enough, but a needle with a substance inside it is shown being prepared and injected into Drago during the Heart’s On Fire training montage.  If that’s not Drago being injected with steroids, then I can speak like Morgan Freeman.  Even if its not specifically steroids, its definitely some substance injected into his system with the intent of improving his performance.  Just watch the training montage again and you will see the difference between Rocky’s and Drago’s training regimen, and how much more genuine Rocky’s is.

Compare the two training regimens, will ya?

Drago does not have the same values as Rocky, as he is a puppet and is not concerned with furthering himself, only his country’s quest for power.  This is further emphasized when he says, “If he dies, he dies.”  Killing an opponent does not matter to him, as long as the reputation of Mother Russia is furthered.  Even if Drago did want to further himself, it would be in terms of furthering Russia as well, and it would have nothing to do with Rocky and Apollo’s values.  Need further evidence that he’s a puppet?  Look at how the party member and his wife have to speak for him throughout the movie.

In Mother Russia, you do not speak words, words speak you.

Drago utters fewer words in Rocky IV than the script for 2001: A Space Odyssey, yet his words reflect his character at the various points in the movie, and each line of dialogue is very important in understanding his character.

A battle of countries or of men?

The final fight between Rocky Balboa and Ivan Drago reflects the change in perspective of the movie from a battle of East vs. West to man vs. man.  Notice how in the beginning, Ivan Drago utters his famous line, “I must break you.”  Not I will break you, I must break you.  Saying “I will” is a way of reaffirming what you are about to do to others and yourself.  It’s a choice, and it’s more personal.  Must is a statement of requirement, showing that at the beginning of the fight, Drago is still a puppet of the Soviet Union, and must break Rocky in order to further the reputation of the motherland.

Clearly, this fight is a show put on for the whole world to prove the might of Mother Russia.

The fight begins, and as the fight goes on, and Rocky begins to push Drago and prove himself, I feel that Drago realizes the difference between him and Rocky: Rocky is fighting for himself and his ideals, not for the betterment of his country.  This is shown during a break when Drago is criticized by the party member for starting to lose his edge.  Drago grabs him by the neck, almost suffocates him, and throws him to the ground.  After this, he yells that he fights for no one else but himself.  He has realized that Rocky’s strength comes from fighting for himself, and he begins to respect Rocky for it, I feel.  He feels if he adopts this belief, he will have a greater chance of winning.  This newfound respect is solidified and proven by the last statement Drago utters, before the final round: “To the end.”  This, and Drago’s change in ideals, marks the change from a conflict of the Cold War to a battle of wills.  This is also reflected in the final few rounds, where there is little to no technique applied to the fighting by either Drago or Rocky: it’s simply “a street fight,” as the one announcer put it.

It is man vs. man at its finest.

However, Drago is too late to change his vision of fighting, as he is not only still a lab-grown fighter while Rocky has had many years of intense, real, personal experience, he also lacks that last single element to his ideals that Rocky has.  Drago is not being a model for anyone; he is only interested in believing in himself and proving to others that he is the best.  Rocky is a model for people because his ideals and values are such that he believes that any man can rise from nothing and go the distance, if they believe in themselves.  This is why Drago loses: Rocky’s intentions have been greater for the entire series, and as such he has trained with that in mind, while Drago has only trained with Mother Russia in mind.

Rocky’s somewhat cheesy but endearing victory speech.

This is further shown in the end, when Rocky gives his victory speech: “If I can change, and you can change, then we all can change.”  Rocky truly believes in himself and others, and this is why he is victorious in the end.

So, why do I love Rocky IV?  All of the Rocky movies have Rocky and Apollo’s ideal at heart: that anyone can rise from nothing and go the distance.  It’s just the fact that Rocky IV is my favorite representation of this ideal, and each person has their own idea of which Rocky movie shows this the best or is their favorite representation of the theme.  So, which Rocky movie do you think is the best?  Which is your favorite?  I would love to hear from anyone who wants to talk about this iconic series.  Until then, this has been GMS, and I don’t have the eye of the tiger, because it’s genetically impossible.

K Dog’s Top 20 Favorite Video Game Music Composers

Video game composing

GMS and I have been working on a lot of duel analysis papers and since they are taking a long time to get done, I decided to go ahead and make another list by myself. Since it is summer time and I have finished all of my shows and plays this summer, I had so much down time playing a lot of video games that I couldn’t have done in the past as well as listen to a lot of music. I guess, right now,  I am in a video game mood mixed in with a music mood and I just felt that I wanted to do a countdown that combined the two together. Yes this is going to my a countdown of my all time favorite video game music composers. As you know,  I really classify video games as an art form and video games are home to so many brilliant soundtracks that compete with some of the best songs in in movies, yeah I said it. I mean come on, the sense of you having goosebumps during final boss fight, you crying when a character dies, and moments when your just rocking your head back in forth when you are moving around in a game world are all thanks in large parts to the music written by their respective composers. This list is my appreciation  to my all time favorite video game music composers. Now be warned: This is an extremely subjective list so please don’t be frustrated if your favorite is not where you want it. I would love to ask you to say what your favorite video game composers are in the comments section because this is a topic that definitely deserves discussion. There are so many brilliant video game music composers that I just had to mention at least 20 in this list. Note: I will actually give you some music examples for anyone who is not familiar with video game composers. I might talk about these specific tracks and specific soundtracks in greater detail on a later date but for now: Let’s get started……shall we.

Koichi Sugiyama

20. Koichi Sugiiyama

Considers himself the “Big Boss of Video game music”, Koichi Sugiyama is a video game song writer suited for classical and orchestral sounding music. He is inspired by Nobuo Uematsu and he is most notorious for his musical work in the Dragon Quest series.

