Saturday, January 2, 2016

Great Video Game Music - Are You Kindey-ing Me - Surgeon Simulator

For a project that started off as a timed competition to make a functional game, Surgeon Simulator has become rather popular. Most of the popularity is derived from YouTubers who delight in playing the game and showing their frustration at the intentionally obtuse controls, wonky physics, and comical take on what actual surgery is.

Something that struck me while playing it however was some of the music, in particular, the track that plays during the game's second operation, a double kidney transplant.

"Are You Kidney-ing Me?" is a surprisingly tense song in a b-movie kind of way. The opening of the song is heavy, mechanical breathing. You might think that this is actually a sound effect of the game, but no, it's incorporated into the music itself. After a few seconds of it, ominous keyboards and a hard, electronic drum beat come into play. The atmosphere is heavily 1980's but then gets even more '80s when the main layer of synthesizers come in to saturate the song in their dated tones. As the melody approaches its natural end, the drums kick in heavier, adding a tight fill that reverberates strongly. Each additional repetition of the loop makes the drums come in even stronger until they rival the gated reverb sound of early '80s Phil Collins.

This is easily one of the best pieces of an '80s b-movie soundtrack to have never been used in a film. And if you're not a fan of keyboards, you can listen to an alternate arrangement of the song that's used when performing the double kidney transplant in a hospital hallway:

Sometimes even bad games can have amazing music.

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