Jukebox Heroes: Glitch’s soundtrack

    
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A BLOO BLOO BLOO BLOO A BLOO BLOO

As we continue to discover in the years after Glitch’s closure, this was one underappreciated, unusual, and quirky MMO that deserved a lot better than it got. However, its post-demise career has been astounding as fans and former devs have made efforts to reconstruct the game, preserve the art, and (most germane to this column) remaster and release the soundtrack.

Composer Daniel Simmons ran an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to raise money for a proper OST release, and his $8,000 request quickly bloomed into almost $57,000. Fans appreciated the bizarre mix of musical genres and the fun personality that this soundtrack exuded, and I was really excited to see that it recently released for all to enjoy.

So whether or not you played Glitch, join me on a journey through one of the strangest and most endearing scores in the MMO space.

1. “Eleven Giants”

I don’t think we could ever ask for a more bizarre yet spot-on introduction to Glitch than this song. Off-kilter voices tell the backstory of the game with a piano, kazoo, loudspeaker, banjo, and harmonica (among other things). I love how it devolves into a group sing and then a jazz portion at the end because why not?

2. “Glitch Theme (Snappy)”

There are two things that you quickly notice as you listen through the entirety of the Glitch soundtrack. First, this score does just about every musical genre, from metal to muzak, without shame. And second, many of the popular themes are treated to variations.

The main theme is one of these tracks, and I have about nine versions in my music folder. I am partial to the snappy variant for its mellow nature and catchy whistling, although the marching band and spiral stars versions are great as well.

3. “Rainbow Road (A Capella)”

Another popular track, Rainbow Road is a very fast-paced ditty that has always made me smile. I chose to feature the a capella version here because when is the last time you heard a capella in an MMO? Simmons was a mad genius, I tells ya.

4. “The Rube Song”

Every once in a while I’m in a perfect mood for a crazy song that relies on cartoony sound effects to bring it together, and that’s exactly what The Rube Song is. It’s just a minute or so of weird noises and an organ (because, again, why not) having a blast.

5. “Toxic Moon (Also Sprach Zarathustra)”

How’s this for a genre switch-up for ya? Take one of the most well-known classical pieces (known in some quarters as “that 2001: A Space Odyssey song”) and pair it with a jaunty folksy vibe. It’s weird, but the combination almost makes it sound like total Vegas to me. Elvis Vegas. Am I alone in thinking this?

6. “Dream Theme”

There are plenty of other silly songs, but I knew I had to throw in this more serious piece before closing out today’s column. Glitch was strange and childlike, to be sure, but it also had this melancholy nature to it as well. Dream Theme seems to capture what introspection over a sunset feels like — a little eerie, a little sad, a little wistful, and a little uncertain.

What were your favorite Glitch tracks?

MMOs are meant to be heard as well as seen, and chances are that music ties your memories to these games more than you might realize. Every two weeks Jukebox Heroes listens through a game soundtrack and picks out the highlights to share and discuss. And if you like this column, then don’t miss the author’s MMO music podcast, Battle Bards!
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Pedestrienne
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Pedestrienne

Vexia Glitch was the first game my fella and I played together in about ten years. Tubamaphone was his favourite music, so now it’s his personal ringtone on my phone forever. ;)

Pedestrienne
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Pedestrienne

Drakani Right there with you. <3

Gylnne
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Gylnne

Glitch. One of the weirdest, strangest, kooky games I ever had the chance to play. And you know what? It was very addictive and fun.:)

Drakani
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Drakani

The Rube Song brought a smile to my face! It was always so great to hear that when you first zoned in knowing you had a special visitor!
Then I made the mistake of playing the Dream Theme and nearly burst into tears.
You’d think it’d hurt less by now. But it doesn’t. I miss you Ur, and all my fellow Glitchen.
*whispers* Go back to sleep, Giants. Dream of us once more.

RingBonefield
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RingBonefield

MesaSage WildarX If Butterfield had been looking to make “suitcases full of money” he never would have attempted to develop a niche indie MMO. Tiny Speck never would have taken the game back to beta–shutting out thousands of potential new users–if that were the case. If you’re having trouble convincing “true believers,” it’s possibly because nothing in the scenario you described makes any sense, and that as Vexia pointed out you appear to have either misconstrued or misrepresented perfectly harmless comments.

Vexia
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Vexia

MesaSage Vexia “The true believers,” lol what? Please, do elaborate. It’s not as though I wouldn’t believe you if you’d be forthcoming with these “plenty of sources for finding out the real story.” By the way,  I don’t think this comment string would necessarily be considered off-topic because it still relates to the subject of Glitch. I did go internet diving for a bit, and all I found was the following:
“One major, obvious problem with Glitch is that it wasn’t fun until very late in its development — and not until after its launch, says Butterfield.” Plus, “A lot of people were just like ‘I don’t know what the fuck I’m supposed to do.’ Some people took ‘I don’t know what I’m supposed to do’ as an invitation to explore and ended up loving it. Other people closed the browser. That’s it.” And other similar quotes from (http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/182287/The_story_of_Glitch_Why_this_odd_MMO_is_shutting_down.php)
Is that what you mean when you say “He didn’t find the game fun”?
That source also says, “In the end, the game could not attract enough users to sustain its 42-person team.” Does that correlate to “He was in it for the money”? That same article also touches on flash and the particular problem of iPad not supporting it which automatically nixed any attempts for a port to the first widely-popular iteration of current tablet devices.
Beyond that, I also found, “”There’s not a better way to say [who we’re targeting] than people with above average intelligence and sophisticated tastes, in their 20s or early 30s…The intersection of NPR listeners and game players.” from (http://www.cnet.com/news/in-depth-with-tiny-specks-glitch/). It seems to directly contradict the suggestion that they were trying for some kind of lowest common denominator cash grab.
I looked through multiple articles from 2010 to 2014 and couldn’t find any of the supposed facts you’re presenting us with. All I’m sayin’ is sources, plz.

MesaSage
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MesaSage

Vexia  I’m not going to derail the thread further with this discussion because this is about the music.  I’ve found it’s not productive arguing with the true believers, anyway.  What I’d suggest is that if you’re truly interested in this subject you do a bit more research.  There’s plenty of sources for finding out the real story.  Suffice to say that most of it comes from Stoot himself, who admitted in interviews that A)They had little game development experience on staff, B)He didn’t find the game fun, C) He was in it for the money.  None of this is speculation, it’s fact.
As for your other comments about the technical issues, Flash was merely an excuse and not the reason as it has been used quite successfully in many other commercial games.  The problem you are referring to was related to the backend javascript, which was a fragile mess.  That’s the main reason why the game was not sold/transferred to another company – because the servers were not supportable.  If you doubt that, go ask somebody working on Eleven and they’ll be glad to tell you what they’re dealing with.

Arawulf
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Arawulf

Of all the games that I’ve played, this is the one closure that I miss the most. I wish I would have appreciated it more at the time. Hopefully some of the up and coming remakes will give some of us at lease a sense of what the game used to be. And yes, I’m very happy to have this soundtrack in my playlist.

Esoteric Coyote
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Esoteric Coyote

Feels, I has them.  Oh, now I get the SWG mourners a bit better…. I imagine it was a worse feeling for those mourning the loss of City of Heroes and SWG.  Still… feels.  Lots of feels.

MassivelyMacD
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MassivelyMacD

I had the Rube Song as a ringtone on my mobile. Great stuff to be called when being in the local commuter bus and someone calls you. Just do not respond immediately, let the song develop a bit and look into the faces of your fellow travelers. Priceless :)