Being in the Main the Mouth of Olde House Rules

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Designing Music: Pits & Perils...

Yours truly loves music in its various forms and, not surprisingly, listens to quite a lot of it while working.  My older brother was a music fan since the age of eight and began an impressive vinyl collection that's only grown in four-some decades (trivia: he became a disk jockey of the internet type, although he's now retired); and he spun the soundtrack to my childhood right up through my gaming years.  Fast forward several decades and I'm writing games with my beloved and doing so to the music of my youth...

Now here's the funny thing: each project gravitates towards certain artists; again, a soundtrack.  Whether the oldies of Pits & Perils or the progressive metal of Red of Tooth, each title found something that captured its particular mood.  I won't even try to cover everything here, but maybe I'll start at the beginning with Pits & Perils:

ABBA: Super Trouper (1980).  Oh my god I love ABBA, and this album was an absolute masterpiece from the Swedish band.  Their fun, earnest sound remains a breath of fresh air in a world where bad things happen and a much-needed counterweight to my coarsened  tendencies.  I remember listening to On and On and On while absorbing the latest issue of Dragon Magazine (#48, with the Phil Foglio cover) back in the day.

BEE GEES: Living Eyes (1980).  I know, everyone thinks Disco.  But the Brothers Gibb enjoyed distinguished musical careers in the decades before (and well after) the leisure suit years.  Caveat: Main Course through Spirits Having Flown are all great albums, but their post-disco output was also excellent, starting with this gem.  I swear, just listening to He's a Liar brings back fond memories of my Grenadier and Ral Partha miniatures. 

TIME LIFE SOUNDS OF THE 70s (1989): Ten flawless discs covering pop hits from my favorite decade.  I was alive when A Horse with No Name (America) was a Top 40 record, so this stuff resonates big time.  From ELO to Jigsaw (you're a member of the old folks club if you remember them), this collection is solid gold for someone like your truly, just another relic from the pre-internet age (ironic, I know) when D&D was brand new.  

Observant readers will notice that two out of three are from 1980, a fact I'll very happily explain.  I started gaming in 1978 but wouldn't get my act together until Christmas of 1980, when Holmes Basic came wrapped under the tree.  It's timeless stuff, but I had a happy childhood on top of it all and have every right to feel nostalgic.  Now as it happens, music is the ideal medium for storing our deepest feelings, and when the time came to excavate gaming gold, the old stuff became a nuclear-powered time machine on steroids...