NES Medley #2
Super Mario Bros 2 / Gimmick! / Final Fantasy I / Ninja Gaiden
Werewolf: The Last Warrior / Mega Man 3 / Battletoads / Mother / Ducktales

Download (MP3)

    In 2009, I had made a medley titled NES Medley #1 featuring 5 random NES tunes. The song flopped pretty badly on Youtube, becoming one of the most unpopular GaMetal songs, which isn't saying too much cause I wasn't very popular around that time (and still working on the whole popularity thing as we speak!).

Because of it crashing and burning, it took a whole 5 years for me to feel comfortable doing the sequal I had planned on doing (it was NES Medley #1 after all). Rather than choosing the songs myself, I decided to have some fun and run a Twitter contest for fans to choose the songs for the Medley, similar to the Mega Man Mega Medley, but this time around I would do a random drawing instead of the 'first 10 people to respond' tactic.

I had originally intended to only do 5 songs, but I felt it'd be more fun to get more people involved, so I upped it to 7. Right before I posted about the contest, I said screw it and decided to do 10, again simliar to the Mega Man Medley.

It was a bit of a gamble getting people to choose the songs, I was initially worried that the medley would end up being half Mario songs or something, but the GaMetal fanbase came through big time and had a lot of varied, good suggestions. There were a few I was hoping to see make it in, but regardless I knew I was going to have fun with whatever the results turned out to be. I had my fingers crossed for a good blend of mainstream and underground songs, and the drawing churned out exactly that.

The songs chosen were the following (as they appear in the medley):

1. Overworld (Super Mario Bros 2)
2. Good Morning (Gimmick!)
3. Aporia (Gimmick!)
4. Chaos Shrine (Final Fantasy I)
5. Unbreakable Determination (Ninja Gaiden) [I know it as Basilisk Mine Field]
6. Werewolf Form (Werewolf: The Last Warrior)
7. Gemini Man (Mega Man 3)
8. Ragnarok Canyon (Battletoads)
9. Fallin Love (Mother)
10. The Moon (Ducktales)

The song order was critical. When I'm away from home I'll scribble ideas that randomly pop in my head on a sheet of paper, and this was no exception.

The first thing I did was figure out a rough estimation of each songs tempo. I was presented with something horrifying: most of these songs had different tempos. Crap.

Unlike the Mega Man Medley, which was much easier to arrange because most Mega Man songs are either about 180 or 150 bpm, Here I had maybe a few matching songs, and a few songs that were just totally unique (The Moon). Of course, the option to just change the tempo is there, but I have a thing about not changing the tempo of a cover too drastically unless it just totally won't work with the GaMetal style (i.e. SMB2 Overworld). I ended up with 3 small groups of songs, and 3 songs with their own tempo (SMB2 Overworld, Good Morning, and The Moon).... again: crap.

Tempo aside, I had already decided on a few things. SMB2 Overworld was the perfect opener, and The Moon was the perfect closer. Also, because 2 Gimmick! songs managed to get in, I felt it best to have them side by side.

I had a pretty good image (sound?) in my head of how SMB2 was going to play out. The best song I imagined it going into was Good Morning. The marketing side of Jonny fought this, because I felt I'd be losing people going from a popular game like SMB2 into a relatively unknown game like Gimmick! (which, by the way, is an AMAZING game and I suggest you play it sometime). Musical Jonny eventually overcame the evilness of Marketing Jonny (marketing is a very evil thing, you know) and made me realize I need to do what's best for the medley.

The next few songs in the order were simple: I had already decided the Gimmick! songs would be together, and since Good Morning came first, Aporia would come second, which has the same tempo as Chaos Shrine and Unbreakable Determination. I had a good idea in mind for the transition from Aporia to Chaos Shrine, so I ended up with SMB2 > GM > Aporia > CS > UD (which I abbreviate on my paper as BMF because I always call it Basilisk Mine Field).

...and once again I was stuck. Now I had Werewolf Form (130 bpm), Gemini Man (120 bpm), Fallin Love (110 bpm), and Ragnarok Canyon (110 bpm). I used the Chess Master strategy and worked my way backwards, trying to figure out what would sound best going into The Moon. I had a good idea in mind for Ragnarok Canyon going into The Moon, but I didn't want Fallin Love to go into Ragnarok Canyon, so I tried transitioning out of Fallin Love into The Moon instead,

Ragnarok and Fallin Love were the same tempo so the transition between them is pretty smooth, so I decided all of that would work, leaving me with Werewolf Form and Gemini Man.

The decision to go from Basilisk Mine Field into Werewolf Form came entirely from the idea I had for the animation in the Youtube video. I rolled with it, and stuck Gemini Man after it. Originally I had recorded Gemini Man at 130 bpm (same as Werewolf), but I didn't like the way it sounded, so I slowed it down a bit closer to it's original tempo and liked it a lot better.

A solid arrangement was the most important part of this medley to me. Playing wise, most of the songs aren't too difficult with a few exceptions here and there. The most difficult song to play on guitar is Unbreakable Determination, there's some really tricky runs in there, good thing I was already familiar with it. SMB2 has some tricky parts in it as well.

There are some GaMetal songs that drive me a little bit (more) crazy, sometimes making me stay up till 5 AM working on them, and this is one. I think the hard work payed off. Thanks again to those who participated in the contest! We'll do one again sometime.

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