Notable Games: Dragon Quest Series

Some of my Favorite songs:

Overture

(This is actually GMS’ favorite video game song currently. I really like it. It competes with the Zelda theme as my favorite adventure song in a video game. I just want to go out on an epic adventure when I listen to this song.)

19. Hiroshige Tonomura

There is one song that makes me love Yoshihiro Sakaguchi’s music. This song is, of course, “The Moon Theme” from the NES game Duck Tales. There is no other song in a video game, that I know, that fully embraces the magic and awe of being on the moon while doing some fun platforming.

Notable Games: Duck Tales

Some of my Favorite Songs:
Moon Theme

 

 

Jun-Senoue-crush-40-8532794-400-301

18. Jun Senoue

The guitarist in the band Crush 40. Jun Senoue created some of my favorite Sonic game music tunes. His music usually has awesome guitar playing in it but he also can mix it up every now and then. He’s my favorite sonic music composer.

Notable Games: Sonic Adventure, Sonic Adventure 2, Shadow the Hedgehog, Sonic Heroes

Some of my Favorite Songs:

Emerald Coast

First levels in a video game are very important and the first time I heard this song I knew I had a good game ahead of me. This song captures the speed of Sonic as well as the tropical, relaxing, and dangerous setting that he is in. The way how you are being chased by killer whales and speeding through this level to get at Tails, this level accompanied by the music is good. This is the first 3d Sonic level in a video game and this song I think is the best song for a sonic level.

City Escape

Twinkle Park

Red Mountain:

Normand Combeli

17. Normand Corbeil

Normand Corbeil is one of my favorite modern day music composers. He has written music for many quantic dream games ranging from Farenheit to Heavy Rain to quantic dream’s soon to be released game, Beyond Two Souls. His work in Heavy Rain is some of most emotional music I ever listened to.  Normand Corbeil passed away just recently right after he finished the soundtrack to Beyond Two Souls. I am going to miss you and your music Normand Corbeil, You helped create some of the most emotional video game music I have ever listened to. May you rest in peace.

Notable Games: Heavy Rain, Farenheit

Some of my Favorite Songs:

Ethan Mars Main Theme

Painful Memories:

220px-Ko_Otani

16. Kow Otani

Kow Otani is actually not really classified as a video game composer since he has composed more songs for movies and anime than he has for video games. But there is no denying that he deserves so much recognition as a solid video game composer for his work in the game Shadow of the Colossus. Shadow of the Colossus is one of my favorite games of all time by being one of most atmospheric video games I have ever played. Shadow of the Colossus is a world filled with mystique, and amazing spectacles showing a world where there are innocent giants walking and flying around the Earth. It is a world that is just full of mystery  but amazing beauty and the Kow Otani’s score reflects the game world and all of the giants you come across.

Notable Games: Shadow of the Colossus

Some of my Favorite Songs:

Demise of the Ritual

(A song that really fits the ending and the final boss extremely well. I don’t want to spoil it but it is very sad as well as very epic.)

Henry Gregson Williams

15. Harry Gregson-Williams

The Metal Gear Solid series is my favorite non RPG video game franchise of all time  because of its amazing and complicated, yet always enlightening, story and its stealth gameplay accompanied by its impressive musical score by Harry Gregson-Williams. Harry Gregson-Williams, like Kow Otani, has written many soundtracks for many films but he has really proven to have a great grasp on how to write a soundtrack for a video game. Harry Gregson-Williams soundtrack is very hollywoodish in nature, probaby because of his work writing movie soundtracks, but it always never fails to bring so much intensity and drama to the Metal Gear Solid games.

Notable Games: Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3

Some of my Favorite Songs:

Metal Gear Solid 3 Main Theme

(Metal Gear Solid 3 is my favorite Metal Gear Solid game and its theme is one of my favorite video game songs ever written for its dramatic tone.)

Metal Gear Solid 2 Main Theme

(A very catchy and dramatic song that competes with Metal Gear Solid 3’s ending theme.)

Junichi_Masuda

14. Junichi Masuda

Junichi Masuda’s soundtrack in the Pokemon series is likely to cause nostalgic overload for anyone who has played fire red and water blue when they grew up. Unfortunately for me, I wasn’t a big fan of Pokemon red and blue when I was a little and I instead took a bigger fancy towards the anime than the game series. I remember playing it a little bit and I remember watching my siblings play it but I really wasn’t one that played the games to completion. Even though I wasn’t a big fan of the game I absolutely adore the music and adore the Pokemon world in general. I still cry during Pallet Town and I still get massive goosebumps during the Pokemon battle theme since it played during the anime a lot of times.

Some of my favorite songs

Pallet Town

(A song that is likely going to cause nostalgic overload to anyone who grew up with playing the first Pokemon games.  Even though I didn’t play the games much, this song still manages to get me emotional. I remember the days when life was simple and when me and my siblings didn’t have much going on except just having some fun and playing some video games every now and then. I still remember  how I always watched my older brother play this game whenever I listen to this song.)

Battle

(This song is a masterpiece. It goes down as one of the most iconic RPG battle themes of all time. This orchestral just makes the already brilliant song even more epic. The song is corny, yes, but it’s undeniably awesome.)

Yuka Tsjiyoko

13. Yuka  Tsujiyoko

Notable Games: Paper Mario and Paper Mario the Thousand Year Door

Some of my Favorite Songs:

Princess Peach’s Theme

  • (This song creates so much nostalgia for me whenever I listen it. This was my very first RPG I ever played and it is tied with the Thousand Year Door as my favorite Mario game. I loved Peach in this game more than any other game because it was the only Mario game where I fully saw the strength of Mario and Peach’s romantic relationship as well as being the Mario game that shows Peach not so helpless but a pretty smart and sneaky individual. This song is sad because Peach is kidnapped by Bowser nd knows that the Mushroom Kingdom is doing horribly because it is controlled by Bowser but it also has a hopeful feeling because Peach knows Mario is going to defeat Bowser and rescue her. The song is kind of like a lullaby to me. I can just sleep to this song.)

