According to The Los Angeles Times, Comcast, the nation’s biggest cable company, is in talks to buy NBC Universal. While there has been speculation over the future of NBC Universal, it is far from certain what will happen next. It’s possible that you’ll be seeing a change of ownership of your favorite NBC Universal shows like “Heroes,” “Battlestar Galactica,” and the whole SyFy channel.
Speculation that GE may be looking to unload NBC Universal has heated up as of late in part because the French conglomerate Vivendi, which holds a 20% stake in the entertainment unit, may look to unload its interest before the end of the year. There have been questions raised as to whether GE — which has first dibs on the Vivendi interest — could muster the $4 billion – $5 billion needed to buy back the stake
In a story full of scenarios, The Times makes a very interesting comics-related point. It may turn out that Time Warner, owner of DC Comics, could be in the best position to be the ultimate buyer of NBC Universal.
or whether another company such as cash-rich Time Warner or Comcast would step in and buy it.
This isn’t the first time that Comcast has made such a bid. Five years ago it attempted to buy Disney for $54 billion. The article states that:
NBC parent General Electric has often denied that it is interested in selling its entertainment holdings. Of course, if history is any guide, Comcast doesn’t necessarily wait for an invitation before making a play. Five years ago it made an unsuccessful run to buy Walt Disney Co. for $54 billion.
What will this mean for some of our favorite shows, only time will tell.
I was able to dig this up for you guys, really this one is killer, enjoy.
By Graeme McMillan
If there’s one thing that this week’s premieres of Heroes and Smallville collectively proved, it’s that television really shouldn’t try and tackle superheroes. Here’s even more proof why – as well as some rare examples of when it does work.
With one word, Billy Batson becomes the World’s Mightiest Mortal… but that’s about the most believable thing in this series, which creepily featured the underage Billy traveling around the country in an RV accompanied by his “mentor” and occasionally talking to the gods who gave him his powers, who all happened to be badly-animated cartoons. Add in Billy or Captain Marvel helpfully telling you the moral of the episode at the end each week, and you’ve got a recipe for a dull show enlivened only by the size of Billy’s hair.
Electra-Woman and Dyna-Girl (1976)
I’m not really sure this one needs any explanation as to why it’s on the list, once you’ve watched the video.
The Amazing Spider-Man (1977)
In which television revealed the truth about Marvel’s favorite superhero: He looked kind of ridiculous. This short-lived series also missed the point of the comic book altogether by not using any of the character’s famous supervillains, instead giving him ninjas and terrorists to fight. What was the point of that?
Legends Of The Superheroes (1978)
No expense was spared on bringing DC’s biggest name superheroes to the small screen in this live action version of Super Friends – well, unless you count the money that would’ve been spent on a good script. Again, proving that bad writing and poor special effects can overcome even the best intentions, this two-part series (The second episode of which was a celebrity roast of the heroes led by Ed McMahon. No, really) also featured a villain more diabolical than Lex Luthor: A laugh track.
Those Terrible Captain America TV Movies (1979)
We can just imagine the pitch meeting for these two TV movies: “So, we have the rights to Captain America – You know, the guy who embodies the American Dream and fought in World War II against Hitler? I’ve got a great take on him: We turn him into Evel Kinivel. And let’s get rid of that mask, too. Make it into a motorcycle helmet – That’s much more hep.” It could’ve been worse, we guess… We’re just not sure how.
The Incredible Hulk Returns (1988)
The original Hulk series was, if you ask us, one of the few superhero shows that worked – and that’s because they didn’t really treat it as a superhero show at all. When they revived the series a decade later and started pairing him with guest stars from the Marvel Universe, though…? Not a good idea:
(The Daredevil appearance in the next special, Trial of The Incredible Hulk, may be even worse; especially because they seem to have gotten the character mixed up with a generic ninja who happened to be blind.)
An attempt to spin the Superman movies into a weekly format, the Superboy series had sincerity going for it – Sincerity and the seeming inability to not try and drastically rework the series between seasons every year (Including recasting the lead role after the original Superboy asked for a raise around the same time as getting arrested for drunk driving), leading to a schizophrenic, uneven show let down by shoddy special effects.
The Flash (1990)
The Flash comic book may be populated with colorful villains, but the television show didn’t have the same luck (Mark Hamill’s Trickster, in the clip below, aside), presumably for budgetary reasons. Add in a leading man as stiff as his ridiculously over-sculpted costume, and it’s no surprise that this show only lasted one season.
