Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Where are they now? - David Govett

David Govett composed music for both Wing Commander and its sequel

I unfortunately don't have too much information on the next person to feature on Where are they now? although if you haven't heard of him you've probably heard his music at the very least. This week I'd like to talk a little bit about David Govett who in the gaming world is probably best known for his game soundtracks from the early 90s (usually in collaboration with Team Fat, a group led by George "The Fat Man" Sanger that was formed in 1983).

Govett got into composing music at a young age and it was all thanks to the awesomeness of Star Wars. He learned music theory at school and college and eventually in 1987 is credited for composing music for the legendary Lucasfilm adventure game, Maniac Mansion. According to Mazedude (a prominent VGM remixer), Govett composed Bernard's Theme in Maniac Mansion which happens to be a pretty funky tune - but then again, a lot of the soundtrack was pretty damn funky.

Then there was a gap of a couple of years before there was a flurry of game soundtracks that he composed music for, over 30 in the 1990s by MobyGames' count! Govett composed music for epic space sims Wing Commander and its sequel Wing Commander II, strategy games Castles and Castles II, classic dungeon crawler Ultima Underworld, sci-fi turn-based strategy game Master of Orion and the horror puzzle game The 7th Guest (just to name a few).

It was awhile before Govett composed music again for a game which would occur in 2003 when he composed music for Disney's Piglet's Big Game. Since that time, there hasn't been much word about Govett although, again, according to Mazedude, he's been serving as a police officer in recent years because he found it to be less stressful than composing game music.

So we really don't have any idea unfortunately of what David Govett is up to nowadays and if the last comment is true, it's unlikely we'll see him ever composing music for games again - although he seems to have a knack for scoring epic soundtracks no doubt thanks to being influenced by great film composers such as Alan Silvestri and John Williams. Here's hoping he gets back into it someday!

[ American Pixels - David Govett ]
[ A 2003 Interview with David Govett (VI Control Forum) ]
[ MobyGames: David Govett ]
[ The Fat Man: Official Website ]

Monday, March 2, 2015

Choicest VGM - VGM #171 - Wing Commander: Privateer - Main Title Theme

Soundtrack composed by: Laura Barratt, Marc Schaefgen and Nenad Vugrinec

2669, Gemini Sector, Troy System...
The Terran Frontier...
Between the Kilrathi Empire...
And the Unknown.

This is how one of my favourite games of all time starts - the space trading sim Wing Commander: Privateer. In the intro, your character, a nameless trader, is ambushed by three pirates but you actually manage to handle the pirates quite well, eliminating all of them despite flying an obsolete Tarsus trading ship (the ship has CRT monitors obscuring your view for chrissakes!).

Accompanying the intro is the music you can hear in the video. It has a mixture of mystery and adventure all rolled up into what has become (for me) a very memorable intro theme. The themes you hear in the intro are also often played in the rest of the game, so keep an ear out for them over the following weeks as we explore this gem of a soundtrack (despite the fact the original basically consisted of just MIDI).

Thanks to C75 and WCNEWS for providing these memorable tracks.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Spotlight Sunday - Week 10 - 2015

Spotlight Sunday is a way for Choicest Games to feature PC games that are scheduled for release on the following week - games that we consider worthwhile checking out.

So which games do I think are worth checking out next week (2nd Mar to the 8th Mar 2015)? There's only two this week and there's a bit of a historical theme going on for next week's picks :) :

Pre-Civilization Marble Age

  • Release Date: 4 March 2015
  • Availability: Steam (Not available for pre-order), Direct for $13.30
This seems to be a mobile game that is now coming to Steam and while the interface looks rather bright and colourful, it's apparently a historical strategy game set between 4000BC to 1000AD. The game seems to be primarily menu-driven with a lot of sliders and numbers, so it'll probably be more like an advanced game of Hamurabi.BAS than anything else, which will most likely put a lot of people off this game but if the developers are true to their promise of needing to survive through 100 historical events, it could be interesting. It all depends on how much it's going to cost too and considering it's $13.30 AUD on the developer website, I'm guessing it'll be $10 USD on Steam.

Vietnam '65

  • Release Date: 5 March 2015
  • Availability: Steam (Not available for pre-order)
And here we are with yet another historical game and this one happens to be a turn-based strategy game which uses the good ol' hexes. Set during the Vietnam War, your goal is to fight a counter-insurgency campaign to secure the Drang Valley. You'll be going up against the Vietcong (VC) and North Vietnamese Army (NVA). Besides the usual military units you'd expect to command in a game about the Vietnam War apparently you also have to worry about a "Hearts and Minds" campaign too - i.e. winning the local populace to your side, which you rarely see in these kind of war games - well at least I think it's rare, I'm by no means an expert :).

Like Pre-Civilization Marble Age, this game seems to also be a mobile game (or at least a tablet game) so keep in mind there may be questions as to how much depth there will be, but it might have just the right amount for players like me.

So are you interested or excited about any of these PC games being released next week? Which games are you looking forward to?