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That Awkward Moment When…

Sat, 06 May 17 02:24:54 +0000

In the course of human events, you accidentally write a pop song. And then another. And you’ve pretty much got a queue of lyrics and musical backlog to the point you might as well be making an album. Yeah, that’s right… turns out I accidentally started making an album which is something I never thought I’d say or do.

So earlier this week I shared with a video with Jimmy about how every Chainsmokers song is written and we had a good laugh about it and everything. Then the next day I was just joking around and said we should actually try to write a pop song for shits and giggles. Less than an hour later we had a back track. And by the end of the night… we accidentally made something pretty decent. We’d always kind of joked of starting a band, but after the first couple songs started taking shape and we realized we could probably make a funny/serious commentary on how shitty pop music, pop culture, etc is while exploiting the formula to make super catchy songs, we decided to go for it. Luckily we already had a joke band name on deck for it: “Medicinal Kazoo.” And well… as they say, here we are now.

For full clarification, Medicinal Kazoo is a name I came up with after watching the now legendary and extremely memable You On Kazoo video, after which I started using “kazoo” as a euphemism for drugs because… well watch the video, it isn’t exactly a ground breaking conclusion. Although we’ve spitballed different ideas for music we could write in the past, it never really came to fruition because in the short term it was more important to focus on our game work. But we’re kinda in the lull between Ludem Dare now and really chugging away at our big project (work has been done mind you, just nothing yet worth sharing… mostly technical stuff, more on that later). More or less, Medicinal Kazoo was gonna be our planned dev cameo in games that allowed it, where we would be an actual band in universe trying to get gigs and such and make it big. But it seems that pop music is so easy to write and sing lyrics for, even a talentless hack fraud like me can do it with a little assistance from an actual musician!

So what now? Well probably not much actually, not for a while anyway. We’ve got rough takes of a couple of songs but this has actually motivated me to quit smoking so my voice can heal up and I can actually sing a little better. In the longer term we’ll probably take a while just to write a full track list and get everything polished up, and I have a couple music videos in mind I wanted to try to actually animate so I can cross that off my bucket list on top of literally becoming a rock star. Really that’s mostly what this is about: how many people can actually say they made a pop album who aren’t in the industry? Like just decided one day to sit down and record some stuff as a joke and have it accidentally come out pretty decent? Not many. And it’s been a really good creative outlet for when I’d probably be too zonked to do much else in the interim between transferring positions at work.

But of course, get hyped, cuz that shit’s coming. #MEDICINALKAZOO #SHITPOST2017 … or 18 idk.

“BUT ETHAN, WHADDABOUT THE GAME?”

Good question, single person who reads this. Things are also going very well for the game too, although after the 72 hour crunch of LD I did need to kind of step back and plan to pace myself over the long term. Last weekend I finally got together a decent level editor, both so I don’t have to use Game Maker’s broken level editor but also so Jimmy could help with level design as well (not to mention, I’d like to add a way for fans to add custom levels as well once the game releases). That kind of consumed my entire last weekend though because… well, mostly file parsing stuff. Which is why it’s not really anything worth posting. I’m in the process of adding enemies and collectables to the game soon though so hopefully by next weekend I can at least get a new screenshot of that.

Jimmy also has a lot of the sound effects and music already written, we just have to design some stuff so it works a little more like an old NES game would. Which is really the theme of this game: to make an NES game that never was. From an art perspective, I’ve been trying to follow all the rules (as best as I can understand them) to make sure I’m not using too many colors and the screen resolution is perfect… I might even add a CRT filter by the end if it’s possible. For the music and sfx though, it’s a bit tricky. Because of course now you can just load all the mp3s and wavs you want into Game Maker and play them back on the fly with little to no consequence. But in the NES days you only had four channels for ALL music and sound effects: two wave channels, a saw wave channel for mostly drum sounds, and a “noise” channel that gave us some glorious bitcrushed voice and sound samples back in the day. So basically we need to figure out a way to divide the music in game and make sure the music temporarily stops playing for a sfx occupying that channel to play and then start again.

Also on the subject of samples and sfx, this game is actually going to be voice acted. Again, with GLORIOUS bitcrushing and probably earbleeding results. But we think it will add to the comedy/charm of the game.

I’m not sure when I’ll have the next update ready, but hopefully something soon. I’ve been able to post one of these a week so far and I would like to keep up that pace though. Site updates will be coming early June most likely along with some light rebranding (I relearned vector art so I can update my logo and the site graphics). More will be coming soon though, and thank you for reading as always! :3

~AniMerrill, a.k.a. Ethan Merrill