Since I formed Wob Wob Rob, I’ve immersed myself within every aspect of game music. I love trivia and I’ve stumbled across some cracking titbits on my journey so far which I would like to share with you now!
TRENT REZNOR DID THE QUAKE MUSIC
Trent Reznor from industrial noiseniks Nine Inch Nails is the surprising composer of the Quake soundtrack. This isn’t a bad fact in its own right, but what’s also cool is you can find the NIN logo on all the nail gun ammo crates. I’ve played Quakes dozens of times and never noticed this before!
DAVID WISE GOT OFFERED A JOB WHILST WORKING IN A MUSIC SHOP
In Rareware’s formative years, Tim and Chris Stamper went to a music shop to bolster their studio equipment. There they found David Wise demonstrating the new Yamaha CX5 Music Computer. David had written and programmed the music for the demonstration material and they were so impressed with what he’d done that they offered him a job then and there!
David Wise would go on to write the brilliant music to Donkey Kong Country series.
NINTENDO HIDE MUSIC EASTER EGGS IN THEIR GAMES
In many Nintendo games there is a recurring 19 note tune known as Totaka’s song, named after it’s composer Kazumi Totaka. You’ve almost certainly heard it if you’ve played Nintendo games before. He’s always hiding it in fun places in a wealth of Nintendo games such as Animal Crossing, Luigi’s Mansion, Zelda: Link’s Awakening, Pikmin 2 and Yoshi’s Story. It’s always worth keeping an ear out for it on any of the projects he is involved with.
ZELDA’S OVERWORLD THEME NEARLY DIDN’T EXIST
When Zelda’s first epic game on the NES was being developed, the original plan was to use Ravel’s Boléro as the game’s main theme. Luckily for us, it was discovered that the music was still copyrighted, so Nintendo’s legendary composer Koji Kondo smashed out the Zelda Overworld Theme in one day!
MICHAEL JACKSON COMPOSED SONIC MUSIC
Well this is almost a fact, but what makes this trivia interesting is that there are many conflicting stories as to whether Wacko Jacko actually composed music for Sonic 3.
On the one hand Roger Hector who headed up the Sega Technical Institute, a Sega development wing, said in 2005 that Jackson was hired to compose music for Sonic 3. However following the allegations of sexual abuse his involvement was terminated the music reworked.
Cirocco Jones contributed music to Sonic 3, and on his website he credits himself along with Jackson and Jackson’s tour keyboardist Brad Buxer for musical cues to levels 1 and 2 of the game. Buxer also stated that Jackson was involved with some Sonic 3 compositions but chose to remain uncredited because he was unhappy with the sound capabilities of the Genesis.
There are also parallels between music Jackson released and music in the game which fans have discovered and shared over the years.
However, Sega staff—including senior producer Mike Latham, marketing director Al Nilsen, Sonic 3 marketing director Pam Kelly, and Sega of America president Tom Kalinske—stated that any involvement of Jackson was arranged without their knowledge, and that no contracts nor formal agreements were made.
Another thing to consider is this: how could such an agreement have been kept secret? At the time Michael Jackson was the most famous person in the world and Sonic was one of the world’s most recognised mascots. Surely Sega would have mad not to use this publicity?
What do I think? I think it’s more fun to believe it is true and I’m happy to feed the fire by spouting this kind of useless trivia to anyone who will listen :)
Got any other cracking game music facts for me? Let me know!