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Game music of the day: Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden

Welcome to GamesRadar's daily blast of all things pertaining to the ever-growing field of game music. Each post will introduce new sounds, games, composers and fan-made remixes of gaming's greatest aural achievements.

“The Year is 2053. Basketball is dead.” The Chaos dunk changed everything. Charles Barkley, attempting to impress his son Hoopz, accidentally unleashes the “Chaos Dunk” a slam so powerful it devastates Neo New York, killing millions. Basketball is outlawed and the world’s greatest players are hunted down and killed in the "Great B-Ball Purge of 2041". Barkley survives, but is forced underground by the B-Ball Removal Department, a secret anti-basketball police force led by Michael Jordan. For his son's safety,Barkley must ally himself withterrorist organization B.L.O.O.D.M.O.S.E.S, but all is not as it seems in the Post-Cyberpocalypse, and this is only the beginning…

October 15, 2010

Game: Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden, Chapter 1 of the Hoopz Barkley SaGa
Song: Epic Battle aka johnathan taylor thomas
Artist: Tales of Game's Studios

Above: “Epic Battle aka, johnathan taylor thomas” is the game’s boss encounter music, clearly inspired by Final Fantasy VI’s iconic “Decisive Battle” track.

Shut Up and Jam Gaiden is, at its core, a ridiculously apt parody of JRPGs, their fans, and gaming in general. A freeware game developed by “Tales of Game’s Studios” (sic), it was created by a group of forum posters on an amateur game developer site. While the bizarre premise led people to question how serious its creators were, they shocked the indie gaming world in 2008 when they delivered a game that was not only incredibly funny, but extremely well made to boot. The sprawling story is a tongue in cheek jab at JRPG’s typically convoluted, nonsensical plots, and the game is intentionally packed the brim with clunky dialogue and characters who constantly trail off into ellipses for no reason...

The overall quality of the game extends to the soundtrack, which, despite the goofy titles, are excellent chiptune jams that wouldn’t sound out of place in any 16 bit SquareSoft/Enix game.

Above: “Final aka zalatar precious pellets”, more classic JRPG battle music

While the game ruthlessly mocks JRPGs and their irrationally rabid fans, the game clearly comes from a group of people who grew up on the genre, and Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden is a loving tribute that manages to mix humor and great gameplay in a way major studios have failed to do. The whole thing is a joke, but it’s such a carefully crafted, well made joke that you can’t dismiss it; it’s a great game with a bizarre sense of humor that deserves way more attention than it got.

Download the game for free here!

BONUS: The game’s hilarious/amazing title theme is a hybrid of the Quad City DJ’s ultra corny “Space Jam Theme” and Quazar of Sanxion’s chiptune song “Funky Stars”. On paper it sounds awful, but together these two songs manage to be waaaay more than the sum of their parts. In other words, a perfect theme song for this game.

Above: "Title Theme"

Rockin' NES beats from Nobuyuki, Marumo, N. Kodaka, About SS and MaboChan

The first arcade game with a vocal track, from Eikichi Kawasaki

The cheeriest song of all time, from Mariko Nanba

Down are up ell, ex why be?