"Wario is metal as fuck. It’s that simple." - Arcaeon On Their Top 6 Retro Video Games


Image: Emily Hennell

Quite recently, Arcaeon found themselves being name dropped in a number of news sites and blogs - and not just for their incredible take on the technical metal formula. In a world first, the quintet recently released a playable game, titled Arcadia, for the original Gameboy Colour console in promotion of their brilliant debut record Cascadence.


Coded and created over the span of seven months by bassist Eifion Sweet, Arcadia encapsulates not just the quintet's collective love for classic gaming but their vibrant creativity as a whole, with the game animating the overarching concept of the emotional impact of colour within Cascadence. Each respective level in the game corresponds to a certain colour explored within the record and see's the band navigating a series of trails in search of their instruments against an original score written by the band themselves. A labour of love and an example of creative ingenuity, Arcadia is currently available both online and on Gameboy emulators whilst the band prepare to release a limited run of physical cartridges.


With Arcadia and Cascadence out now independently, we got in touch with guitarist Sam Machin and Eifion Sweet to discover the top six games on classic Nintendo systems that not only inspired the game, but their music as a whole.


Related: Arcaeon - Cascadence | Album Review


Wario Land (Super Mario Land 3)


Sam: "Wario is metal as fuck. It’s that simple. This often-overlooked title deserves its place in this list due to the departure it takes from the "hero saves the day" routine that its predecessors follow. Along with its double barrel flamethrower, fist helmeted punch up the backside I feel it gives to the whole franchise before it (take that "gamers"). Anything but adorable, this little game packs a huge world to explore, entire secret sections, and a collectible trophy cabinet to secure a fatter reward at the credits screen after smashing your way through every level. It feels great to be the bad guy."


Pokémon Red & Blue


Sam: "Ok, so we all know Gold and Silver were the "superior" titles on the original Gameboy consoles, but this generation of the game sits so purely and perfectly in my nostalgic heart. Be it the simple yet beautifully suited way the graphics and world combine, the scope in which it sat in such a small cartridge, the pride in catching rare monsters or being completely obliterated in the playground every morning by that one kid from Hong Kong, who had traded all his brother’s level 100 legendries. It is nothing short of a perfect game, in my eyes. Being my introduction to the JRPG, of course I’m going to be biased, as the game is prone to a few of what next gen would call "dated mechanics", but just get over it. Pokemon didn’t hold your hand and that’s why we loved it. It’s also important for me to note that both these and Gold/Silver has what I consider to be the best and memorable music on the system. You come to recognise this even more so once you have attempted to create music for Gameboy games."


Tetris


Sam: The game that was marketed in the West to try and convince lawyers, stockbrokers and executive bread heads that the Gameboy wasn’t "just for kids" falls so far ahead of its supposed agenda, that it strikes me with a sense of delightful irony being that it was my first ever handheld game experience as a youngster. Tetris does away with scope, action, and exploration and focuses on your mental agility. Sometimes a simple idea can be the most effective (I'll tell myself that next time I decide to write a tech-metal song). Move the blocks, make the lines, don’t hit the top. Three simple rules that would keep me entertained for hours. I have fond memories of finding my uncle’s Gameboy classic tucked away along with this and a few other games, which he gave to me and that I still own to this day. And EVERYONE knows "Korobeiniki" right?



Isolated Warrior


Sam: "Anyone remember a time where skill trees didn’t exist? Where ducking behind object for cover wasn’t an option? Where losing your lives meant returning to the start of the level. Well, I do, and it SUCKED. There is nothing more disappointing than turning on a retro game you have never played and finding out its one of "those" games again. But then you find the "one". The one you’re going to stick with, the one no matter how difficult or insane, the one no matter how many times you have tried to beat even the first level, the tough as nails, cartridge from hell that you are going to beat no matter the cost to your sleep and sanity, THE one that you sunk a game genie code into the moment you played it once and realised it was too tough. Yeah, ok, got me there. So, looking past the insane difficulty, I loved the design aesthetics and overall feel of this particularly "metal" shoot fest and played it (yes, with cheats) over and over as a youngster. I memorised the music (even taping it as I used to frequently do with games) and used to often pretend that I was in fact, the Isolated Warrior."


Final Fantasy Legend II


Sam: "OK, so finally this one for me isn’t coming from nostalgia. And ISN’T a Zelda game, so feel free to pick on me in the comments. I picked this up for my collection last year and absolutely fell in love with it. Yes it’s actually a SaGa game, yes, yes watchmojo, we know... So, there’s something I can hardly explain when it comes to the way a game FEELS when I play it as it is so personal to me and my thought process. If I could describe this game’s "feel" for example it would be a cosy, warm, blue feeling (yes, blue like the cover). There is just something about taking a band of heroes on a quest that is close to home with what I enjoy most in life, with music and beyond. The gameplay is your standard dragon quest clone with a few nice touches with character customisation (the robot being my favourite) which makes it ideal for replay and is full of interesting ways to play, depending on which characters you choose at the beginning. Not too dissimilar to an average classic FF game, but you have to play it to understand the difference. The music is great too, created by Kenji Ito and series mainstay Nobuo Uematsu (who yes, is still very much my favourite musician of all time). It has an almost bombastic and overtly triumphant flair that brings the many of its worlds to life. I would highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for a fun, easy access retro RPG."

The Legend of Zelda Franchise


Eifion: "Coming back to this infamous franchise, I've played many of the Zelda series games from Links Awakening to Twilight Princess, but my absolute favourite game of all time is Ocarina of Time. Anybody who has played it will notice the nod towards this game in many aspects of ARCADIA, particularly obvious in one level. As I have played through this multiple times, I wanted to pay homage to the puzzle solving and item collecting aspects of these games, to really give that nostalgic feel to anybody who plays through the game."


Cascadence is out now independently and can be purchased here.

Arcadia is now available on Itch and news regarding the limited physical release is coming soon. Play the game on Itch here.



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