Sun Tower

(This is surprisingly a very dark song but undeniably catchy at the same time. The sun is basically not able to go into the sky because Huff n Puff and his henchman have taken over the skies so the sun just stays at the sun tower. I just want to help the poor sun whenever I hear this song. It is a song saying that an absolute powerful being like the sun is in need for major help.)

(Do I really need to explain why I love this theme so very much? This is my favorite ending screen song ever and it is one of the most emotional video game songs I ever listened to. I just can’t describe all of the feelings I have whenever I hear this song. It is a mixture of nostalgia, happiness, sadness,and it just gives me flashes of my wonderful childhood memories. I can just picture myself an old man and looking back at my six year old self when I hear this theme. After beating Paper Mario,this is a song that gives me the impression that I have just completed a great adventure that I will always remember warmly. There is something about this song that gives me a mystical feeling of joy I can’t quite explain.)

Macho Grubba

(There is something about this theme that makes me picture it also being used in a Metroid game. I just love the techno vibe this music has as well as the creepy and eerie atmosphere this song creates. Considering what happends in the game, this song really suits the boss incredibly well. Not to mention it’s catchy.)

 Robin Beanland Composer

12. Robin Beanland

Robin Beanland is a great music composer by creating a solid soundtrack to one of my favorite games of all time on the n64, Conker’s Bad Fur Day. The score is filled with wacky songs to just plain ridiculous songs but the game is definitely versatile with many different song types. The Great Mighty Poo song titled Sloprano is an absolute classic and it is probably going down in history as the funniest boss theme ever created. My colleague GMS named himself after that boss and it is all thanks to its song and its composer Robin Beanland.

Notable Games: Conker’s Bad Fur Day

Some of my Favorite songs:

Rock Solid

( This is was a very tough part in the game for me when it came to pushing the rock dudes but the song is a very good nightclub song with a rock solid beat. )

Ole

( “It’s like the screaming shitz it is!”. I laughed so much with the cows as well as the black bull during this part of the game. Here you have to do some bull fighting with Conker basically being the red cape, with his red fur, to allure a big black bull to force cows to go number 2. This song gives me the great sensation of bullfighting as well as bull riding while also relating to the comedy that is going on in the scene.)

Credits theme

(Conker’s Bad Fur Day is known as one of the funniest games of all time and debatably Rareware’s greatest game on the N64. It is a game that is known for its lightheartedness and absolute hilarious humor but the ending credits theme’s paints a different picture on the game that I never ever saw coming. he ending credits theme never fails to make me want to cry. This theme portrays the ending’s polarizing and sad feeling perfectly showing that what the main character did throughout the entire game meant nothing and now he is left in the gutters to die alone for all of the bad stuff he has done in the game. Conker’s Bad Fur Day is a pretty goofy but the ending really portrays a dark ending that goes to some places we never expected it would go. It is actually one of my favorite video game endings of all time.)

 

 Jack Wall Clint Mansell 2 sam hulick

11. Jack Wall/ Clint Mansell/ Sam Hullick

Notable Games: Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2, Mass Effect 3

A three way tie between the three main music composers in the Mass Effect series. All of these 3 music composers deserve so much recognition for their amazing music contributions to the Mass Effect series.

Favorite Songs:

Illusive Suite

(The Illusive man is an awesome character, Martin Sheen is an awesome voice actor, and putting the two together you get quite the bad ass. The Illusive Man is one of my favorite characters in the whole Mass Effect series because he was the basically the definitive renegade character in the entire series who clearly loved humanity but did some pretty grumesome and questionable things to help humanity succeed in the galaxy. This song really demonstrates the complete mystery and renegade nature of the Illusive Man. When I first saw the Illusive man smoking his cigar right in front of a blue and red star with this theme in the background, I knew he was going to be an awesome character.)

Uncharted Worlds

(A theme that feels strange and scary yet so peaceful giving a feeling of mystery. This is a song that I think says so much about our milky way galaxy.)

Vigil
(“Vigil” is one of the greatest songs ever made for science fiction in my opinion. That is a pretty big statement but Vigil is a song that just speaks on so many levels about the beauty, mystique, vastness, and evils in our universe. This is a song I can just listen to whenever I am looking on a clear night sky with stars  floating all around me.  The peace of mind and introspective solemn feelings this song gives me is astounding. People can get angry at Bioware all they want about Mass Effect 3’s ending but you know what, I honestly don’t care. The Mass Effect series is easily one of my favorite game series of all time.)

