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OCR01548 - *YES* Pictionary 'Person, Place or Groove?'

The Orichalcon

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Game: Pictionary

Title: Person, Place or Groove?

Source: http://www.zophar.net/nsf/pictionary.zip - Track 3

Bassline matches the groove and was the inspiration for the mix. Reminded me a lot of a Crash Bandicoot 3 track (from the Future maps)

Piano controls the melody. It's not the most realistic sounding piano, but it's meant to be more of a platform-game piano that just sounds bright and happy, rather than realistic. Strings and Rhodes keep the key and fill the backing while the moogie synth and reverse-cymbals lead into each section alternatively. I went with a fade-out simply because it works.

There's a background crowd ambience that was meant to generate the feel of being in a bar or pool room, just kicking back and enjoying a game of Pictionary with your mates.

Edit: Fixed the encoding so it's not too high and touched up the bassline. Latest version is on the same link.

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http://www.zophar.net/nsf/pictionary.zip - Track 3 ("Let's Draw a Picture")

So we were hanging in #judges, when I brought up the Tim Follin project I'm co-running. Now that TO got his setup working again, I asked Lee if he had the availability to see if he wanted to contribute. I showed him Follin's discography and asked him to check it out. "Got anything with a good bassline?" he says. Then he went "Pictionary?" sounding surprised that there had been a Nintendo game for it. He checked out the NSF and immediately found what he was looking for. For about a day's work, this was pretty awesome, and a great upgrade to the original. Once JJT had a chance to give the track some criticisms and I agreed, TO went back and touched things up for what we've got here. And now for something completely different with another 1/3rd of the "Dirge for the Follin" team:

<CHz> The place in the game that track plays is "Let's Draw a Picture," if it passes and you want a source name.

<Liontamer> how the hell...did you know that?

<Liontamer> liek wtf

<Liontamer> where j00 get dat?

<CHz> Game manual and game.

<CHz> Played dat shizz

<Liontamer> nice

<Liontamer> how was it?

<CHz> Dreadful.

<Liontamer> hahahaha

<Liontamer> Follin always got stuck with such shit games

<Liontamer> I mean, some were good, but he got hosed with some pure shizzle

<CHz> Music literally being the best part of a lot of them.

Poor Follin, frequently scoring games destined to have shitty gameplay.

Crowd ambiance and some beats opened things up. The bassline at :10 sounded too synthetic & rigid and should be tweaked to sound more realistic. After what I felt sounded like a rather limp intro, he built things up nicely with the Rhodes at :30 (forcing that fakey bassline to the back where it wasn't exposed) as well as some particularly strong and creative drumwork.

The familiar melody (hey, it's instantly catchy to me) came in at :51 on piano sounding pretty nice; very flowy, genteel and all that good stuff. The atmosphere also became nice and full and stayed like that the whole way through. How can you not love that piano run from 1:21-1:32?

More iterations of the melody at 1:52 and 2:12, only this time around Lee went for more interpretation of the source to really personalize the track. Nice piano run from 2:26 until the end for more of that relaxing vibe; good use of panning and velocity variation to make sure the part didn't sound pasted on top. Beginners just tend not to think about those details. And of course, I'm always glad to hear a track where a fadeout is utilized properly.

I know JiggyJon had some minor issues with the realism of the piano performance, but I hope I'm not stretching credibility when I say I believe he doesn't have a problem with it passing the bar. When Lee says "it's meant to be more of a platform-game piano that just sounds bright and happy, rather than realistic", he completely read my mind. IMO, I think the velocity work was excellent so that the performance didn't sound mechanical in a negatively impactful way. Rather, it reminded me a lot of the later soundtracks in the SimCity series. Just take out the crowd ambiance SFX, and this would be perfect Maxis-style music to build stuff to.

Solid textures, great development, creative interpretation; the recipe for a YES. Thanks a lot for whipping this up and contributing it to Dirge for the Follin. Let's hope we continue to get more stuff this good.

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thank you sooooo much for verbin' those drums.

for what it sets out to do, this is a pretty good mix. not the most daring arrangement we've ever seen, but it's actually pretty soothing, and has enough going on to keep the listener interested.

not much else to add. glad you incorporated some of my feedback :)


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you know, i'm trying to get into this and i can't. while i dig the drumwork a lot (i think you did a great job with the drum programming), i liked the original groove more... most of the strut in the original is lost upon this arrangement like you took the funk right out of it. the bassline doesn't help, either as it is almost non-existent. the problem, i think, is that the bass and drums don't drive the piece. i know you're goin for chill but chill does not equal bland. the piano is too rigid through most of the track and while certain runs are fantastic, it doesn't make up for how the piano, itself, sounds.

the arrangement is where this shines. while it stays relatively close for most of it, it goes in great places as the track meets its climax and gently floats down from it. the ending is perfect for what the song does...

the arrangement barely saves this track. there isn't enough to pass or fail this track to be honest but as it does not infringe any of the guidelines and is well produced and intelligently orchestrated, i cannot fault it simply on a disagreement with your stylistic choices.


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I'm going to have to agree with zyko here that the drums and bass, which should be the foundation of the groove, are on the weak side. Keeping in mind that many of your mixes are groove-oriented, TO, I gotta say that you could have done a lot better in that area here. The original really did have more 'funk' to it. I don't have a huge problem with the piano, really, but I do think that like many of the other sounds (eg. the backing pads) it's rather mundane. I wouldn't object if it was made more realistic.

In regards to arrangement, I'm hearing the interpretation factor because original material was added, but I don't think it builds enough on the source tune. Melodically, the source was pretty amazing. It had a very interesting main line with lots of cool rhythmic stuff going on. You took away the varying rhythms in the ReMix, effectively simplifying it and making it less engaging. Usually one would aim for the opposite effect. Structurally there's not a whole lot going on here, just gradual additions to the groove that was introduced right at the start.

I don't think I feel comfortable yesing this one. The original was a melody-driven piece with a very solid foundation built on the drum and bass lines. Here, the approach is identical to the original, but with a simplified melody line and nominal additions in the form of bridges (taking from the original chords) and harmonies. I would suggest going back to this and working with the melody line more and perhaps changing the structure around so its not just a repetition of the chords from the original with a single instrument melody on top and some basic pads in the background. I'm a big fan of your mixes and your style, TO, but I don't think this one quite reached the bar.


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Oh zircon, you smooth jazz loving hypocrite! :P

While I understand your concerns that, in a way, TO's interpretation was almost a simplification, but I don't see that as a bad thing, in this case. It's more like he reduced the source to its grooviest elements. Solid buildup, smooth percussion, great piano embellishments... The brightness of the piano sample doesn't bother me at all, actually, because I think it suits this kind of "family friendly" game... like something you'd hear in The Sims (or SimCity- Larry and I seem to be on the same Paige).

The melody is pleasant and meandering, like a walk through Central Park. Nice breakdown at 1:34, and party atmosphere to boot. No smelly turtles here.


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