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (1993)
Secret identities, colorful outfits, super powers, fighting crime… These guys count as superheroes, right? Maybe it’s our age, maybe our dedication to things like plot, dialogue and nuance, or perhaps it’s just our aversion to cheap monsters in anything that doesn’t actually involve Godzilla, but the long-running (and multiple-show-spanning: It’s on its fifteenth different title right now) series always seemed… well, almost unwatchably bad to us.
Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1993)
It’s a judgment call as to whether this show really deserves to be here. On the one hand, the Moonlighting-esque relationship between its leads was cute, and John Shea’s Lex Luthor was a lot of fun… But on the other, it was a show that struggled to come up with good ideas each week and often failed, leading to an episode where Clark married a clone of Lois, who needed to eat frogs in order to survive. Or something. And what was with essentially writing Lex out after one season, anyway?
Generation X (1996)
A pilot adapting Marvel’s X-Men spin-off, Generation X made it to air but never to full-series, meaning that the world was spared the low-budget high-concept struggle of teens having to live with their mutant abilities in a world that hated and feared them… because they couldn’t act.
Justice League of America (1997)
Possibly the ultimate proof that TV and superheroes don’t mix, this is another unsuccessful pilot that aired nonetheless, and features bad writing, bad acting, bad special effects, and some of the most literal – and most embarrassing – superhero costumes ever seen on screen. It’s like a landmark of fail.
Mutant X (2001)
Marvel’s short-lived television series about mutants that isn’t related to the X-Men at all oh no please don’t sue us Fox (They did, nonetheless) tried to swerve away from comparisons to the publisher’s successful mutant franchise by underplaying everything to the point of boredom. Even Generation X would’ve been better than this.
Birds of Prey (2002)
It had so much potential – Batman and Catwoman’s daughter teaming up with the former Batgirl to fight crime? Hello, high concept – but the execution let it down badly with shoddy writing, lack of direction and the mistaken idea that camp was better than character development. When something makes Smallville look subtle and nuanced, you know you’re in trouble.
The Ones That Didn’t Suck Batman (1966)
Almost everything about it is wrong – The cheap jokes! The ill-fitting costumes! Replacing Julie Newmar with Eartha Kitt! – but it all works nonetheless; Batman‘s 1960s incarnation may not be the best translation from page to screen, but as a weird totem of the era, it remains a classic.
Wonder Woman (1975)
We love Wonder Woman as a character, and this show may be a lot to do with that. While the comic version was having identity issues at the time this series was being made, the TV show took her back to her heyday, added the “let me twirl into my costume” and fittingly made Lynda Carter the star she should’ve been all along.
The Incredible Hulk (1978)
As we said above, the Hulk show worked despite its title character – Riffing on The Fugitive with an occasional need for a giant silent strongman, the show offered a completely different take on the character from the comics, and one that was arguably better.
Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1996)
When it comes to television series about people with magical powers, we don’t think we’re alone in thinking that Joss Whedon did everything right. Mixing just the right amounts of humor and tragedy into the supernatural and superpowered stories, Buffy is everything that superhero shows like Smallville and Heroes should be trying to emulate… if only they could drag themselves away from the superficial special effects and overcooked dialogue.
The Obvious Exceptions Anything animated
Yes, all of the above shows were live-action, and yes, we know that superhero cartoons have a long and proud history on television as well; we’re partial to some Justice League Unlimited, especially if Darkseid is the bad guy. But as much as adding animated series in here may have ruined the grade curve, let’s not forget things like this:
Talk about a poor week… Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs led the North American box office for the 2nd weekend while it seems that all the newcomers just bombed.
1. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs $24.6 Total: $60.0
2. Surrogates $15.0 Total: $15.0
3. Fame $10.0 Total: $10.0
4. The Informant! $6.9 Total: $20.9
5. Tyler Perry’s I Can Do Bad All By Myself $4.7 Total: $44.5
6. Pandorum $4.4 Total: $4.4
7. Love Happens $4.3 Total: $14.7
8. Jennifer’s Body $3.5 Total: $12.3
9. 9 $2.8 Total: $27.1
10. Inglourious Basterds $2.7 Total: $114.4
11. All About Steve $2.3 Total: $29.9
12. The Final Destination $1.3 Total: $64.6
ETonline has a behind the scenes look at Iron Man 2, including slow-motion scenes of Scarlett Johansson strutting in a tight outfit for like 2 seconds. See new footage, new carnage, explosions and hear from the entire cast.