An End Once and For all
(The song “An End Once and For all” is probably the biggest reason why I actually really like Mass Effect 3’s ending. Maybe I will discuss my feelings on Mass Effect 3’s ending on a later date, but I am getting off topic. The song: “An End Once for All” is wonderfully written musical piece by Clint Masnell that manages to emit so much emotions into me. It manages to be sad, melancholy, yet an achieving melody saying that you defeated the reapers once and for all in Mass Effect 3 despite all of the sacrifices that had to be done to defeat them. This song is basically the song that makes me remember just how amazing the Mass Effect series was. I remember  all of the fun times I had with Garrus, the romantic times with Tali, the fun times with Mordin, Wrex and Grunt, and all of the heart wrenching scenes that were in the Mass Effect series as well as the amazing universe Bioware has created.)
Leaving Earth


(It is music like this that makes Mass Effect 3  one of the most sad and emotional video games I have ever played. Mass Effect 3 is clearly a game about sacrifice and the inevitability of death and things that are beyond our control. Mass Effect 3 was literally the first game in the series that made me truly question if Shepard would be able to defeat the reapers and because of this, it makes for the most polarizing Mass Effect game in the series.  Mass Effect 1 and 2 gave a pretty good feeling that Shepard and the galaxy were going to pull through and stop the Reapers. I definitely did not get that feeling in Mass Effect 3. “Leaving Earth” plays right when Shepard is about to leave Earth to get help from other species to go help Earth defend themselves against the reapers. This song sets the tone for Mass Effect 3 brilliantly showing that the Reapers are finally here and it is not going to be a pretty war. )

Kenji Yamamoto 2

10. Kenji Yamamoto

Notable Games: Super Metroid, Metroid Prime, Metroid Prime 2, Metroid Prime 3, Mike Tyson’s Punchout.
 Some of my Favorite Songs:

Crashed Ship Frigate Orpheon

(This is one of the most atmospheric in beautiful songs in Metroid Prime. I hate water levels in games but this water level in the Crashed Ship Frigate Orpheon was an exception. I love the piano in this song and the techno sounds used in this track. It creates a wonderful atmosphere making the Frigate a creepy place but also a beautiful place filled with marvel.)

Tallon Overworld Theme

(Probably my favorite over world theme in Metroid Prime. This is actually one of the few instances where a metroid song manages to be catchy as well as moody since most of the Metroid songs are atmospheric songs.)

Samus vs Thardus

(This theme is very haunting with the piano keys playing over and over and the techno sounds coming out really loud during the song. This boss battle is one my favorite bosses in Metroid Prime and the boss theme is one my favorite songs in the game. I am surprised this song isn’t brought up a lot during Metroid music talk.)

Yoko Shimomoro

9. Yoko Shimomuro

Notable Games: Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2, Mario and Luigi Super Star Saga, Super Mario RPG Legend of The Seven Stars, Mario and Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story

Some of my Favorite Songs:

Dearly Beloved:

Roxas

(This song is a very very sad song. Spolier alert: This song plays right after Roxas’ realizes he is not a real person but a nobody created by a person named Sora. He also realizes that throughout all of his life he never really had any friends at all and that they were just fake friends constructed only by DIZ to make him think that he was living a normal life.This song is sad and melancholic and it always brings a tear in my eye knowing what Roxas is going through.)

Nimbus Land
(This is probably my favorite song in Mario RPG. What can I say, this song is just so happy and joyful giving me a great sensation of being above the clouds and running around to help Mallow find his parents.)

 

And My Name’s Booster

(The reason I love this track so much is that, not only is this my favorite part of Mario RPG, but because this track reminds me so much of Quentin Tarantino and Pulp Fiction. Anyone who has watched Pulp Fiction knows what I am talking about. This song sounds like it got a lot inspiration from the Revels song Comanche, and you know about that disturbing scene in Pulp Fiction (I am assuming). Booster’s Theme really brings so much character to Booster relating to his pimp like behavior for kidnapping Princess Peach.)


Jun Ishikawa

8. Jun Ishikawa

Notable Games: Kirby’s Dreamland 3, Kirby 64

There are many composers in the Kirby series that all make brilliant soundtracks. But my favorite has to be Jun Ishikawa out of all of them because of his soundtracks to Kirby’s Dreamland 3 and Kirby 64 The Crystal Stars. Ishikawa’s music is very pleasant to listen to by giving me the feeling of just admiring nature. Ishikawa’s music is pleasant but it can also be very dark and epic when it needs to be. Songs like Zero Two and Hyper Zone are some of the darkest video game boss themes ever.

Some of my Favorite Songs:

Quiet Forest

Here is a song that I can listen to when I walk outside in autumn with leaves falling from the trees all around me. This song is my favorite Kirby level theme because of it peaceful and melancholic feel.

Zero Two

(This competes with “Battle for Everyone’s Souls” as my favorite video game final boss theme. This theme is incredibly dark for a Kirby game signifying the sadness and pain of Zero 2. Zero 2 is someone that isn’t able to feel any good feelings as love and kindness so he tries to change the entire universe to feel the exact way he does. He isn’t bad by choice, it is just the only feeling he can feel.)

david wise

7. David Wise

Notable Games: Donkey Kong Country 1 and 2, 3 (assisting), Star Fox Adventures

David Wise is hands down the composer that succeeded in creating the most catchy video game music tracks I have ever heard. David’s music from Donkey Kong Country 1,2,3, are extremely catchy with their brilliant percussions and jungle sounding instruments that can make anyone bobble their head to the music. My favorite David Wise soundtracks are usually found in the Donkey Kong Country game but it is worth noting that David Wise also did music for one of my favorite games on the Game cube, Star Fox Adventures (An underrated classic in my book).

 

Some of my Favorite Songs:

Sticker Brush Symphony

(Oh Yeah, this song is very very soothing and relaxing. But MAN IS THE LEVEL SO HARD! Sticker Brush Symphony is a very catchy and beautiful track representing you manuevering through a pretty garden filled with deadly thorns and killer wasps. I can just remember the frustration and fun I had when playing Donkey Kong Country 2 when I listen to this track.)
Donkey Kong Country Title Theme
(A song that is bridging between the old and the new. The song says goodbye to the old Donkey Kong from the arcade and to the new and improved Donkey Kong on the Super Nintendo. It is very catchy and a brilliant rock out loud track.)

Forest Interlude

(David Wise, you create such awesome music that is catchy as well as atmospheric. Forest Interlude is basically a song representing a magical kind of forest filled with ghost, many harsh winds, and plenty of enemies to stomp on.)

