Game music of the day: Cave Story

Game: Cave Story

Song: Cave Story (Theme Song)

Composer: Daisuke "Pixel" Amaya

Above: Cave Story (Theme Song) from Cave Story

Its remastered WiiWare release this year might be garnering all the attention, but indie-game phenomenon Cave Story – a deceptively simple-looking shooter-platformer about gun-toting androids trying to rescue a civilization of rabbit-people – started life as the creation of just one person. The original game, released for PCs in 2004, was the product of five years of work by Daisuke Amaya, better known as Pixel. Working on his own, Pixel created the art, penned the script, designed the levels and programmed the game. More to the point, he also wrote 42 original, chiptune-style music tracks that range from happy to haunting, with the most immediately recognizable one being the title-screen music.

The track above is Pixel's PC original, a jaunty 8-bit-sounding piece that comes off as adventuresome and cheerful, but hints at some of the surprisingly tragic turns the game can take. It's since been remixed multiple times, with the WiiWare version alone sporting three different versions: the mellowed (and somewhat unpopular) "original" release, an updated remix, and a super-short version that's actually a snippet of a track by mixer Tumult for the Cave Story Remix Project. That last one is our favorite, as it's the only one to really capture the chiptuney excitement of the original:

Another excellent track that was arguably better in its original form was Moonsong, which plays in Cave Story's Outer Wall area. While the WiiWare version was a little spacier and (strangely enough) more 8-bit-sounding, the original's louder, more bass-heavy arrangement gives it a stronger kick while still being evocative of the Outer Wall's eerie beauty. 

If you'd like to check it out firsthand (and we recommend that you do), the PC version's available for free download, as is Pixel's music. And if it leaves you hungry for more, the Wii version's remastered visuals and additional game modes still make it worth a download, even if some of the music isn't quite as good.

Dec 6, 2010

Game music of the day: Yoshi's Island
Flower Garden by Koji Kondo



Game music of the day: Panzer Dragoon Saga 
Interception by Saori Kobayashi 



Game music of the day: Extreme G
Trippy trance from the N64 days


Game music


  • RFswitchBlade - December 7, 2010 11:13 p.m. Another great remix, while the accompaniment is louder than the melody.
  • RFswitchBlade - December 7, 2010 10:59 p.m.

    I am proud to say I am a massive Cave Story fanboy.
  • philipshaw - December 7, 2010 6:15 p.m.

    Forgot how good the music is for this game,love it
  • Tenfey - December 7, 2010 4:44 p.m.

    I want that guy's hat.
  • Unoriginal - December 7, 2010 8:22 a.m.

    Come out in Europe already, come on. What are they doing that is taking so long?
  • dreamgor - December 7, 2010 7:18 a.m.

    cave story... ho boy that was so good... i actually started crying when hearing that second song don't ask me why but it's that awesome...
  • CancerMan - December 7, 2010 6:55 a.m.

    My 5th favorite game of all time. I love everything about this game. Thank you Mr. Reparez, I had know idea these remixes existed.
  • - December 7, 2010 5:20 a.m.

    I loved this games =) i felt genuinely sad and surprised at the dark tone that the cheerful beginning bled into. Its definitely got a great story.
  • CH3BURASHKA - December 7, 2010 4:14 a.m.

    Also, "Moonsong" tangentially reminds me of the Turbo Turtle GMotD, way back when. Anyone who knows what I'm talking about knows that's a good thing. Poor turtle, so many lightyears away from home...
  • CH3BURASHKA - December 7, 2010 4:12 a.m.

    My friend told me to play it all those years ago. Now, a Wii and a DSi release later, I still haven't played it. I'm really behind on my "indie" catalog, I'm swamped with other shit, notably school. One day, I'll clear my schedule and sit down for some serious indie gaming. ...especially after hearing this. Not many indie titles have gotten their own OCRemix, and this one is certainly deserving of it. It's still pretty amazing the original game was made by one guy. Beautiful art, as well. And speaking of indie, I think one of these days Minecraft needs to get its own GMotD. The music is mostly ambiance, but it's awesome ambiance.
  • bmrskate - December 7, 2010 2:08 a.m.

    A modern classic for sure. I still think it would've been awesome if Cave Story was made for the SNES. It would've fit right in as a system seller. It still blows my mind that only one person created this whole game. I have to admit that I haven't beaten the Hell level yet...I want the best possible ending, since the story was such a heart breaker. But damn that Hell level is tough. I won't even cheat and watch the ending on YouTube, that's how you know it's a great game. The music is too addicting, like a subliminal message that tells you to play more Cave Story. So, when is Pixel going to get a few other people and make Cave Story 2?
  • mynameisjay - December 7, 2010 1:50 a.m.

    I regret clicking that button. Now the song is going to be stuck in my head all night.
  • powerpc127 - December 7, 2010 12:26 a.m.

    I love cave story's music. The first time I played it, I sat at the menu for at least a few minutes just to hear the song (it's also called "Plantation" because it plays there too). Grasstown also has awesome music. Great article.
  • EnragedTortoise1 - December 6, 2010 11:58 p.m.

  • Genericide - December 6, 2010 11:49 p.m.

    I really, really like Cave Story. It kicks my ass though, so I have yet to finish it. Every once in a while I give it another shot, but to be honest with myself I just wanna hear the music. So awesome.

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