Other Site Changes

After having conversations with a few people, there’s a few things that will be getting changed on the site and a few things I’d like to talk about.

Fro changes. I’ve noticed and people are starting to point out that I give out a lot of 3s. Some of this has to do with my rating system as my score keepers (aka my music players) only let me give half stars and I’m usually too lazy to keep track of more finer points. Another thing that is doing this is that I usually choose either soundtracks or albums I like or OSTs that have just come out and forgo reviewing OSTs that would generally get a bad score.So what I’ll be doing from now is changing to a 10 point system and that proves not versatile enough, a 100 point system like Metacritic.

Another I’ll be not doing anymore is giving out details of each and every song. This has prevented me from reviewing such OSTs as Super Meat Boy as the special edition sits at 80 songs (for $6 if you haven’t bought it, what’s wrong with you? o_O.) From now on I’ll just be commenting on songs that are on the far end of the good/bad spectrum. This should save me some time and avoid those awkward where I don’t know what to say about a song.

Speaking of saving time though, I’ve had a few composers mention to me that I should start doing my reviews by listening to the songs as I play the games. In a perfect world I could spend all day every day playing games and find every nook and cranny in the game for 100% completion. We don’t live in a perfect world, or at least I don’t. Despite the fact I have no job and I my kid is only just on the way, I still find it hard to muster the time and energy to do 3 or even 2 a week. In order for me to do a proper review in that fashion, I would only get 1-2 reviews out a month. While this would make for a much thorough review, it would only be great for the 2 people who would still be visiting the site as the rest would have either forgotten about me or moved on out of boredom. Also because I have a kid on the way and currently no job (interview tomorrow, fingers crossed) I can’t really afford to start slapping down money because I think a game might have good music to review. And since I rarely get review copies of OSTs, let alone games, I can’t start sinking money into them. Some people have asked me to do such reviews on systems I don’t even own, like Xbox live, Android and Ipad games. Also the reason I review so many OSTs off bandcamp (besides it being a popular site for such media) is because I can preview entire albums and review them like that. To top this all off as I am trying to get to the final boss in Aquaria after 50 hours of playing, there’s a ton of other OSTs that would be getting neglected by me because I’m trying to review a soundtrack to a massive game properly. Properly being every song on the OST, no exceptions. This is just not fair to everyone else and I would end up only reviewing the games which I knew had good soundtracks, which everyone else already knows they have good soundtracks, which defeats the point of me running the site. If it came down to the point that I had to start reviewing OSTs by playing all the games, the site would shut down as it would just be unfeasible to run at that point.

Which brings me to the reason composers are bringing up the playing games to review the OSTs. I can understand why they want me to. They want me to experience the music as it was made for the game. As I explained in the previous paragraph, this is unfeasible, and even if it wasn’t I still wouldn’t do it. Listening to the music in game will bias a person’s view of the music based on how the game is. A good game can lift up a soundtrack and a bad game can bring it down. I’m a firm believer that music can stand and should stand on it’s own, as it has done for decades before in video game music. There was a point in my life that I would only search out games to play because I had listened to their soundtracks and loved them. Games like Chrono Cross, Legend of Mana and Breath of Fire 4 come to mind. Listening to was never problem of whether the song was made for functionality or a cutscene, the music was either just good or it wasn’t. The soundtracks I mentioned, despite having songs for cutscenes or what not, had great music regardless. In some cases, the game did not live up the greatness of the soundtrack after I finally was able to play the game. When I listen to soundtrack from a game I used to play, I don’t remember the game, but I listen to how good the music is now, as I am listening. You have soundtracks like To The Moon which is I imagine is an entire soundtrack that’s built around functional or cutscene songs that still moves me despite the fact I haven’t even touched the demo of it. I think Danny Baranowski said at one time that there should be two music categories in the IGF, one for best soundtrack and one for best sound design. If there were two, he’d want Bastion to have won best soundtrack and Amnesia to win best sound design. Some composers want me to review to review OSTs as sound design, but I review music as music and there is no reason a soundtrack can’t live or die by it’s own merit.

And I think that’s about it. Comments can be placed at the bottom of the page of what you think about that I’ve talked about in this post. Will have some new reviews for people in the next few days.

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