Snakey Chantey

(This is a song you can jam to. In some ways I like this song better than Gangplank Galleon, oh yeah I said it.)

Aquatic Ambience

A relaxing theme that pushed the snes sound capabilities to the max. Aquatic Ambience is one of David Wise’s personal favorite songs he ever composed. This song clearly represents the feeling of being underwater in the jungle seeing all of the wild life and stuff that live down there.

Hot Head Hop

(A very catchy theme and a theme that definitely makes me feel like I am in hot place. This is one of my brothers favorite video game songs and I can definitely see why. It is very catchy.)

Dark Ice Mines

I love Star Fox Adventures even though it is a game that doesn’t feel like a star fox game. This was one of my favorite parts of the game. Entering Dark Ice Mines and seeing the lava, the mammoths being used as slaves, and hearing Tricky’s crying for help echo in the distance while hearing this music track was absolutely epic.

 

Grant Kirkhope 2

6. Grant Kirkhope

Grant Kirkhope’s music is definitely one of the major staples of my video game playing childhood. Grant Kirkhope wrote most of the music during Rareware’s golden age of making excellent games on the N64 that included Banjo Kazooie, Banjo Tooie, and Conker’s Bad Fur Day. His soundtracks are usually very whimsical and topsy turvyish because of his many uses of  trombones and horns in his musical scores. Today it seems Grant Kirkhope has proven that  can be a versatile composer when he creating orchestral sounding music for a new game called Amalur: Reckoning. His music is very atmospheric fitting all of the game worlds that are in his games as well as very intense because of his boss themes.

Notable Games: Banjo Kazooie, Banjo Tooie, Donkey Kong 64, Viva Pinata,

Favorite Songs:

Spiral Mountain

(This song gives me so much nostalgia. Banjo Kazooie is one of my favorite video games of all time. This song just makes me so happy and aighhhhh, I just have so much nostalgia right now.)

Grunty’s Lair

(A song that was inspired by the song “Teddy Bear’s Picnic”, Grunty’s Lair manages to be one of my favorite over world themes on the N64. The fact that you are in a witches lair while trying to rescue your sister from an evil witch is scary enough. This theme is actually very unsettling and creepy but also goofy and fun at the same time. It matches Grunty’s scary yet playful and taunting behavior.)

Army Dillo Rematch

(The way how Grant Kirkhope turns a peaceful and very moody song in the Crystal Caves level into an exciting boss theme is very good. Nothing says epic like having a rematch with a giant mechanical armadillo with jetpacks, missles, and fire ball guns.)

Hideout Helm

(This is an epic theme that really fits the open world of Donkey Kong 64. After going through many different worlds and collecting so many golden bananas, it is finally time to go take on K Rool on his home turf with your five simian friends. The music and the feeling that if I failed in this area DK island would be destroyed really made this a very intense moment. The fact that this area was timed also added to the tension as well. Overall, this is a very epic and incredibly intense level.)

Bedtime Story

(I had to mention this theme because of how beautiful it is and because Grant Kirkhope considers it his famous track.)

Shogo Sakai

keichi Suzuki

5. Shogo Sakai and Keichi Suzukki

Notable Games: Mother, Mother 2, Mother 3

Bringing modern like music to video games that suits  an average college student like me is always a great thing. Whenever I hear any song from the mother series I always can hear the music playing in a moment in my life. Shogo Sakai and Keichi Suzukkis’ soundtrack of the Mother series has a unique modern like air to it. It is filled with character, happiness, and, of course, sadness.

Mother 3 is sometimes called the saddest game in video game history for good reason. The sad story, the characters, and of course the amazing score written by Shogo Sakai have all helped bring Mother 3’s status the way it is today: The Saddest video game of all time. Mother 3 is just plain emotional with its soundtrack. Shogo Sakai, I have to say that you really know how to make notes that pull at your heartstrings.

Some of my Favorite Songs

Because I love You Song.

Love Theme

(Mother 3 is sometimes called the saddest game in video game history for good reason. The sad story, the characters, and of course the amazing score written by Shogo Sakai have all helped bring Mother 3’s status the way it is today: The Saddest video game of all time. Mother 3 is just plain emotional with its soundtrack.  The theme of Love is one of the saddest video game songs ever especially considering what happends in Mother 3. Shogo Sakai, I have to say that you really know how to make notes that pull at my heartstrings.)
Pollyana
(This is a song I can listen to whenever I am just driving and doing errands like shopping and picking up things. This song definitely gives off a happy mood but also a dramatic tone as well through all of the loud instruments it uses. I guess when you are saving the world in Mother 3, things should be a little more dramatic than usual.)
Smiles and Tears
(Sometimes we all need to grow up. Eventually we need to tell ourselves that we are not kids anymore and we need to go out into the world to face hardships even when there are many dangers out that we are not fully aware of yet.  Mother 2 is all about that. Mother 2 tells a story about a little boy who goes away from his safe home to help save the world. He faces many hardships, faces many of the world’s biggest evils, he puts his life at stake but he meets many friends and they ultimately finish their quest and return home as wiser and stronger individuals than they ever were before. Smiles and Tears is a song basically telling the story of growing up and possibly losing our childhood innocence in the process. The song is happy but also very sad with dark moody notes hidden throughout the song. It is a song that tells about peoples’ fears of growing up but manages to have an optimistic look on it. Even though when we grow up the world becomes a darker and dangerous place, we need to grow up and face the world to help make it a better place. After all, growing up is a part of life and there is good stuff and bad stuff that comes out of it. The song is a song talking about us acknowledging the bad and good in the world.)

