Anybody ready for some retro sound?
Last year marked the 30th anniversary of the legendary Sega Mega Drive, the platform that supported some truly iconic games, including Earthworm Jim, Streets of Rage, and Sonic the Hedgehog. One of the most exciting things that came of these celebrations was the announcement of a plan to release a new version of the old console, the Mega Drive Mini, a downscaled tribute preloaded with games. Although the project saw some delays, the Mini finally hit shelves back in early October.
Today though, we’re looking at one more product released in memory of the Mega Drive, set to be available in December following neatly after the Mini. Coming over the horizon is a full size compilation album featuring tracks taken from the history of the Mega Drive, so if you’re into the gaming music it might be time to start making subtle hints to friends and family about Christmas presents.
The CD will be produced by ‘Sound Shock’, under the title of ‘Mega Drive Mini-Celebration Album’ which is certainly to the point if not a little blunt. The release is just around the corner (assuming there’s no delay this time), so now is an excellent time to start digging into the 13 tracks we’ve been promised.
As should be expected of this kind of CD, the songs are geared towards gaming fans first and music fans second. The bonus set of tracks organised by Sound Shock are presented by Yuzo Koshiro, Japanese game music composer, music programmer and president of the game development company Ancient. If that doesn’t sound impressive enough, gaming magazine Nintendo Power once called Koshiro ‘arguably the greatest game-music composer of the 16-bit age’, and Nintendo Power is something of an authority. What he brings to the album is essentially four different versions of the Mega Drive Mini’s menu music (the original is also included), so if you were thinking this album would be diverting too far from the source you were mistaken. Retro vibe was advertised and it’s certainly being delivered.
In front of these four tracks we have eight more, carefully handpicked from an impressive catalogue by the experienced Kei Takanishi. Takanishi is known for working with the legendary game magazine Beep, which would be sold with free ‘Flexi discs’; cheap, vinyl records small enough to be inserted into the back pages. These would each hold a few tracks of game music from days long past, and it’s drawing on his experience with these that Takanishi has selected eight perfect tracks. Put one point on your retro gaming test sheet for each one you recognise:
As a physical addition to the album you’ll also find a booklet with commentary on the music from both Takanishi and Koshiro, as well as some of Koshiro’s secrets on the topic of video game menu music.
There’s also a chance to pick up some merchandise released at the same time as the CD, namely some Sound Shock t-shirts and stickers, but the most interesting item is definitely the brand new Flexi disc produced by Beep which has two tracks from Koshiro. An excellent collector’s item, but at 3,500円 it’s actually more expensive than the Mega Drive Mini Celebration album itself, which comes to a reasonable 3,000円.
The album is available from Wave Master, Beep and the Sega store! Go and grab that retro fix.