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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 yearmight be garnering all the attention, but indie-game phenomenon Cave Story – a deceptively simple-looking shooter-platformer aboutgun-toting androids trying to rescue a civilization of rabbit-people – started lifeas the creation of just one person. Theoriginal game,released for PCs in 2004,was the product offive years of work by Daisuke Amaya, better known asPixel. Working on his own, Pixel created the art, penned the script,designed thelevels andprogrammed the game. More to the point, he also wrote 42 original, chiptune-stylemusic tracksthat range from happy to haunting, withthe most immediately recognizable one being the title-screen music.

The track above is Pixel's PC original, a jaunty8-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 updatedremix, and a super-short version that's actually a snippet of a track by mixer Tumult for theCave 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'sOuter Wall area. While theWiiWare versionwas a littlespacier 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 forfree download, asisPixel'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

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After graduating from college in 2000 with a BA in journalism, I worked for five years as a copy editor, page designer and videogame-review columnist at a couple of mid-sized newspapers you've never heard of. My column eventually got me a freelancing gig with GMR magazine, which folded a few months later. I was hired on full-time by GamesRadar in late 2005, and have since been paid actual money to write silly articles about lovable blobs.