Thank you very much - I’m glad you like “Mika”! My two musical inspirations for this song were Claude Debussy and Joe Hisaishi. I borrowed a lot of structural ideas from Debussy, and the “Ghibli” sound was very deliberate - the song was loosely dedicated to a friend who loved Totoro.
That friend (my roommate at the time) adopted a kitten named Mika, who was very sweet and shy, and she wobbled back and forth uncertainly when she walked. After a few months, she was diagnosed with a terminal illness. Her health faded quickly - first, she couldn’t jump, then she couldn’t walk, then she couldn’t eat.
I took care of her for a weekend, syringe-feeding her and keeping her close by. I was really upset about the whole situation and did what I often do when I’m upset about something: I went to my piano. I tried to paint a musical portrait of Mika. The uncertainty of her wobbly walk, the sweetness of her personality, and the love we all felt for her… She was put to sleep a week later.
I sent the song to surasshu without intending for it to be a collaboration - I just wanted to express my sadness to a friend. He asked if it would be okay if he “hugged” my piano with a little bit of chiptune. I didn’t think it would work at all, but I let him anyway! “Mika” became the first song of The Black Box. It’s a very special collaboration and the way the chiptune and piano fit together is quite unusual - but that’s another story for another time. :)
I’ve heard from some people that “Mika” sounds joyful and I’m glad that the song came out that way! That’s the Mika that I want to remember.
This is a huge feature on women in gaming and the games industry that Electronic Gaming Monthly ran. It contains interviews, editorial remarks, and general cultural information from the time period. It carries a lot of “90’s opinions” (in all the resonances that phrase could have) about women, but I think it is a huge historical resource and I would encourage people to share it around. Publications writing about women in games is not new, and this is something to point to in order to make that case.
I still remember this feature vividly. It was the point at which I paused and realized — whoa, EGM was more than just dudes vomiting up hundreds of screen shots of Japanese games.
More importantly, this article made me really stop and think about gaming stereotypes and assumptions, something that stuck with me. I remember the few girls and women on the gaming forum I frequented at the time being really excited about this piece, and talking about how much they identified with it. Ever since then, many of my perspectives on the medium have been shaped in large part by women in my life — friends, family, online associates, colleagues, role models.
I never take part in the online shouting matches about gender and games, because adding to the noise won’t accomplish anything except to make like-minded people pat me on the back. I don’t need it. I’m a straight white dude; this discussion shouldn’t be about me. I try to use my place in the press to create a positive impact in less dramatic ways: Giving writing gigs and assignments to women, advocating for protagonists and characters who aren’t stubbly white guys, and constantly praising games that allow anyone to express themselves.
Anyway, Lauren Fielder’s EGM feature from more than 15 years ago helped open my eyes to all of this. A great and essential bit of work, here.
The best official Castlevania art
OK, now imagine Richter singing a song, any song, with his voice from the American version of Symphony of the Night. Makes the heart hurt.
Some sketches and WIPs I forgot to throw up here.
Also, Shield Knight and Shovel Knight are now my favorite vidya couple. Sorry, robot husbands.
Has OCRemix ever hosted a music file that wasn’t just some sound mixing techno/trance rendition? There are multiple genres of music in life.There are multiple genres of music in life? Well… OTHER than the 127 chiptune, piano, rock, hip-hop, orchestral, ambient, R&B, jazz,…
What did the Japanese girl call her transformer brother?
I’m laughing on the train like an idiot
Dear Professor Oak, didn’t you say that there is only 151 Pokemon?
Professor Sycamore, didn’t you say that mega evolution may happen only in Kalos region?
My cosplay for Otakon. I decided to go as Star Man! It was a lot of fun. The people who did recognize me were so happy to see a robot master that no one ever cosplays. Star Man for the win! (And if you don’t get the rose reference, go read Hitoshi Ariga’s Mega Man manga!)
I do realize that since she’s an RL friend of mine now that I’m entirely biased, but it doesn’t matter; this cosplay was fantastic