Porky Means Business
(This song definitely caught me off guard when I first hear it. It starts off as a simple 8 bit boss theme to a heavy metal song. It is a song that definitely gives me the feeling that Porky means business. Porky sure changes throughout Earthbound as a normal kid to a complete psychopath near the end. This song definiitely shows Porky’s madness and descent into evil and Porky’s extreme determination to kick your butt.)

Nobuo Uematsu

4. Nobuo Uematsu

Notable Games: Final Fantasy VII, VI, IV, I, X, IX,Lost Odyssey

There is definitely no mistaken that Nobuo Uematsu is a legendary video game music composer. Nobuo Uematsu has created some of the most beloved video game songs through his many RPG songs that  are usually found in the Final Fantasy series. Uematsu is a very versatile composer but his strength is usually in orchestral sounding music. Songs like One Winged Angel and Dancing Mad, Aria Di Mezzo Carattere and Aeris’ theme are themes that really demonstrate Nobuo Uematsu’s talents as a not only a music composer but a story teller as well through the music notes that he writes.   Nobuo Uematsu’s music has left a staple in the world where his songs are still played in concerts in Japan and the U.S. as well as the “Theme of Love” being a part of Japanese school kids’ sixth grade music textbooks as part of their curriculum.

Nobuo Uematsu’s strength is mostly towards classical music, making him possibly the Mozart or Ludwig van Beetoven of Video game music.

One Winged Angel

(Do I really need to talk about this theme. It’s not that I don’t like it, (I love it) it’s just that everyone knows this song and knows that it is awesome. It is a song that is terrifying, cheesy, and very awesome. I will talk about this song a little bit more during a Final Fantasy VII analysis that I am working on with GMS.)

Final Fantasy VII Main Theme
ways, this is my favorite song Nobuo Uematsu has composed. Honestly, there really isn’t any way to fully appreciate this song unless you played Final Fantasy VII. This song, to me , basically tells the whole story of Final Fantasy VII and the story of Cloud Strife all in musical form.)

Dancing Mad

(Dancing Mad is probably my favorite character specific song in all of video games. Dancing Mad is basically a song that tells the story about how Kefka, a simple yet extremely crazy and evil individual, has finally taken over the world and has basically become a god. You and your party now have to defeat Kefka and find a way to rebuild the world that is now destroyed by Kefka. The song is evil, demented, and just extremely intense with the loud organ being played.)

Aeris’ Theme
Debatedly the saddest video game song of all time, Aeris’ theme is a song filled with emotion dealing with the death of one of the best character in the Final Fantasy series, Aeris. This song has so much emotion in it and it never fails to make me cry. The game’s creator, Sakaguchi, actually faced with the death of his mother when making this game. This song, I feel portrays not only the sadness of losing Aeris but also the sadness of Sakaguchi coping with his feelings for his mother.

To Zanarkand

This one of my favorite songs for any game for the ps2. Nobuo Uematsu does a brilliant job of making a wonderful sad and emotional song by just using piano keys. It is a song that definitely is more appreciative if you play Final Fantasy X but I think it is a song that anyone can enjoy and understand the heavy emotion that is conveyed through this song.

Yashunori Mitsuda

3. Yashunori Mitsuda

 Notable Games: Chrono Trigger, Chrono Cross, Xenogears, Mario Party

Yashunori Mitsuda has created an absolute gem of a soundtrack with the game Chrono Trigger, which is my second favorite RPG of all time, and also did other great soundtracks like Chrono Cross, Xenogears and Mario Party. Yashunori Mitsuda definitely makes some of the most emotional video game music around and his music portrays a wide range of emotions. Yashunori Mitsuda is a composer that actually comes up with some songs in his sleep like the ending theme in Chrono Trigger and Xenogears, explaining their dream like and relaxing feel. His music sticks with me emotionally and his music definitely adds so much to all of the games he is a part of. (Side Note: Chrono Trigger only credited Nobuo Uematsu as its composer during its credits for unknown reasons. He only made 10 % of the songs because Yashunori Mitsuda was sick. Mitsuda wasn’t a landmark name at the time so Uematsu was the only one mentioned in the credits because he is a considered a member of Square’s dream team.  It is reasons like this that makes me dislike Uematsu because of his ego.)

Some of my Favorite Songs:

Scars of Time

I love Yashunori Mitsuda’s Asian influences with his music in Chrono Cross. This intro starts off as a very slow somber song to an exciting and extremely fast tempo song that manages to give me massive goosebumps. This song is one of the few reasons why Chrono Cross is one my favorite video games of all time.

Wind Scene

Wind Scene is a very beautiful tune that first plays when you time travel into the past in Chrono Trigger. It is a brilliant tune that really sets up the atmosphere for being in the past.

 Epilogue to Good Friends

This song is so very sad. This plays in Chrono Trigger when I have to say goodbye to all of my companions. I cried so much because I did not want the game end and I especially did not want to say goodbye to my party (They were like family to me in the game).

To Far Away Times:

To think that Yashunori Mitsuda came up with most this theme in his sleep, it is pretty incredible. This song is one my favorite ending credits theme of all time. It is a beautiful song that completely cemented Chrono Trigger as one of my favorite video games of all time.

2. Koji Kondo

Koji Kondo

Notable Games: Super Mario Galaxy 1 and 2, Super Mario 64, Super Mario World, Super Mario Bros 3, Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time, Twighlight Princess, Majaras Mask, Windwaker, Skyward Sword, Star Fox 64

Koji Kondo has been creating video game music since the very beginning and has composed so many songs that are considered the most iconic video game songs ever. Koji Kondo can write music that ranges to adventurous,epic,  emotional, and disturbing music. His music has become staples of my childhood. Koji Kondo is a composer that I think has been consistently over the year, unlike Uematsu who might have lost some steam. His newer works like Super Mario Galaxy and Skyward Sword definitely compete to some of his best known earlier works.