Edward Norton may not be guest-starring in Iron Man 2, but Norton has an idea about when his gamma-powered alter ego should come back to movie theaters… and it’s one that will please old-school Marvel Comics fans.
In the comics, there was always a tension between [the Hulk and] the rest of the superhero community and he was always this problem… They treat him as this problem. I think that’s a fun way to go with it.
That’s a much more positive response than he gave to a similar question this summer, but that may be because Marvel Studios president has strongly hinted that the Hulk will likely appear in the movie. Here’s hoping he’s the unwitting foil of Thor’s half-brother Loki, as per the original comics…
Entertainment Tonight debuts some new footage from their Iron Man 2 set visit on Thursday, and they put out this brief teaser video, in which you can just glimpse the racetrack scene we’ve heard so much about — including a few split-second glimpses of Whiplash, and some flames.
According to Hollywood Reporter two more actors have been added to director Kenneth Branagh’s big screen Thor adaptation for Marvel Studios. Jaimie Alexander and Colm Feore join Chris Hemsworth, already cast as Thor; Tom Hiddleston, who plays Loki, the god of mischief who serves as the movie’s villain; and Natalie Portman is Thor’s human love, Jane Foster.
Jaimie Alexander is reportedly playing Sif, a skilled Asgardian warrior who can hold her own against any man and Thors ummm… other love interest. Alexander is best known as the character “Jessi XX” on 33 episodes of the TV series Kyle XY.
Feore’s character is apparently shrouded in mystery, the studio isn’t even sending the actors the script, oh the drama.
The movie’s story centers on Thor, a powerful but arrogant warrior whose reckless actions re-ignite an ancient war. As punishment, Thor is cast down to Earth and forced to live among humans. Once here, he learns what it takes to be a true hero when the most dangerous villain of his world sends dark forces of Asgard to invade Earth.
The new 3D animated movie based on a popular child’s book “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” won this weekends box office in North America on Sunday.
So sad to see how bad 9 is doing in the box office. It really was a neat movie.
1. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs $30.1 Total:$30.1
2. The Informant! $10.5 Total:$10.5
3. Tyler Perry’s I Can Do Bad All By Myself $10.0 Total:$37.9
4. Love Happens $8.4 Total:$8.4
5. Jennifer’s Body $6.8 Total:$6.8
6. 9 $5.4 Total:$22.7
7. Inglourious Basterds $3.6 Total:$109.9
8. All About Steve $3.4 Total:$26.6
9. Sorority Row $2.4 Total:$8.8
10. The Final Destination $2.3 Total:$62.3
11. Whiteout $2.0 Total:$8.4
12. Julie & Julia $1.9 Total:$88.4
I don’t know about you guys but it was a slow movie week for me… actually a slow everything week. With the con season wrapping up don’t miss out of getting these comic con exclusive shirts before they are gone forever!
Megan Fox, star of Jennifer’s Body, Transformers & Transformers 2, was recently on Conan O’Brien promoting her current flick, Jennifer’s Body. Now, I bet you are wondering what exactly that has to do with StylinOnline, aren’t you?
At last we have a long, action-packed trailer for December’s ultra-mega Ultraman movie, with multiple Ultramen and mega-monsters, called “Mega Monster Battle: Ultra Galaxy Legend The Movie.” The name says it all!
SCIENCE PATROL GO!
Mega Monster Battle: Ultra Galaxy Legend The Movie
Directed by Koichi Sakamoto
Produced by Tsuburaya Productions
Written by Keiichi Hasegawa
Starring Susumu Kurobe
Music by Toshihiko Sahashi
Editing by Akira Matsuki
Distributed by Warner Bros. Entertainment Japan
Release date(s) December 12, 2009
Hope you don’t rely too much on your local Blockbuster for rentals, because the company announced plans to close up to 960 stores by the end of 2010, Cnet reports.
A Securities and Exchange Commission filing has revealed Blockbuster’s plans to close up to 960 retail store locations by the end of 2010 as it attempts to makes its operation more financially stable.
According to the company’s filing, it plans to close all unprofitable stores, while refocusing its efforts “to improve four-wall profitability.” To do so, the company first analyzed its over 7,000 stores to determine if they were profitable or not. A whopping 18 percent of Blockbuster’s stores are unprofitable. The remaining stores are profitable.
