Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

Happy New Year From The Azn Badger!

Pictured: A candid photo of the Azn Badger making mochi for New Year's while wearing his "Hapa" shirt.

I don’t know about the rest of you out there in the blogosphere, but New Year’s eve at the Azn Badger’s house is a day of tradition.

Not of the Japanese variety mind you, with the eating of soba and ozoni, and once a year praying to the shinto gods and what not.

No, the traditions observed by the house of Badger are what you would call “Hawaiian Japanese” in nature.

That is to say, much trashy food is prepared and consumed, and much television, equally trashy in nature; is watched while battling food comas on the couch.

An example of this evening’s programming:

Spam Musubi + The Soup = New Year’s bliss.

New Year’s Eve is a day of feasting and family in the house of Badger, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Every year, the Azn Badger and his mother work together to craft exquisite meals fit for the finest of palettes.

The centerpiece of said meals, is Spam Musubi.

I could eat this every day. No joke.

For the uninitiated, Spam Musubi consists of rice and seaweed wrapped around a slice of spam.

Some families use vinegar in their rice ala traditional sushi rice, however the house of Badger prefers to keep it’s rice plain.

Anyway, if you’ve never had one, you’re missing out.

Next up, mom makes her Chinese Chicken Salad, which is very likely not Chinese in origin, but is sweet, cleansing, and delicious all the same.

Pictured: The only remotely healthy thing on the menu for New Year's Eve...

Truth be told, I think this is the only New Year’s Eve dish we make that the Azn Badger’s brother can stand to eat.

He’s always been big on salads, but surely everyone knows…

Finally, the Azn Badger and his mom tag team to make microwave mochi with red bean paste.

Yeah, we're too cheap to buy a mochi maker, and too lazy to make it the old style. Microwave is best...

It’s kind of messy to make, (especially when the Azn Badger gets overzealous with his takakuriko AKA potato starch) but it always feels nice to commit to making mochi at least once a year.

It’s a healthy annual ritual y’know, burning your hands in the name of making tasty treats for others to enjoy.

Anyway, this time around we made reddish pink mochi, not my favorite color; but it all tastes the same regardless.

The last real New Year’s Eve tradition in the house of Badger, is that of placing okasane (mochi stacks with tangerines on top) in our living room and cars.

Pictured: The okasane in The Azn Badger's living room.

Mom says its good luck, so we all do it on New Year’s Eve, even if it’s only for a few minutes.

I don’t know what the symbolism of the okasane is, or what it’s significance is; but mom says it’s important, so we do it…

Anyway, hopefully you all are having as fun and relaxed a New Year’s Eve as I am.

Here’s to gaining 20 pounds tonight, and spending all of the coming year working to lose it!

To new beginnings, and hopeful futures!

To getting a better job and never having to work in a -20 degree freezer ever again!

HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM THE AZN BADGER!!!

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Azn Badger’s Top 25 NES Tracks, #15-11

After 2 days and 10 tracks of preliminaries, today we finally get to the real meat of the Top 25 NES Tracks!

That’s right folks, today we’ve reached: THE MIDDLE-TIER.

 

Pictured: The Middle-Tier.

 

That being said, what say we get to the crazy-awesome music, eh?:

#15. Shadowgate

“Main Theme of Shadowgate”


Shadowgate represents one of the very few point-and-click adventures that I ever really got into.

You remember that one scene in the movie Big where the young Tom Hanks character gets pwned by the wizard for attempting a seemingly logical course of action?

Hey, I would've said "melt wizard" too if I were playing...

Well, for the most part; that scene was indicative of my experience with adventure games as a child.

In fact, pretty much every graphic adventure game made prior to the revolutionary LucasArts SCUMM interface was simply too cryptic for me to grasp.

Shadowgate, while indeed released sometime after Maniac Mansion and it’s SCUMM system, was a graphic and text based adventure game that really drew me in, clunky interface and all.

I find it's always a good idea to "Hit" EVERYTHING. Y'know, just in case...

While most of my memories of the game were of dieing seemingly unfair, and unwarranted; deaths, I honestly never felt any frustration over this.

Shadowgate was a game that set out to be creepy and moody, and in the eyes of my very young self; it accomplished this in spades.

Playing a huge part in this accomplishment, was of course the haunting soundtrack of the game.

While there actually weren’t that many tracks to be heard throughout the course of the game, the overarching “Main Theme” of Shadowgate was a track that you never got tired of.

Equal parts foreboding, energetic, and mystifying; the “Main Theme” of Shadowgate is a wonderful piece of gaming music that, once heard, will never be forgotten.

Especially when you’ve died to it 40 billion times…

40. BILLION. TIMES.

#14. Super Dodge Ball

“Doppleganger Match”


Super Dodge Ball is yet another SUPREMELY BADASS effort from the folks over at Technos.