Some of my Favorite Songs (There is too many to count):

Super Mario 64 Ending Theme

 

(This and Paper Mario’s Mario and Peach’s theme are the two songs that represent my video game playing childhood. If you want a detailed analysis on Mario 64’s ending and its credits theme look up the Great Mighty Steve’s blog post analysis on the blog. It basically explains both me and his feelings on this wonderful ending.)


Gerudo Valley

(A very catchy theme that I enjoy because of its spanish and desert like feel. Sneaking around pirates and jumping over bridges with Epona are so awesome because of this desert theme.)

Last Hour

(This song is one of the most scary and intense songs I ever listened to and it makes me just remember how amazing Majara’s Mask is as a game. Majara’s Mask was my first Zelda game I played when I was just six years old (I know not the best choice) and I was so scared to play the game that It caused me to  only watch my big brother play the game . Seeing that the world was going to end in just five minutes by the moon and hearing this song play is absolutely terrifying. Whenever I heard this song play while my brother played I instantly yelled at him to play the song of time. )

Good Egg Galaxy

(Absolute eargasm this song gives me. The grand and spacey magical feel this song gives me is amazing. When I first played Super Mario Galaxy and heard this theme for the first time, I knew I was in for an amazing experience. I get absolute goosebumps when I hear this song.)

Gusty Garden


(This another song that gives me absolute eargasm. It is one of those songs that makes me think that Super Mario Galaxy has my favorite Koji Kondo soundtrack. This is an orchestrated masterpiece.)

Comet Observatory

(This song is a brilliant theme to start waltz dancing to. This could be my favorite over world Mario theme.)

Shoji Meguro

1.Shoji Meguro

Notable Games: Persona 3, Persona 4, Catherine, Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne. Digital Devil Saga Series, Devil Summoner Series.

Shoji Meguro is, in my opinion, the most versatile video game music composer of all time and easily my favorite video game composer. Shoji Meguro creates music for some of my favorite video games all time with music that is catchy as well as dramatic. He can really do any kind of music and that’s is why I like him. He writes songs that switch between many genre’s like rap, orchestral, pop, rock, operatic, techno, alternative and he never ever fails to bring pleasure to my ears with what ever song he produces. I am guessing that one weird  way I can describe  Shoji Meguro’s music is that it gives me absolute eargasm. His music manages to be catchy, unique, animeish, dramatic, and brilliantly developed and performed. Shoji Meguro might not be a landmark name like Nobuo Uematsu and Koji Kondo but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve to be. I think he is one of the most underrated video game composers of all time and even if he isn’t consider the best, I at least know that he is my favorite video game music composer of all time.

Shoji Meguro greatest talents is combining instruments that mixes between contemporary sounding music with Orchestral sounding music (This is especially shown in Catherine). I am a kind of guy who loves to appreciate any kind of music and I guess the reason why I love Shoji Meguro so much is because he is proven to be a versatile composer who just loves to experiment with so many different music genres whether they be separate or meshed together. His music compliments his games extremely well managing to become some of most memorable video game songs I ever heard.

Notable Games: Persona 3, Persona 4, Catherine, Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne. Digital Devil Saga Series, Devil Summoner Series.

Favorite Songs (There is too many to count. There are a lot from the Persona games. I am a sucker for Persona music).

Poem For Everyone’s Souls

(Persona 3 is my favorite video game of all time for its wonderful psychological themes mixed in with a captivating story and memorable characters and my favorite magic system ever in a game. It is also the game that showed me the best example of immersion in an RPG. Persona 3 and 4 deal with Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud concepts but mostly Carl Jung and his term of the Persona. Persona refers to a social role or ideal image we present and try to act out and live up to. They are different psychological masks used to fulfill certain duties and personalities that society demands us to act out.  It is no wonder that in Persona 3 and 4 you have to interact with your party members and different people to not only help them out and get to know them but to also improve your different persona’s to create monsters to help  battle demon shadows that are presented in the game. In the Persona games you have to fuse your personas in the velvet room, a place between conscience and sub conscience actually based off a story written by Carl Jung, and this song is the velvet room’s theme. This song is haunting yet very very divine. The operatic chanting gives me feeling that I am control of my Personas but nothing is gauranteed (After all, I spent hours and hours trying to fuse personas to get them the way I want them to). it is a song that really fits coming in terms with yourself psychologically. This song completely fits Carl Jung’s psychological concepts in individuation, pursuing your true self, and fusing personas to help save the world and facing your shadows and inner demons.)

Battle for Everyone’s Souls:

Nyx: “The moment man devoured the fruit of knowledge, he sealed his fate… Entrusting his future to the cards, man clings to a dim hope. Yet, the arcana is the means by which all is revealed. Beyond the beaten path lies the absolute end. It matters not who you are… Death awaits you.” I still get chills whenever I hear that line while battling Nyx.

(Being my favorite end game boss theme, Battle For Everyone’s Souls matches the epic proportions and the stakes of Persona 3’s final battle brilliantly. The way how Shoji Meguro uses the theme Poem for Everyone’s Souls and increases the epicness 10 fold is wonderful. The song’s rock styling really gives the final boss a sense of finality and urgency and the operatic chanting really makes me feel I am fighting a high embodiment of power, Nyx, the embodiment of death. However, it also brings reminds me to look back on all of the times I spent in the Velvet room and all of the social links I acquired throughout the game. It is a song that makes me look back on everything in the game while also saying how much is at stake.)

