For the Introduction/explanation to this mini-series, here's Part 1. The original VGM FACE OFF Primer post this is all based off of can be found here. For your convenience, here are the tracks again. Please listen to them BEFORE reading my write-up:
Super Adventure Island - Blue Blue Moon:
Streets of Rage - Dilapidated Town:
In the case of the Blue Blue Moon vs Dilapidated Town VIBE OFF:
Which version was the original? Streets of Rage came out one year earlier than Super Adventure Island (1991 vs 1992), so it’s the original.
Familiarity/Novelty Disclosure: This is familiarity vs familiarity in a sense, as I’ve known of both for a comparably long time. In fact, I’m not even 100% sure which one I experienced first. However, I’ll call the SoR track familiarity, and the SAI track novelty since I’ve owned a copy of SoR for more than two decades, and have never owned SAI, only rented it. Therefore, I’ve heard Dilapidated Town many more times than I’ve heard Blue Blue Moon.
System hardware preference disclosure: Back in the day I was exceedingly pro-SNES in pretty much every way - including sound system preference. In 2003 or so, I began to find myself changing my preference to become pro-Genesis in most ways, but didn’t become pro-Genesis in the sound department till about 2009, 2010 or so. I ended up as strongly pro-Genesis on sound as I was pro-SNES way back when. While I would still call myself pro-Genesis now, I’ve been finding myself drifting back towards the center on the matter of late. Frankly, smack dab in the middle is precisely where I want to be. These two systems’ sounds are such a give-and-take, pros-and-cons trade-off, that I really can’t call them anything but a “tie”, a “draw”, a “stalemate”…you pick your word, I guess. So, if that’s where I am objectively, I’d really like to be there subjectively as well. I guess we’ll see where I am in the next year or so. There’s SOOO much more that can be said about Genesis sound vs SNES sound. A few years ago I wrote a series of articles about the 16-bit console wars that appeared in an online magazine that’s now defunct (and the website pulled down). The articles went into a lot of depth on the matter. At some point in the future, I plan to dust those off, retool them for the blog medium, and post them here as a series. I guess I’ll save the in-depth SNES vs Genesis talk for those posts.
My verdict: Dilapidated Town
Why? While I absolutely love the thick muddy bass, and organ, and while I like the mix of darkness, and levity Blue Blue Moon brings, and while I like how tight it is (tighter than Dilapidated Town, for sure), I like how Dilapidated Town doesn’t try to marry dark and light, but just doubles down on Urban plight, despair, and the fear of being out on run-down back streets alone after dark. It’s also crisper, and punchier, I like the lead organ voice way better than the lead voice in BBM, and I like the sparse, but clever use of the PSG. I do like the bass better on BBM, though.
Was this a close contest? This was a VERY close contest. I actually changed my mind on this two or three times before finally landing where I have. Ask me again in six months and see if I still have the same answer.
So, what about you? Agree? Disagree? Think I'm totally nuts? There's a comments section. Light it up!