Music of the Year 2014 Categories

Marcos Gaspar's Music of the Year
Editors' Favorites

Sometimes I forget whether I'm describing the succulent nature of food or the beauty of music. Is there a difference between the two? Both have the ability to excite the senses — make me feel alive and satisfied.

I hope you enjoy the morsels below, so much that you pursue the main entrée for much more...

Have you heard...

Persona Q Shadow of the Labyrinth OST

How do you compose a soundtrack that's true to a game's two musically-different sources and still maintain its own identity? Here it is.

Grinsia OST
Composed by Shannon Mason

I like shrimp.

I lied. I love shrimp to no end; however, it pains me to receive such a small portion when I order them at restaurants. But you know what? Every bite of each of those succulent, juicy, tantalizing shrimp is like a blinking glimpse into Heaven. I savor each moment I chew — each tiny nibble — and pray it doesn't end. Alas, it must and it surely does. These are my conflicted emotions when I listen to Shannon "Pongball" Mason's Grinsia — a flavorsome cocktail of appetizing aural pleasures. If I could request one thing of the chef: a double helping, please!

Favorite Tracks:
Random Encounter!
Boss Battle

Also See Our Review: Grinsia OST Review

Chrono Trigger Symphony Volume 3
Composed by Yasunori Mitsuda, Nobuo Uematsu, Noriko Matsueda; Arranged By The Blake Robinson Synthetic Orchestra

I'm easily baited into listening to anything Chrono Trigger related — especially when it's orchestrated. While I would prefer a live orchestra, any type of ensemble — digital or acoustic — will do. In this case, we are presented with Chrono Trigger Symphony Vol 3, performed by The Blake Robinson Synthetic Orchestra. What this critic has to say? Ten-outta-ten! Would hear again!

Robinson's arrangements on this album are nothing short of delicate, beautiful, mysterious, and/or powerful. I am caught in total awe of tracks such as "Singing Mountain" and "Corridor of Time." Even the haunting, yet song-like, oboe in "Schala's Theme" manages to astound me, while encapsulating my heart in tender warmth. What can I say? I'm a sap for arrangements like these.

Favorite Tracks:
Singing Mountain
Schala's Theme
World Revolution

Also See Our Review: Chrono Trigger Symphony Volume 3 Review

Prescription for Sleep: Game Music Lullabies
Composed by Jeremy Soule, Michiru Oshima, Harry Gregson-Williams, Yoko Shimomura, Nobuo Uematsu, Yasunori Mitsuda, Musashi Project, Jesper Kyd, Koji Kondo, Hikaru Utada; Arranged By GENTLE LOVE

Whenever I need a break from listening to soundtracks, I usually reach for a classical or jazz album — something to give me a palate cleanse. It doesn't matter what I choose, as long as it is relaxing or soothing. Last week was Mozart, this week is Gentle Love's "Prescription for Sleep: Game Music Lullabies." I've had this album on my wish list for a while, until I recently picked it up on Loudr. I'm glad I did. Finally getting a chance to listen through tracks like "Aquatic Ambiance" and "Song of Ancients," I can only wonder why I didn't choose sooner to get this tranquil, sweetly arranged album. Ayaki Saito's calming piano performance interlaced with Norihiko Hibino's mellow sax lines weave an aural tapestry of rich sororities that soothe the mind and soul.

Favorite Tracks:
Song of the Ancients (NiER)
Singing Emotions (Chrono Cross)
Aquatic Ambience (Donkey Kong Country)

Also See Our Review: Prescription for Sleep: Game Music Lullabies Review

Favorite Non-RPG Music
Freedom Planet

Because RPG soundtracks are saturated with music (3-4 CDs sometimes), I rarely get a chance to listen to non-rpg music. However, when my listening docket depletes, I come across some admirable soundtracks. One of these OSTs is GalaxyTrail's Freedom Planet. I must give my thanks to their music team (Leila "Woofle" Wilson, Stephen "Strife" DiDuro, and Shane "Blue Warrior" Ellis) for providing us such a lush extravagance that I can't help but spread this adventurous and joyful experience.

