S01E16: Attack of the Friday Monsters – A Pure Nostalgic Video Game Soundtrack
怪獣が出る金曜日 – Attack of the Friday Monsters: A Tokyo Tale
Listen here: https://music.163.com/#/album?id=34726532
Set in the 1970s, Attack of the Friday Monsters: A Tokyo Tale is a game about the childhood of a young japanese boy. Playing off a nostalgia that probably most westerners never lived through (1970s, Japan, the giant monster craze) the game some how grabs the player, unlike king kong scaring the hell our woman, the peaceful game is very reminiscent of Ghibli films and the like.
Partly why is because the video game is developed by Level 5, The developers of Ni No Kuni a game co-developed with the agreement of Toshio Suzuki (the preseident of Ghibli Studios). Ni No Kuni included the musical accompaniment, cut scene animation and more from the Ghibli Studio.
Which by the way, on Feb 10th, 2019 Warner Bros. Japan and Level 5 are working on a Ni No Kuni anime film coming summer of 2019.
In addition to Ni No Kuni, Level 5 has worked on familiar games like Professor Layton, Dragon Quest IX (9), Inazuma Eleven and more. So what happens when Level 5 developer, Kaz Ayabe, get’s a chance to work on his own game part of the Guild02 series? We get a wonderful childhood experience that is known as Attack of the Friday Monsters, light-heartedly packed with adventure, fantasy and a slice of life that anyone can enjoy.
Kaz Ayabe is best known for his game Boku no Natsuyasumi which actually plays a lot like Attack of the Friday Monsters. Living in a small japanese village, experience a youthful live in a slice of life game. There’s this awesome interview by Scroll.vg with Kaz talking about his childhood and video games he’s made. I’ll link it in the blog post of this episode on musicsthehangup.com
The interview: http://www.scroll.vg/extras/summer-vacation-confidential/
He talks about how Attack of the Friday Monsters started as an idea he posted on twitter. Recieption was convincing and the creators of the Guild02 series of video games as him if he wanted to add a game to the series. How excited that the game even was released outside of Japan, a first for him.
So Attack of the Friday Monsters is Japan March 13, 2013 and North America / Europe on July 18, 2013. Happy to see that his idea and creation come to life and the west had a chance to play it.
For those who haven’t had a chance to play the game, Attack of the Friday Monsters starts you off in a small village tightly contained with a tran station, hill side, small shops and a TV station. You’re boy named Sohta who’s parents own a laundry mat and every friday to your characters delight, are seen battling it off in the mountain side. With a little imagination and a decent story to follow it’s easy to start believing Sohta really lives in a time when monsters like Godzilla, Gamera, and Mothra exist.
The game is full of good humor mystery, nostalgia for childhood and a monster card battle system that takes this game from just being an hometown adventure to at least collection something and battle out keep us involved in the story. The main story only takes about 3 hours to play and I enjoyed every moment of it.
What really stuck out to me was the use of sound and music throughout the game. The game menu starts with a wonderfully orchestrated violin and guitar melody known as main theme (メインテーマ).
My favorite song in the game is titled Toll of Small Happiness, it’s first played when visiting your fathers laundery mat. A peaceful violin plays while the sounds a laundry swishing and water cleaning plays in the background. As the song ends we are played off with wonderful piano. Perfect.
As you walk through the town the sound of the train station, people talking in the background and birds chirping pull you in to this small village. The atmospher is set and it makes the town alive and as if you playing in an active world. It’s wonderful. As you get closer to object such as a train station the noise becomes louder. As you leave village to visit the outer woods the sound of people talking slowly fade away. Even the sound of yours and other footsteps truely capture each moment in the game with care
I want to point this out as I played this game right before Pokemon Omega Ruby. I found these small audio details so engaging that with Omega Ruby coming out, I was hoping Gamefreak some how would catch on to this style of audio enhancement. Unfortunately I was disappointed and almost turned off from using music in the pokemon game because of it. Attack of the Friday Monsters spoiled me. Why is it so difficult to add that extra sound detail to a video game these days?
As this game is about Monsters, a constant song you’ll hear is the battle music of the track, “Theme of Space Station Defence!”. It’s played usually at the TV station as well as when the mystery of the monsters are talked about. When the monsters do finally come out the epic song of “Cosmic Monster Comes Out” is played. A well orchestrated tune that plays over the battle and unveils the ultimate mystery of the game. The story tells you practically what’s to be expected but it’s fun to see the reaction to the friends and family you’ve learned to love while playing.
There’s a few bonus quests and of course you can always play the monster card game with your friends. How I wish there was an AOTFM part 2.
If you enjoyed this episode, go check out the game, Attack of the Friday Monsters is usually sold for under 5 USD on the 3DS and takes less than 3 hours to complete. The great thing about the game is you’ll be sucked in before you know it, finish it and wantiing to play it again. I actually completed the game 3 times now as it’s so charming. Almost a yearly journey to remind myself of simpilier times and how video games can take me back to childhood, even in a japanese world I didn’t grow up with.
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