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satellite cult 14.14
pc game music, vaporjazz, polyhedron generator
welcome to this week’s satellite cult dispatch. i’m so glad you’re here. i hope the artifacts i present you with will dissolve reality around you and cause the world to fade into the purple and peach rays of the setting sun, which you will view from over the rolling tops of the clouds. i hope you get to stare out and catch humanity’s last glimpse of the pastel sky as two giant, warring mechs plummet to the ground in a desperate and violent embrace, the force of their impact sure to turn the earth to dust in the absence of a hero.
please be aware that the void dive section below contains flashing gifs. the noise section this week involves discussion of obscure retro PC game music, including music from eroge games. while there is no direct reference to the content of these games in this dispatch, keep this in mind in case you choose to seek them out.
if you’re viewing this on the website, please forgive the way Substack formats and spaces Bandcamp embeds.
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the world is our egg
watching Revolutionary Girl Utena reminded me of this single from 2017, just two short but satisfying vaporwave tracks leaning hard into funk and soul, smooth and danceable, dreamy and distant.
the aesthetics and music of 80s and 90s anime, manga, JRPGs, and other related art and media have forever changed the landscape of internet music and art. where would the visual aesthetic of future funk be without Sailor Moon and Urusei Yatsura, or hexd without Serial Experiments Lain and PS2 RPGs?
adjacent to 80s and 90s anime are PC games from those eras with sprawling chiptune soundtracks. most of these games are now considered abandonware, and for each one that saw international release, there are plenty more that never left Japan.
Dragon Half has a cult following among manga and anime fans, and in 1993 it received both an OVA and a game released for FM Towns, PC-98, and TurboGrafx-CD. the game’s soundtrack is composed of layered chiptune, including some distortion and other effects. true to its source material, it’s about an hour’s worth of silliness.
Alpha was published in 1986 for PC-88, PC-98, Sharp X1, and Fujitsu FM-7. an interactive fiction eroge set in a world where humanity’s fled Earth on a space vessel, it’s notable not only for being a pre-Final Fantasy release by Square, but also because the game came packaged with a flexi disc featuring two tracks that would be hard to find now if not for the web.
the first track has a touch of disco and wouldn’t feel out of place on an ABBA album.
Alpha is well-documented because of the developer that published it, but lots of similar games remain relatively obscure, in part because many of them are eroge games or games with otherwise mature themes or content that weren’t seen fit for western release during a period of time when much of the world considered video games the territory of children. the deeper and deeper you dive into largely forgotten PC games from the 80s and 90s, the more you come to find that most of them are eroge visual novels, interactive fiction, or arcade games.
while i don’t have a particular interest in eroge games, i am very interested in difficult to find games from the retro era, and many of these games only exist in the modern sense because of fragments left behind online—photos of box art, soundtracks, screenshots pulled from old video playthroughs that were wiped from the web years ago.
in that vein, i listened to the soundtrack of a game called RED (or Red: The Adventurous Sequence), released, according to available information, for PC-98 and MS-DOS in 1992 by Discovery Software, a defunct developer and publisher. The small amount of information i uncovered regarding Discovery Software indicates that the company ceased to exist in 1989, though games were published under its name into the early 90s. maybe this developer is being conflated with Discovery Software International, which published a handful of games in the late 80s, including the hack and slash game Sword of Sodan? it’s hard to say for sure.
i liked the game soundtrack, which was composed by Tenpei Sato, who would later go on to compose music for games by Nippon Ichi Software, including installments in the Disgaea series, but given that nearly all the information i could find about this game came from two sources, i wasn’t sure if the game itself was ever released, and even considered the possibility of it being a hoax. then, i managed to locate CDs of the soundtrack for sale on Japanese Mercari, and wondered if maybe a soundtrack was released without a game. eventually, i found another eroge game Discovery published in 1991 called Sweet Emotion, available on the Internet Archive as abandonware. finally, deep in my search, i found definitive evidence that RED is a real game in the form of an eight hour long playthrough video uploaded by a small, mostly Japanese-language YouTube channel called Gaming Curiosities.
this week’s forecast
Tycoon☁️’s Mariojams invokes the visual aesthetic of the 3D classic Super Mario 64 to deliver a jazzy late night lo-fi album with track names referencing TV weather forecasts.
it does, in fact, feel like watching The Weather Channel circa 1990.
GODSPEED 音 released 情熱の追求 this week, a 14-track smooth jazz, barber beats album that maintains the darker ambiance barber beats are known for without shying away from some funk and even pop, producing a rare danceable barber beats release.
✌ SAMSUNG MANHΔTṪAN ✌ graced us with two releases this week after not publishing any music since 2016. i’ve said it before and i’ll say it again: vaporwave is experiencing a resurgence.
the first is a four track EP called ラストダーク, which features two songs, and two versions of each. all are classic eccojams, though the third and fourth are particularly notable for prominently featuring a funk bass.
the second release, 私を抱きしめて, is a two track single in which the first track is a sped up version of the second. the songs plunder heavily from Hold Me Tight by Rajie, a early city pop release from 1977.
rawr xD so randomzzzzz
merrychristmas1999.neocities.com is a very silly joke.
thank you for joining me. until next time.