I was looking through my collection the other day and found some interesting stuff in the CD booklet of the Mega Man ZX soundtrack, ZX Tunes. I first started thinking about translating this kind of stuff a very long time ago, but it was far beyond reasonable effort to read, given my skill level at the time. Well, here we are almost a decade later, and I guess now is the time.
The booklet of ZX Tunes contains an introductory essay by Hidekuni Shida, a professional writer. As far as I can tell, he was not directly involved in the making of the game or its music; the essay reads like an opinion piece / ceremonial address, more than anything. That said, I thought there were some interesting ideas there.
Translation note: The author utilizes a motif based around the fact that the Japanese word 技術 (gijutsu) can mean both “technique” and “technology”; he actually uses those specific English words to highlight the distinction at times, so I’ve chosen to bold them for emphasis.
I’ve rendered the names of people in western style but kept some game titles in romaji rather than official translations, for Reasons. Just in case, the Family Computer (abbr. Famicom) was basically the earlier Japanese version of the NES, and Rockman is Mega Man’s original Japanese name. (Sorry, the translation overall might read a little bit roughly, but I hope you can bear with me.)
The booklet also contains comments by game staff members regarding the individual tracks and the visual design, which I’ll be covering in later posts. Hopefully, materials from ZXA Tunes and Gigamix will follow.
by Hidekuni Shida
Game music is a time machine. When a melody you’ve heard before gets played, the memories naturally overflow. When a famous piece of game music rings out, at that moment, you remember that game. In what areas, with which characters, did we perform which actions… Together with the pleasant rhythms, our experiences of games of the past are recreated vividly within our brains.
I’m quite sure that if you’re fans of game music, all of you have this experience. For example, Gradius, Castlevania, Ninja Warriors, Xevious – even Super Mario Brothers has this. As those electronic sounds ring out, they recreate the game inside our brains. The excitement you felt while playing the game, the thrills you felt at the time – they come back to life along with the music. Why are our emotions so affected by this, I wonder? Could it be that there’s magic in game music!?