Prior to making the decision to close some of its unprofitable locations, Blockbuster planned to close 280 to 300 stores as part of a grouping it calls, “normal closures.” Stores added to the “accelerated closures” category will also be closed by the end of this year. According to Blockbuster, the number of accelerated closures will equal 300 to 385 locations.
Next year will be a slightly less active year for store closures. Blockbuster indicated in its SEC filing that 2010 will bring 100 to 125 normal closures and 130 to 150 accelerated closures. By the end of 2010, it expects to have closed 810 to 960 retail locations.
As troubling as that might sound, Blockbuster spokesperson Randy Hargrove said in a phone conversation that a certain amount of measured skepticism should be exercised. According to Hargrove, these figures are not guaranteed.
“All these stores are candidate stores,” Hargrove said. “Although we may in fact close that many stores, if we can renegotiate leases or remodel stores to make them more profitable, that number might go down.”
But Blockbuster’s closure story doesn’t quite end there. Further down in the filing, Blockbuster indicated that 275 to 300 stores are subject to the company’s “lease mitigation/termination efforts.” Another 250 to 300 stores might be converted into outlets. If successful, that would bring Blockbuster’s grand total of rental store closures to 1,335 to 1,560, or up to about 22 percent of all the stores currently in operation.
Of course, there’s a financial side to Blockbuster closing so many stores. The company claims that if it’s successful in closing up to 960 locations, it can increase its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) by $50 million to $60 million.
Although Blockbuster plans to close several stores, the company’s kiosk business is expected to grow.
In a separate filing with the SEC, Blockbuster reported that it currently has 497 kiosk units available to consumers in the U.S. It plans to have 2,500 units available by the end of 2009. By mid-2010, it hopes to have 10,000 kiosks available to compete with Redbox.
Hargrove believes kiosks will help his company turn a corner. He pointed out that even though some stores will close, the company’s kiosks “will increase the points of distribution, thus getting our product in front of more people. This whole plan is part of a multiplatform strategy to get those additional points of distribution,” he said.
Although that might be a silver lining for Blockbuster, closing about 1,000 stores can’t be good for business. And considering the company’s stock price is hovering at about $1.40, while Netflix’s price is over $44 per share as of this writing, it might only spell more troubles for Blockbuster’s market appeal.
Unfortunately for Blockbuster, the bad news just keeps on coming.
A month after its launch, Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds” is showing no signs of running out of steam — particularly on the foreign front.
“Basterds” has turned out to be a sturdy foreign performer, this week becoming the 16th pic this year to go past the $100 million mark in international B.O. After bowing in 36 markets, the Nazi-hunting tale still has 26 territories in which to open, including Israel, Lebanon, Singapore and Spain this weekend.
After nearly a month in theaters, “Basterds” has topped $105 million domestically and finished third last weekend.
Tarantino has continued to promote the pic and received a warm response after introducing it at the Israeli premiere in Tel Aviv on Tuesday. Haaretz.com headlined, “Israelis Go Wild for Tarantino’s ‘Inglourious Basterds.’ ”
Producer Lawrence Bender and Austrian thesp Christoph Waltz, who portrays the pic’s key villain, also attended.
France has been the top “Basterds” territory so far with $18.9 million, followed by Germany with $17.3 million, the U.K. with $15.7 million, Australia with $9 million and Russia with $5.9 million.
Universal Pictures Intl. began the foreign marketing campaign with the world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in May and a focus on the international cast and storyline. Besides Waltz, cast includes French actress Melanie Laurent and German thesps Michael Fassbender and Diane Kruger.
Universal and the Weinstein Co. are equal partners on “Basterds,” with TWC handling domestic and U overseas. Italy opens on Oct. 2, Brazil and Mexico on Oct. 9, South Korea on Oct. 29 and Japan on Nov. 20.
“Basterds” will soon become the top Tarantino performer on both the international and domestic fronts. “Pulp Fiction” cumed $106 million internationally and $107.9 million domestically; “Kill Bill Vol. 1” cumed $110.9 million internationally vs. a domestic total of $70.1 million, while “Vol. 2” grossed $86 million overseas vs. $66.2 million domestically.
