I’m working on a piece about NiGHTS for the next issue of Play.  NiGHTS, for the uninitiated, is a Sega Saturn game that came out in 1996.  It’s by the team that made Sonic the Hedgehog, and is a sort of … forgotten title in the mainstream gamer mind.

Play has a small retro section, so I suggested another look at the quirkly little platformer.

I hooked up my Saturn with a new S-Video cable and gave the game a go the other day, and then had Darren Lanning play it, too.  Darren’s not familiar with the game at all, and reading his reactions (which were very similar to Rachel’s first impression of the title) will certainly inform the article.

So, that’s the preamble to what this post is really about.

When I was in High School and College, I’d often drive out to Arlington Heights to the Yaohan (now Mitsuwa) shopping center, and thumb through the japanese cds looking for anything familar to purchase.  This was pre-internet, for the most-part; you couldn’t google like-minded forums and find out what Puffy album to pick up.  Or rather, I couldn’t.  The internet in ‘96 was so unfamiliar that I could barely check my email without getting lost.

Anyway, when at Yaohan, I’d usually grab a couple cds from an Anime I knew, or a game soundtrack that I was excited about.  These were like chiptunes compilations; think Street Fighter: The Soundtrack.  I’d also get giddy about Video Game Music Remixes.

Never buy a Video Game Soundtrack Remix.  Same with Anime Music Remixes.

There are a few exceptions to this rule, of course.  Beatmania, Dance-Dance, Racing Games — these are games where the soundtrack itself is often remixed within the game, so the retooled music isn’t off-putting.

But Street Fighter Remix?  No.  Secret of Mana the Remix?  Leave it on the shelf.

Lain Remix?  Throw it away.

And that’s not even speaking of “Image Albums,” which are Japanese tie-in CDs that feature dialogue or sound-effects.  The Ghost in the Shell Image CD is an hour of different guns fireing.  Really.

I mean, guns for an hour.  Imagine paying twenty-five dollars in high school … for that.

I was reminded of all this tonight as I downloaded an old copy of the NiGHTS soundtrack … remixed.  Skipping through the tracks and then deleting the score from my computer was a nostalgic trip down an alley of dissapointments.

The point is: the NiGHTS Remix really sucks.