Heaven
(Oh Persona and your catchy music. Heaven is my favorite midnight channel theme in Persona 4 because of its sad tune and lyrics conveying the feelings of one of my favorite characters in Persona 4, Nanako, after she is kidnapped. It is a dark and seminal song due to the fact that a sweet innocent child is kidnapped and you are fighting through a dungeon representing her inner demons and fears to rescue her.)

Moon’s reaching out the stars reincarnation

(This is another very catchy song that actually took some time for me to fully appreciate this song. This is like the “Pollyanna” of Persona music. I can just listen to this music whenever I am just driving around my neighborhood. Well this is Persona 3’s overworld theme. This is actually the reincarnation version. I actually prefer this version over the original but just by a litttle bit.  Well Shoji Meguro wrote both songs so either way, I am appreciating his music.)
Heartful Cry

(Heartful Cry is possibly my favorite boss theme in any video game (not counting final boss themes). The sad piano notes playing in the beginning and the song building up into a rock out loud song that manages to make me excited and ready to battle but also very  sad at the same time is very unique.This is one of the saddest moments ever in Persona 3 because this is when I had to fight all of the companions as Aigis. Hearing this song while fighting my pet dog Koramoro, my pal Junpei, and my in game girlfriend Yukari was so hard on me. This song is a battle theme while managing to be a very sad song in the process. It shows just how broken apart your squad mates are without the protagonist.)

The Almighty

(I know I am using this term a little too much but I will say it again: This song gives me absolute eargasm. The slow buildup working its way up to an absolute epic and rocking song is beautifully done. In Persona 4 you finally figure out who the killer is and now it is time to face him. Your opponent is a completely evil sadistic creep that manages to be way more powerful than you think. After everything you have been through in Persona 4,getting all of your social links and whatnot, hearing this boss theme while fighting an enemy that you knew throughout the entire game is brilliant. I really like Shoji Meguro’s blend of electric guitar with piano during this whole song. I don’t know how to describe this song to give it full justice. I guess play Persona 4.)

Mass Destruction

Never has there been an RPG battle song that has generated so much controversy and generated a love and hate sort reception from players and music critics.  Anyone who hasn’t played Persona 3 would probably be thinking “What the eff is this J rap crap.” “This is a battle theme, you serious”. Well this song is definitely a perfect example of a song that needs to be heard in the context of the game to understand how this song works incredibly well. I think this youtube commenter is right on the mark describing this song; Rondart:

“No other VGM has generated a more “love it or hate it” comments. People disliked it for it trying too hard to be hip-hoppy, while some people hear nothing but pure, concentrated AWESOME.

Imagine this: I’m battling Grim Reaper wielding two Colt Buntlines while I shoot myself in the head to bring this huge ass winged dragon to kill Death himself with two girls and an android girl wearing maid suits, all the while listening to some very uplifting hip-hop.

How is that not awesome? OH YEAH!P”

Not to mention Rodart that all of your squad mates are actually shooting themselves in the head to unlock their personas (Pretty dark).

I  fully agree with Rodart

I hated this song when I first heard it but , overtime, it became one of my favorite RPG battle themes. There is something very memorable about this music that makes me just remember all of the epic moments I had while battling. When “Oh Yeah” kicks in the song, I am usually just rocking out to the song while ordering Minato to finish off the enemies by unlocking his Persona while shooting his head.This song just brings so much energy towards battles managing to create a battle theme that is fun and distinctive.

It’s a Golden Show:

(Catherine is, without a doubt, one of my favorite video games of all time and possibly my favorite video game this generation. It was a game that wasn’t so much a game, but a journey. The moral dilemmas that were presented in this game were so well done and thought provoking that it was a game that made me look at myself and realize the real thoughts I might have towards topics like marriage, love, and commitment. It was a wonderful experience but it  an experience filled with so much anxiety because of the block puzzles and all of the choices and suspense that was present in the game’s story. “It’s a Golden Show” is basically the title theme for the game Catherine and it is basically the song the represents the entire game for me. Catherine is a unique game because the game really feels mature. It’s not mature because of things like violence and sex, it is mature because of all of the dillemas and ideas the game throws at you. It’s A Golden Show is a song that starts off very very dark and somber, with the awesome piano notes, but then it suddenly gets way more exuberant and happy with the wonderful trumpet sounds. Catherine was a game that I felt was very tiring and axiety filled to play because it revealed stuff about myself I never knew and it was a game that forced me to make tough personal choices. But it was a game that I will never regret playing. The uplifting tone at the end is basically telling about how Vincent has to move forward in his life during the game in order to achieve his wishes and desires while also  coming in terms with himself and realizing his strengths and weaknesses with the different ideas presented in the game. I was nervous about playing Catherine but I would never regret playing it because it was one of the most personal and addicting game experiences I ever had. The song is like explaining the game like climbing a tower. It may not be a pleasant and an easy climb (Believe me, this game is hard but very addicting), but once you get to the top, you are on top of the world baby.)

Memories of You:

(Anyone who has played Persona 3 should probably guess why I love this song so much and why I consider Persona 3’s ending my favorite ending in a video game. This song is one of Shoji Meguro’s finest songs because of its lyrics, its vocals, and beautiful melody all complimenting the game’s themes and bittersweet ending.)

An Die Freude: A great epic credit theme song.

Now of course I know that everyone has played different games and had different experiences so it is very clear that everyone’s favorite music would be different. I just wanted to explain what my personal favorites are and just show my appreciation on video game music in general. For anyone who hasn’t played video games or didn’t give some of these games I listed a try, I really encourage you to give them a go. As you know, video game music is at its best when you hear songs in their respective games. I Hope you enjoyed the list and hope you enjoyed the music.