Jukebox Heroes: Star Stable’s secretly amazing soundtrack

    
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If we ever mention Star Stable around these parts, it’s usually with a bit of tongue-in-cheek. You know, “Hee hee, horsies!” said by middle-aged adults who are clearly too old and cynical to be delighted by these majestic beasts.

But the thing is that this isn’t some cheap flash game done to prey on horse-addicted tweens. When you get past chuckling at it, Star Stable reveals itself to be a product of a devoted dev team that’s put in a lot of work and artistry. I say that with a straight face, mind you.

Part of that artistry is its soundtrack, which is as charming as it is expansive. Today, let’s put preconceptions aside and be swept away by the hoofbeats of Star Stable’s secretly amazing score.

“A Dimension in Pink”

The opening few seconds gave me an immediate flashback to the opening notes of John Williams’ Jurassic Park score, but A Dimension in Pink quickly distinguishes itself as a light-hearted atmospheric track. I enjoyed the tinks of the xylophone with just a touch of echo. Makes it sound like we’re going through a cave or something.

“To Pandoria”

If the last track was too laid-back, this one gets down to business with a much stronger and more well-defined melody. It’s kind of weepy and kind of epic and I just can’t put my finger on it. But it’s definitely a track to notice.

“The Capitol of Jorvik”

The positive energy that bursts out of this tune is hard to ignore. I don’t even play this MMO, but this track has become one of my favorite city themes from an online RPG. It’s complex, with plenty of transitions, and ends up being an absolute delight.

“Hooves on the Run”

If you need a pure action track, here you go. Hooves on the Run ratchets up the excitement of a race or showdown with a greatly enthusiastic orchestra (and lots and lots of horsie clip-clopping sounds).

“How to Build Your Ranch”

The second this track started, I was reminded of so many movies where there’s a montage of collaborative effort among heroes. It’s a call to get off your butt and do something; in this case, my something is to tell you to listen to this. Mission accomplished.

“Glacier Galloping”

This is a bit more restrained than the previous tracks, but I still liked it for its nuance and spirit of adventure. I’m trying to imagine how this would play as an actual race track, and you know what? It would probably do very well in that role.

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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zoward

It’s always serendipidous to discover that some little, out of the way MMO you probably didn’t give a second glance has a deep, expressive, engaging soundtrack. The tracks I heard above were of a quality that wouldn’t be out of place in a larger, more well-known (perhaps well-funded) game.

They should totally do a Battle Bards for this one!