Like many games on this list, Super Dodge ball was a game that my brother used to rent quite frequently.

I remember getting my ass pwned by him in Bean Ball games over and over and over again, largely because, like any good older brother; he never taught me how to do the Super Shots.

Kind of hard to tell from the pic, but those 2 guys in the air? Yeah, they just got knocked across the ENTIRE FUCKING PLANET with a dodge ball.

Anyway, Super Dodge Ball was a crazy-fun game, that while a little bit too easy for it’s own good, played host to one of the coolest final battles in NES history.

Essentially, the final match of the game has your team USA pitted against the COMMUNIST and therefore, EVIL dodge ball team from the USSR.

After a (presumably) epic match, the sky suddenly turns a devilish shade of purple while the court is occupied by dopplegangers of your team!

EPIC.

Despite the game being based around fucking dodge ball, for whatever reason I thought this final battle was just about the coolest thing ever when I first saw my brother get to it.

Maybe it’s just ’cause I was there to see and listen to it with my brother, but this match, and this piece of music will always stick with me as one of my favorite NES boss themes.

#13. Bionic Commando

“Area 1 Theme”


Bionic Commando was a great ass game that I wish I had gotten a chance to have played more of as a kid.

I loved the main character’s design, and his bionic arm, so much so that I used to draw him on my place mat in elementary school.

No, you don’t get a pic for that one…

The problem was, I only ever got to play the game when I was at my neighbors house across the street, however most of the time I’d get kicked off the NES so they could play Sid Meier’s Pirates.

Arr!!! Shiver me timbers! Yo, ho! A Pirate's life for... I fuckin' hate pirates...

That being said, I never really got much of a chance to get very far in Bionic Commando.

Thankfully, all I had to do was play the first stage to hear the best piece of music in the whole game.

“Area 1” is a very primitive sounding, (even by 8-bit standards) but extremely well composed piece of music.

With a military-ish cadence, and a heroic melody, “Area 1” is a terrific track that is well-deserving of the #13 spot on this list, as well as the honor of being considered the theme music for the entire Bionic Commando franchise.

#12. Adventure Island 2

“Boss Theme”


C’mon now, don’t tell me you thought I’d leave out Master Higgins?

Adventure Island was one of my favorite game series as a kid, and in my opinion, 2 was easily the best in the series.

As previously mentioned, the “Boss Theme” of Adventure Island 2 is fuckin’ badass, so much so that it got my nod as being one of the Best Boss Musics in gaming.

That being said, among purely 8-bit competition, the “Boss Theme” of Adventure Island 2 is definitely deserving of a place on the list of the Top 25 Best NES Tracks.

I love the build up of this track, how it starts out slow, then explodes into a frenetic cacophony of kooky, island-y badassery.

It’s the perfect piece of music for killing giant plants and or crabs to.

Or better yet, CONQUER THE WORLD TO!

#11. The Legend of Zelda

“Overworld Theme”


*Ahem!* Fanboys… You may suck it.

That’s right kids, the “Overworld Theme” from The Legend of Zelda didn’t crack the Top 10!

While it may seem blasphemous to some, bear in mind; this is my list, and as such, it caters to my particular tastes.

Pictured: My Particular Tastes.

That being said, I didn’t place Zelda and Final Fantasy where I did for the sake of being cruel, or worse yet; “counter-culture,” I simply did so because there’s a shit ton of other music tracks out there that I genuinely hold in higher esteem.

Now that I got that out of the way, let me say this:

The “Overworld Theme” is a beautiful piece of music.

Despite it’s 8-bit nature, the “Zelda Theme” has gone on to grow well beyond the realm game music and become widely regarded as a classic tune worthy of universal praise.

While all that may be true, it doesn’t change the fact that virtually every memory I have of The Legend of Zelda is a bad one.

Getting lost, killed, and just plain frustrated was the order of the day just about every time I played Zelda, and I’m sorry to say, it’s left me negatively biased in regards to it.

The “Zelda Theme” is a great piece of music, that I listen to on my Ipod every now and again, and enjoy a great deal.

Unfortunately, it’s also an older arrangement of the 8-bit days, and as such, it leaves a little to be desired in terms of the fidelity of the music.

While skillfully composed, the “Zelda Theme” still hasn’t really lived up to it’s potential in my eyes, and has yet to have a proper rendition to capture the full glory of the music.

And that, my friends, is why the “Overworld Theme” gets dumped in the #11 spot on this list.

Oh yeah, that and there’s exactly 10 other pieces of music I think are better.

Duh.

Well folks, today we cleared the middle-tier of the list!

Tomorrow we’ll be cracking the Top 10, and with 2 classic tunes of gaming history already ranked unusually low,  there’s no telling what’s coming up next!

Filed under: Games, Movies, The Top 25 NES Tracks, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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