February 16, 2013

Mega men.

I intimately know a Philadelphia-based band that plays video game music. If such a sentence doesn't excite you, please leave my website.

The band is Close to Good, and the music is the soundtrack from Mega Man III.

I've written about them before, in the salad days of February 2012. Back in high school, when the drummer was in a different band, I used to beg to hear "Werewolves of London" by Warren Zevon at all of their shows. They'd also cover a lot of Vengaboys..."a lot" meaning "the two hits we all know." Those were good times.

But this band is a little older, a little wiser, a little more serious. No more '90s pop; now it's all about recreating the beeps and boops that once emerged from an 8-bit console. Once upon a time they'd play "Those Who Fight Further" from Final Fantasy VII, but just one video game track apparently wasn't enough. Only a full album would do.

You may know Mega Man from such television programs as this:


But he's more than just a super fighting robot from a children's cartoon show. He's a virtual android-type boy who came to life on the Nintendo Entertainment System (or Famicon, if you're a stickler for details), birthed from the minds of a handful of Japanese designers at Capcom, with his own 4,000-word Wikipedia page.

And his series comes equipped with some of the finest music ever recorded for a video game. If you're a man between the ages of 24 and 35 who owned an NES, you probably know Wood Man's theme:


And now Close to Good has put a whole bunch of them to digital vinyl. Not to start sounding like a Time-Life commercial, but these are 22 of the most lovingly recreated tracks you'll ever hear. I was initially going to praise them for putting the songs in chronological order from a gameplay perspective, but if you're going to take the time to record an album of video game music you better be ready to go all the way.

They're far from the first ones to play video game music with rock band instruments, but they're the only ones that I know in real life. Look at the pure joy on these faces as they play the theme from the Gemini Man stage. I'm all for the creative outlet of writing, recording and producing your own original music, but there should also be time for the little things in life. Like a Dr. Wily medley.

So give the album a download; it's free! As it should be; I imagine Capcom has many lawyers on retainer and very deep pockets. And if you want to really impress me, video game-oriented rock bands, give this one a shot next:

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