TWO POP CULTURE CONVENTIONS TO JOINTLY TAKE PLACE AT THE JACOB JAVITS CENTER
Norwalk, CT, September 10, 2009: Reed Exhibitions (RX), the organizers of the New York Comic Con (NYCC) and New York Anime Festival (NYAF) today announced that both shows will co-locate next year, with the 2010 installments of these events taking place at the same time and place, October 8-10, 2010 at the Jacob K. Javits Center in Midtown Manhattan. New York Comic Con, which last took place February 6 – 8, 2009, is the second largest popular culture event in America as well as the second largest public event in NYC. Since its inception in 2006 the show has played host to some of the greatest and most popular celebrities, creators and artists in the pop culture world including Neal Adams, Brian Michael Bendis, Stephen Colbert, Neil Gaiman, Stan Lee, Grant Morrison, Alex Ross, Kevin Smith, Art Spiegelman, and Joss Whedon, to name just a few. The next New York Anime Festival is September 25-27, 2009 at the Jacob K. Javits Center and includes guests such as Yoshiyuki Tomino — the Director of Mobile Suit Gundam — and Yui Makino — the voice of Sakura in Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle.
“Our decision to co-locate NYAF with NYCC is the final installment of a strategic plan to place and sequence our pop culture events in a manner that best serves the needs of our fans and exhibitors,” notes Lance Fensterman, Vice President of the Reed Exhibitions Pop Culture Group. “We are launching the Chicago Comic and Entetainment Expo (C2E2) in April 2010, and we have moved NYCC to a permanent October date, thus providing a spring and fall balance to these two key events which will remain in place as we move forward. Rather than create a third date for NYAF, it was decided a co-location would be better for anime fans, professionals, exhibitors, and partners. We spoke to attendees and exhibitors of both shows before making this decision, and everyone agrees that this will provide an opportunity for both shows to further grow and prosper.”
The jointly-held New York Comic Con and New York Anime Festival 2010 will occupy virtually the entire Jacob K. Javits Center in 2010. Both shows will maintain distinct guests and programming space and share a common show floor. And, more importantly for attendees, fans will be able to attend both shows for the price of one — as a ticket to NYCC 2010 will also provide access to NYAF 2010 and vice versa. “Co-locating NYCC and NYAF provides value, pure and simple,” Fensterman concludes. “We want to reach as many people as possible and this is clearly the best way to serve our audience and grow our events at the same time.”
For more information on NYAF, please visit www.nyanimefestival.com. For additional details on NYCC, please view www.nycomiccon.com. For the latest news about the Reed Exhibitions Pop Culture Group please follow the group’s official blog, www.mediumatlarge.net.
New York Comic Con is the East Coast’s biggest and most exciting popular culture convention. Our show floor plays host to the latest and greatest in comics, graphic novels, anime, manga, video games, toys, movies, and television. Our panels and autograph sessions give fans a chance to interact with their favorite creators. Our screening rooms feature sneak peeks at films and television shows months before they hit either big or small screens. And with dedicated professional hours, New York Comic Con is a market place, bringing together the major players in the entertainment industry. New York Comic Con is the second largest pop culture convention in America and the only one that takes place in the comic book, publishing, media, and licensing capital of the world — Gotham City. Further information can be found at newyorkcomiccon.com.
The New York Anime Festival takes place at the Jacob K. Javits Center in Midtown Manhattan and is organized by Reed Exhibitions, the creators of New York Comic Con. The New York Anime Festival showcases the best of anime pop culture, including the latest anime, manga, Japanese cinema, music, and games, and anime-influenced comics, animation, and films from around the world. The festival features exclusive and extensive screenings, a gala cosplay masquerade, sessions with the some of the biggest names in anime from Japan, Asia, and America, and explores the Japanese cultural experience with displays of both traditional and cutting-edge Japanese life. Further information can be found at newyorkanimefestival.com.
ABOUT REED EXHIBITIONS POP CULTURE GROUP:
The Pop Culture Group at Reed Exhibitions owns and operates the New York Comic Con (NYCC), the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2), and the New York Anime Festival (NYAF). New York Comic Con was launched in 2006 and quickly became a dominant presence in the pop culture world of public events. In 2009, 452 companies exhibited at NYCC for a total of 84,000 square feet of paid exhibit space, and it has been ranked by Crain’s New York Business as the second-largest annual event in NYC. C2E2, which will debut April 16 – 18 at Chicago’s McCormick Place Convention Center, is modeled after NYCC and will provide fans the opportunity to meet and greet their favorite writers, creators, and artists, as well as to see, hear and learn about the latest and greatest in comics, graphic novels, anime, manga, video games, toys, movies, and television. The Pop Culture Group also operates the recently-launched UFC Fan Expo in partnership with the UFC – the world’s leading professional mixed martial arts organization – and it formed a strategic partnership with Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) in 2008 and will work closely with PAX on the launch of PAX East in Boston in 2010.
