Oh where, oh where has your little Joe been

Firstly,

I’d like to apologize for my absence. Though my followers are few, you’re my followers.

My youngest child was born unexpectedly at the end of June (5 weeks early!) and my life got pretty busy for a while!  My wife and baby are both healthy. Her big sisters are all super proud, as am I… for the strength and fortitude they showed through a slightly bumpy ride.

That being said,

I am going to make a better attempt at writing posts!  There’s been a lot of good going on in my life, and I’ve got a lot to share!

I’ve been playing a lot!

My acoustic shows have been plentiful and full of great crowds of people. I’ve had more people coming to ME for bookings, as opposed to having to seek them out myself.. Which is great!!

I’ve begun teaching

my wife, mainly, to play guitar! She’s a fantastic singer, and she also wants to take on the role of a solo performer. We’re also working on building a nice, completely mobile, 2 channel recording rig, that can be used in studio, or live performances… but more on that later!

I’ve been trying

to push myself back into the world of social media… I’ll be posting some cover videos and even some of my original music, as I get situated with everything..

That being said:

Thank you all for hanging out and not writing me off yet!!  I am going to make a real attempt to update this weekly.. I doubt I’ll have time for daily posts, but we’ll see what the future brings!

As always, thank you, and have a great day!!

 

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Musical Inspirations Vol. 2: Nobuo Uematsu

I know what you’re thinking: Who the hell is that?

Nobuo Uematsu is famous for his composition/arrangement works with the video-game company Square. He wrote most of the scores for over 30 of their games, including the core Final Fantasy franchise.

Also keyboard player for “The Black Mages” a group that took music from the franchise and turned it into a rock band.

Okay, but what does that have to do with you?

Glad you asked.
I try to find inspiration in every kind of music I listen to, and some of the best music I’ve ever heard has been written in video-games!

Don’t believe me? Can you recall the music from the classic NES game Super Mario Brothers? I bet you can. How about any music from The Legend of Zelda.. It’s iconic.

Personally, Nobuo is the reason I managed to figure out how to finger-pick on an acoustic guitar, and I’m honestly not too bad at at!
Specifically this piece of music:

It’s a beautiful piece of music and unless you know it’s from a video-game, you would never think otherwise.

His music is very technical and interesting. I think I hummed the boss theme from FF8 all the way through my 8th grade year of school, because it was such a memorable piece of music.

Then there’s the mighty symphonic “One Winged Angel” which sits near and dear to any RPG nerds heart.

I saw an interview once where Uematsu explained the writing process. It wasn’t meant to just be a symphonic piece. It was written in a way that it could also be a Rock piece. A perfect bridge between the big band style & the modern era heavy metal.

Isn’t that beautiful? I sure think so.

Being a long time band-geek has its advantages,

Through my early years of a musician, I learned how to listen to a massive group of people playing instruments, and being able to isolate each individual part, in my mind.

It’s one of the reasons I love modern progressive rock. There is SO much to listen to, I can sit and get lost in the music, without being bored with repetition.

People who arrange pieces of music like this, are the types you should be listening to. They are smart about writing. They know how to take an idea, and implement it through a whole arsenal of tones and sounds.

 

So, I challenge you:

Next time you’re listening to music. Actually listen to the music. Don’t idly drone words and zombie your way through albums. People put every single detail into a song, for a specific reason. It’s our duty, as fans, to find those details and appreciate the beauty of what’s been written for our entertainment. Really think about the way the music feels.

If we had more people like that in the world, music would be a hell of a lot more fun to write!

 

Thanks for reading! I hope you’re all enjoying this look into my musical inspirations, as much as I am!

I can’t figure this out…

This isn’t so much a post, as a “How the hell am I supposed to do this?!”

I absolutely, for the life of me, can not figure out how to get my site to properly display my Twitter feed….

I’ve tried the widget, I’ve tried direct HTML, I’ve tried everything!!

How the heck does it work?! Help!!!

What’s damaging the gaming industry?

I saw a post (and lost it… sorry) edit: I found it!  about how modern gaming is rubbish.

I kind of agree, but for my own reasons.

1. The technology has plateaued 

You can only make things SO detailed.  From the NES’s 8 bit graphics to the SNES 16 bit graphics, you saw a 200% difference, in the quality of graphics. Now, by today’s standards that would be incredible, and totally unlikely. From there, you got the N64, that was 64 bit graphics 400% different from the SNES. You don’t see that kind of technology jump, in today’s world. So, right there, I’m less excited every time a new system comes out.

2. Too many sequels

Look, I love a good sequel, as much as the next guy, but seriously, stop. You’re beating a dead horse… For example: I loved the Metal Gear Solid series. I think they managed to make a few good sequels to a great story (talkin Metal Gear on the NES) and honestly, 4 is too many, but MGS4 would have been a great way to conclude that story. Don’t make a totally different sidequest about Raiden… Don’t make cell phone games and bs like that! Which brings me to my next point:

3. Microtransactions & Cell Phone gaming

Every time you spend money on a game of Angry Birds, my soul dies a little.  In my honest opinion: This is what’s killing the gaming industry.  Game developers found the jackpot, and it’s micro-transactions. Now you are no longer catering to gamers. You’re developing similar kernel apps, that have slightly different interfaces, and marketing them to the soccer mom who’s bored at a game, or the college kid who’s bored between classes. They’re sacrificing quality and the respect of their art, for a simple money making gimmick.

Now, it’s bleeding into our gaming consoles, in the form of DLC.

Do you remember the last time you bought a completed game? I sure don’t… Pretty sure it hasn’t been since the PS2, Gamecube, and original Xbox. Developers have gotten lazy. They’re selling you an incomplete product, at full price, so you can go home and download hours of updates, taking up precious space on your Hard drive.

It’s like going to a car dealer, and them selling you a car, but saying “You can go ahead and pay us full price. Oh, by the way, that car is missing it’d starter, you can tow it home, and we’ll send you the part in the mail.”

You wouldn’t do that.. because it’s criminal.

Am I making sense? Or do we just not care anymore?

4. Games aren’t challenging enough anymore. 

For the longest time, I could have sworn Battletoads (RARE, NES) didn’t have a damn 4th level. I come from a time where kids were taught to work hard, and if you fail, try again and again. The concept that “practice makes perfect” has been perverted by ‘participation awards’ and.. what? “Spend 20$ to unlock everything in the game”? That’s nonsense.

Anywho, those are my thoughts. What do you think?

Response to: Modern Gaming Is A Bit Rubbish – Some might call this a rant — I Played The Game!