84: What Does America Sound Like?

Video games allow American gamers to see depictions of America that don’t always line up with how they might see themselves. But how do VGM composers shorthand the U.S.A.? I listened to some of the more notable examples of themes for American characters in games around the Street Fighter II era to see what version of America they’re trying to communicate to us.

If you like this episode, you might like a series I’m doing on the connections between VGM and pop music.

Track listing:

0:09: Charlie’s Theme / Street Fighter Alpha 2 / Setsuo Yamamoto, Syun Nishigaki and Tatsuro Suzuki
2:04: Jazzy NYC ’99 / Street Fighter 3: 3rd Strike / Hideki Okugawa
5:01: Plight (Guile’s Theme) / Street Fighter Alpha 3 / Takayuki Iwai, Yuki Iwai, Isao Abe, Hideki Okugawa and Tetsuya Shibata
6:08: Violent Emotion (Guile’s Theme) / Hyper Street Fighter II: The Anniversary Edition / Composed by Yoko Shimomura, arranged by Isao Abe and Syun Nishigaki
8:31: Travelers / T-Square
9:24: Q’s Theme / Street Fighter 3: 3rd Strike / Hideki Okugawa
11:28: Battle Harbor (Ken’s Theme) / Hyper Street Fighter II: The Anniversary Edition / Composed by Yoko Shimomura, arranged by Isao Abe and Syun Nishigaki
15:02: Mighty Wings / Cheap Trick
15:28: Stripes (Cody’s Theme) / Street Fighter Alpha 2 / Setsuo Yamamoto, Syun Nishigaki and Tatsuro Suzuki
16:45: Balrog’s Theme / Hyper Street Fighter II: The Anniversary Edition / Composed by Yoko Shimomura, arranged by Isao Abe and Syun Nishigaki
19:29: Kiss Me (Blue Mary’s Theme) / Fatal Fury 3 / SNK Sound Team
20:40: Slum No. 5 / King of Fighters ’94 / Masahiko Hataya
22:48: Kurikinton (Terry’s Theme) / Fatal Fury 2 / Masahiko Hataya, Toshio Shimizu and Yoshihiko Kitamura
25:53: Long Horned Beetle / King of Fighters ’96 / Masahiko Hataya
27:52: Hurry Up! (Ray’s Theme) / Fighter’s History / Gamedelic
31:32: Sarah’s Theme / Virtua Fighter / Takayuki Nakamura
33:44: Haggar’s Theme / Saturday Night Slam Masters / Masaki Izutani and Setsuo Yamamoto
35:52: Gunloc’s Theme / Saturday Night Slam Masters / Masaki Izutani and Setsuo Yamamoto
39:29: Wilderness Policeman (Kevin’s Theme) / Garou: Mark of the Wolves / SNK Sound Team
41:14: Poison’s Theme / Ultra Street Fighter IV / Hideyuki Fukasawa
42:14: Joe’s Theme / Fighting Street / Yoshihiro Sakaguchi

 
 
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Drew Mackie