GalaxyTrail's bandcamp describes Freedom Planet's score as invoking "the era of the Sega Saturn and Playstation 1," and I do agree with this description. In fact, it is FP's music palette and brightness that draws me in for another loop of listening. I enjoy hearing what reminds me of games like Silhouette Mirage and Mega Man X4, while experiencing something very unique and endearing. Don't let this precious gem pass by unheard.

Favorite Tracks:
Sky Battalion
Up the Sub (Jade Creek 2)
Major Boss Battle

Croixleur Sigma Original Soundtrack

I rarely play hack & slash games, so I'm not well-versed on what kind of background music would be playing during gameplay. However, I'm almost-kinda sure that they wouldn't consist of half a soundtrack of what some might consider JRPG battle themes, which is what souvenir circ.'s Croixleur Sigma OST sounds like. In fact, if this is what hack & slash soundtracks truly sound like, then I have a bit of catching up to do.

I really wish souvenir circ. had a composer list, because it's driving me nuts not to know who the authors are so I can do a follow up search on their other projects. I hate mysteries! That's okay — for the moment — because I'm content with the zestiness of this soundtrack. I always find myself coming back to its exciting music whenever I need a mental adrenaline boost.

Favorite Tracks:
Onward to the Trial
Stay Out of My Way
Moonlit Battle

Have you heard...

Project Destati: LIGHT

A masterful arrangement of Kingdom Hearts' most important music, by people intimately familiar with the source.

Best Theme Music: D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die
Composed by MANYO, Rio Okano, TECHNOuchi, Atsushi Yamaji

It wasn't until one of our forum members made a music post with the "Theme of D4" that I discovered what would be my next "healthy" obsession. I swung by both volumes' Bandcamp pages for D4's soundtrack and soaked in its alluring timbres. I tip and bow to the group responsible for these tasty morsels (MANYO, Rio Okano, TECHNOuchi, Atsushi Yamaji). However, it is still that tantalizing theme that brings me back for another round of listening. There's something seductive about that sax & electric guitar combo that serenades my ears. Let that sweet, sweet union salsa all night long...

Theme of D4

Twitch Schedule & Status

Sunday, December 16th
Rogue Galaxy w/Maxx • 10am PDT/1pm EDT

Darksiders w/Maxx • 12pm PDT/3pm EDT
Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth - Hacker's Memory w/Kat • 3pm PDT/6pm EDT

Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance w/Kyle • 3pm PDT/6pm EDT
Dragon Quest XI w/Scott • 7pm PDT/10pm EDT

Dragon Quest XI w/Scott • 7pm PDT/10pm EDT

Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance w/Kyle • 3pm PDT/6pm EDT
Dragon Quest XI w/Scott • 7pm PDT/10pm EDT

Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance w/Kat • 3pm PDT/6pm EDT
Friday Super Variety Night w/Scott • 7pm PDT/10pm EDT

Dragon Quest XI w/Scott • 5pm PDT/8pm EDT

Games of the Year 2018: Readers' Choice

Games of the Year 2018: Readers' Choice

Vote now!
Retro Encounter Final Thoughts ~ Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors

Retro Encounter Final Thoughts ~ Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors

Podcast Feature
RPGFan Founders Roundtable ~ An RPGFan 20th Anniversary Feature

RPGFan Founders Roundtable

An RPGFan 20th Anniversary Feature
Crowdfunding Chronicles Volume 3

Crowdfunding Chronicles Volume 3

NieR: Automata Orchestral Arrangement Album Review

NieR: Automata Orchestral Arrangement Album

RPGFan Launches Daily 'This Day in Gaming' Video Series

RPGFan Launches Daily "This Day in Gaming" Video Series

Video Series