Monday, September 27, 2010

The Vault Mourns Giant Gonzalez

The colorful world of pro graps lost a legend last week in Jorge "Giant" Gonzalez, a man perhaps best known for being monstrously tall and wearing a furry full-body spandex suit airbrushed with muscles and a butt crack.

Although he left us at the all-too-young age of 44, Gonzalez is not just another tragic early wrestling death, done in as so many others have been by a steroid-enlarged heart tapping out after a (half) lifetime  of coke, booze, and freebasing enough pure dinosaur tranquilizer to kill God. Rather, he seems to have died because he was simply too big for this world. Also, diabetes. 

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Countdown: The Top 10 Tunes from Mega Man 2

Mega Man 2 is one of the best video games of all time. As a kid, I was absolutely taken with the Mega Man franchise, and the games still hold a special place in my heart even as the series spirals more and more into a vortex of impenetrably strange Japaneseness. Years and countless sequels later, the Blue Bomber now celebrates vanquishing another Robot Master by flashing an anime-riffic peace sign accompanied by a 4-year-old Japanese girl screaming "Yah-sho!" as his eyes turn into those little upside-down letter U's (not really). But even if I can't really enjoy some of the newer games (though, the Zero series was awesome if retarded hard), I can still fondly reflect on the golden days of my childhood, when I spent hours upon hours in front of the old NES trying to beat Mega Man 2.

It's because I spent so much time playing this game as a kid that this list exists. You try playing this game for any amount of time without noticing the ABSOLUTELY OUTSTANDING SOUNDTRACK. Now imagine hearing these dope jams on loop for days on end. Even back then, I knew the soundtrack to this game was some next level stuff - King Shit, if you will - especially given the fact that the majority of NES game music consisted of artless beeps and boops (the likes of which can still be found today whenever someone plays video games on a TV show). 

Great music has gone on to become a Mega Man series trademark, but I'm still of the opinion that this game has still yet to be surpassed by any of its many sequels as far as the tunes go. It's an 8 bit Magnum Opus. I'd even go as far as saying that no video game since this one has offered up an original soundtrack that was quite so awesome across the board, let alone better. And that's saying something, considering this game came out in 1988. My hat is off to composers Takashi Tateishi, Manami Matsumae, and Yoshihiro Sakaguchi - if the world ever needs to be saved using only a 1980s Casio keyboard, these are the folks to call.

So let's see what makes it all so awesome, then. Keep in mind, as all of these tunes are pretty spectacular, the following list is less for strict ranking purposes and more along the lines of "Hey, if you've never heard them before check these awesome old video game tunes out." Submitted for your approval in Countdown Format, Mega Man 2's Top 10 Tunes - after the break.