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Ninja Gaiden Composer Still Makes Great Music 25 Years Later

by Ron Duwell | February 3, 2015February 3, 2015 8:30 pm PDT

Ninja Gaiden

And no, we’re not talking about those Xbox Ninja Gaiden games either. Instead, we are kicking it back to the days of the NES when the blips and bleeps of “chiptunes” were the standard for video games, not a niche little genre of pure happiness.

Kenji Yamagishi held a job as a composer for Tecmo for quite some time cranking out the tunes for memorable hits like Ninja Gaiden, Tecmo Super Bowl, and other games which never made it to the states. Gitaroo Man also lurks near the bottom of his credits, so that should be all you need to know about this man’s credentials.

You would think that a man of his legacy would still be able to find easy work in the gaming industry, but video game music is a far different beast than it was back 25 years ago. Hollywood music scores are “in,” and crafting brilliant tracks within the limitations of a handful of audio waves is no more. Composers with those skills can just go home.

Limitations are for suckers, and nobody needs your sweet mixes anymore.

And that’s what Yamagishi did for a while. He retired from composing for a few years, but now he’s back and wants to show the world what he can do! In fact, some might even believe he is on the market for a job and has a sick demo reel to show he still has what it takes.

The revival of 8-bit stylized graphics and sounds has created a high demand for this skill set, one which has led to the return of other great composers from the early days of gaming, like Mega Man’s Manami Matsumae working on Shovel KnightYamagishi comes back to the scene launching a new album through Brave Wave called Retro​-​Active Pt. 1.

Several tracks have been made available for preview on the official pre-order site, and yes, they are everything you could hope for. Maybe he goes a little overboard in using one too many layers of audio, but I can easily see myself blasting through a 2D platforming stage as Ryu Hayabusa or Mega Man to this music.

Be sure to check out the album or even pick it up for the $8 asking price if you like what you hear. Who knows? Maybe you’ll be rocking out to his tunes in an indie game in the coming years.

Brave Wave US Gamer

Ron Duwell

Ron has been living it up in Japan for the last decade, and he has no intention of leaving this technical wonderland any time soon. When he's not...

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