Wednesday, October 8, 2014

MIDI Week Singles: "Temple Theme" - Zelda II (NES)

Title: Palace / Temple Theme
Game: Zelda II: The Adventure of Link
Developer: Nintendo
Release: 1987
Platform: NES/Famicom
Composer: Akito Nakatsuka 

I have payed tribute to Zelda II before on this blog-  Zelda II, the ignored stepchild of the Zelda series.  It was so formative, yet somehow not uniformly appreciated across the fandom.  For me, this game was an important part of my developing appreciation for the medium.  This was a game embraced by older members of my family, that validation resonating with me as oriented myself toward my future identity as #1 video game player in my home.

In my many hours I've played of Zelda II, I have heard the Palace theme rotate through countless times.  This song is something like one of those big singles from your childhood that triggers memories.  Songs like 'Born to Run' or 'Changes' or 'Back on the Chain Gang.'  But really, the Zelda II Palace theme is more like that particular Christmas recording my Mom always played.  The difference is the circumstances.  It is far less likely for me to run into Zelda II dungeon theme throughout my life.  I've heard those Top 40 Rock singles from my childhood a bunch of times in the intervening years.  But a lot of these video game singles not so much.  They were played on repeat for a period in my childhood, and then rarely revisited.  And then only by choice.  They weren't piped in at the mall or the bar.

I love this song.  I always think of going deep and deeper into a dungeon and not being sure if I'll make it out.  As I imagine the song- even without playing the file on my computer, I can hear different sound effects from the game:  The high-pitched, wobbly sound of Links blade striking something it can't hurt: a brick wall or the shield of an Iron Knuckle.  The low grinding sound of the Palace elevator, or the satisfying crunch of an enemy being destroyed, followed by the happy little trill of an item appearing.


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