High Scores: Forest Interlude

An “interlude” is a short piece between acts in a play. More broadly, it’s any piece in the middle, without a real connection to the main events of the narrative. This is the last entry in this column, but it’s not the last I’ll write on video games and the music that makes them magical.

High Scores: The Moon Theme

By imitating the Atari sound in its first two bars, then layering on bass harmony and finally adding percussion once its loop begins in earnest, “The Moon” captures in microcosm the Cambrian explosion in expressive potential between the second and third console generations.

High Scores: Storm Eagle

The track, “[Desert] Storm [Bald] Eagle,” sounds almost comically American to me, as if the Japanese composer, Makoto Tomozawa, were parodying the music at an early ’90s American airshow. It sounds like Guns ’n’ Roses sounded in 1993, after grunge and hip-hop had absorbed heavy metal’s countercultural cachet.

High Scores: Winter (The Wind Can Be Still)

The title is a lovely paradox; wind is a symbol for change, the only constant in life, but even the wind stops blowing sometimes. It may not be often (as “Can” suggests), but change does stop changing occasionally. In a present where every day seems to reveal some new, horrifying political development, the song’s statement is deeply intoxicating.

High Scores: Ice Cap Zone

While the tone of both songs is mournful, the story of their unlikely marriage strikes me as comedy, not tragedy. Something about the combination of the raspy masculine wound-licking in “Hard Times” and the bright cartoonish snowboarding in the Ice Cap Zone stages is deeply funny and strangely satisfying.