Tyler Perry scored his second # 1 movie of the year for the North American box office on Sunday, and that’s all we will say about that (other that I’m not a fan)
Here is the Weekend Boxoffice Chart for the weekend of September 11th to September 13th.
1. Tyler Perry’s I Can Do Bad All By Myself $24.0 Total : $24.0
2. 9 $10.8 Total: $15.2
3. Inglourious Basterds $6.5 Total: $104.3
4. All About Steve $5.8 Total: $21.8
5. The Final Destination $5.5 Total: $58.2
6. Sorority Row $5.2 Total: $5.2
7. Whiteout $5.1 Total: $5.1
8. District 9 $3.6 Total: $108.5
9. Julie & Julia $3.3 Total: $85.3
10. Gamer $3.1 Total: $16.1
11. G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra $2.5 Total: $144.2
12. The Time Traveler’s Wife $2.3 Total: $59.0
Just when we thought we saw it all. We were ready to call it a day. It had an amazing weekend. We thought D23 proved to be everything you could have wanted from a Disney convention. We were wrong. Enter Kermit and the Muppets!
We swung by the Muppets panel and were floored by a few big announcements. First was, of course, that the Muppets are back and ready to rock. Here’s a few other tidbits from the panel.
Tiffany Thornton (Sonny With a Chance) will be doing a duet at the big Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with iconic Muppet, Kermit!
StylinOnline is all about style. Everyone knows that. But did you know that we have our very own STYLE MAVEN? No? Well we sure do. How do you think we stay on top of the latest trends and ahead of the curve? Enter Andie, StylinOnline’s very own Style Maven…
Andie jumped into one of the most popular events at D23. The Disney Princess make over. Lines we long. Girls were giddy with glee. Women were woozy waiting. Hands down, one of the most FUN you could have at D23. Check out the pics James snapped.
James Stylin hit the D23 Expo in SoCal expecting to see some cool stuff. Nothing prepared him for the AMAZING display for TV’s number one show LOST. From posters to props to you name it just take a look at the pics he snapped…
We’ve been thinking about D23, Disney’s very own conventions, all summer. A weekend of all Disney and Disney owned properties was sure to be something to behold. And let us tell you, after just a few hours we were pretty sure we NEED to set up and bring the StylinOnline Experience to D23 in 2010.
These are just the FIRST of a number of picture galleries we’ll have from the show. Check back and make sure you see what we saw…
Time for some fun with numbers! Wondering how your favorite comic book company is doing or how that summer comic blockbuster did? Well look no further, we have the numbers straight from the Diamond oven and ready to serve to you.
We’ve got some more Dragon*Con pics for you. We had a great time. The fans, as always were superb. Doing shows on back to back weekends is always tough but to go from Fan Expo to Dragon*Con was worth it. The costumes alone are worth the trio. Batman, Eureka, Dawn and more!
Found this list of the top 10 video game musical scores of all time, but I think it’s missing something so I added some of my own:
World of Goo
Medal of Honor
Castlevania Mega Man (series)
GTA – all of ’em, at least the modern ones
Twinsen’s Big Adventure / LBA
Shadow of the Beast
Alone in the Dark (original)
Anyway onto the other guys list… he seems to have spent more time is the ‘explaining’ why they are good part.
The echoing choral voices that open Halo’s theme are as instantly arresting now as they were nearly ten years ago when they first introduced the world to the adventures of Master Chief. One of the most iconic scores of any video game ever made, Halo roped in monastic choirs, glorious synth-work, Celtic-inspired drumming and dancing violins which proved to be the perfect backdrop to Bungie’s classic space opera shooter. One of the musical benchmark’s of its medium, the music of this fantastic franchise has rarely been bettered by any other game in the years since its first iteration was released.
From the very first Super Mario Bros. game, composer Koji Kondo’s bubbly, catchy theme has reflected the tone of the portly plumber’s adventures perfectly. 2007’s Super Mario Galaxy was the first Mario game to use a full orchestra and the resulting score is an astonishingly rich, eclectic and downright fun aural treat. The soundtrack reworks some of Mario’s most recognisable tunes, with all their jovial, almost childlike, frivolity and are as fun and enjoyable as they were twenty years ago. Many of the new compositions, however, are beautifully complex pieces that match the world you are exploring. From Gusty Garden’s soaring strings and the thumping drums of a spaceship assault, to the more understated work of the water and ice levels, Galaxy has a score fitting for one of the finest video games of the last decade.
As is fitting for a pitch-dark sword and sandals epic featuring a supernatural Spartan cutting a bloody swathe through most of creation, the score to the God Of War series is awash with stomping violins, swirling crescendos and militaristic percussion. The music surrounding the adventures of Kratos also blends in hauntingly quiet passages filled with old-world instruments and ethereal voices. The softer passages of the score are a much needed respite, because in its heavier moments, players may feel like they’re being hit over the head with an entire orchestra.
The second entry in Hideo Kojima’s epic series saw Hollywood maestro Harry Gregson-Williams take on composing duties. The result is spectacular. A forceful barrage of military bombast to match Solid Snake’s swagger. The lengthy cutscenes were given an injection of class and grandeur too. Kojima’s overblown tales have always striven for emotional resonance and with Gregson-Williams powerful score soaring, every now and then it touched its lofty goals. Anyone who reached the end of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, in particular, will know exactly what we mean.
Koji Kondo again, clearly a man with an ear for the iconic. Many fans would cite that inimitable jingle as Link opens a chest (Da-da-da-DAAAA) as the most recognisable strain of music in video games. It’s the more overarching work of Ocarina of Time that marks the Zelda score as one of the best, however. Again, Kondo’s skill at composing a score that paints a picture as clear as the one on screen is in full force. Most captivating of all is Zelda’s main theme; a bombastic, stirring composition that portrays adventure with every note.
American McGhee’s Alice
American McGhee’s adventure game based on Lewis Carol’s classic tale saw Alice arriving in a darker and deadlier Wonderland filled with sinister creatures, with danger lurking around every corner. This warped vision the world down the rabbit hole was complimented beautifully (if that’s the right word) by some deliciously macabre music courtesy of Chris Vrenna. The former Nine Inch Nails drummer sampled clocks, creaking doors, music boxes and toy instruments and then wafted them over a bed of nightmarish synths and spooky musical backdrops. It was the aural equivalent of a nightmare let loose in a nursery, and it went a long way towards immersing players in McGhee’s twisted take on Carol’s universe.
Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory
The Splinter Cell games have always been known for containing music that creates just the right amount of atmosphere for an espionage thriller without being too intrusive. However, the music for the third instalment, produced by Ninja Tune drum & bass wunderkind Amon Tobin, upped the ante in every respect. The music in Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory hung menacingly in the background as Sam Fisher sneaked around in the shadows, and then leapt to the foreground with jarring strings, snapping bass and vicious snare hits the moment he was on the verge of being spotted. Weaving in and out of the in-game action with frightening precision, Tobin’s score is easily one of the best of its medium, and was completely deserving of its separate release on CD.
Silent Hill (series)
Much of Silent Hill’s suffocating atmosphere can be attributed to Akira Yamaoka’s score. A curious blend of industrial clanks and melodic guitar pieces. Yamaoka weaves a terrifying tapestry into the gameplay itself, with the harsh thuds and screeches of the Otherworld shredding the player’s nerves. The themes, on the other hand, are beautifully haunting compositions, as thick and unnerving as the fog that surround the town. Yamaoka also worked on the sound effect that, when coupled with the soundtrack, create a quite exquisite cacophony.
Robyn Miller had already produced a stunning body of music for Myst by the time its sequel was released, but on Riven he really outdid himself. Miller established three musical themes for the main characters Gehn, Catherine and Atrius, and the eerie, haunting score moved and swam depending on where players were on the map; Gehn’s theme pervaded most of the island, highlighting his dominance of the age of Riven. Mixing synthesizers with organic instruments was another masterstroke, which resulted in a musical backdrop that felt both familiar and alien, thus aesthetically mirroring Riven itself. Miller’s work on Riven was a triumph in all regards and remains one of the best video game musical scores ever composed.
Final Fantasy (series)
Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu is one of the industry’s most revered and celebrated composers. From the simple 1980s synth of the first game to the poppy J-Rock and enormous layered symphonies of today, Uematsu’s work is easily identifiable. The simple composition that greets a player’s victory in battle is one of the most recognisable pieces of music in the industry.
Honourable mentions: Mass Effect, BioShock, Portal, Quake, Tetris, Flower, Sonic The Hedgehog,