Kieron Gillen's workblog




Had a dream last night.

My sleep, odd enough in normal circumstances, grows to epic delusions when over at the concubine's house due to strange beds and a body twitching around inches from mine. So expect mind-soup to dribble from my ears by morn.

Last night was relatively tame, but one moment lasts. I was in a debate about how it's interesting that so many games are using theme tunes recently, with singing and silly lyrics. And my group of friends listed out recent titles that had done it, some with lyrics. None of which I remember, sadly, especially because none of the titles we were talking about actually have theme tunes. I remember one was Star Wars: Galaxies.

And then I commented that the trend is just reaching back to the Cannon Fodder Theme Tune, War's Never Been So Much Fun and its playful cod-reggae. And We all sang it. And then I was trying to work out which days I was meant to have been going to University to get my degree again, and then I woke up.

And I woke up with the song stuck in my head, where it remained for hours.

It's available to download from here.

We never see anything this joyous and stupid in games now. We have the technology to do huge symphonic recordings, so no-one tries to do a fun little pop song in a game that's not really about fun little pop songs. Games are big, because that's how we know they're worth thirty-to-fifty quid. No-one realises that small can be beautiful and precious too.

Sensible Software were good at Small And Beautiful. In fact, "Small" was pretty much their signature at their Amiga Peak, and they got "beauty" more than anyone else. There was a perfect craft to the best of Sensible's games, with everything stripped to the bare necessities - both Cannon Fodder and Sensible Software, their commercial peaks, are rife with it. Cannon Fodder appeared closely to Bullfrog's Syndicate. I remember a pub conversation with the rest of Team 4.5 around the time, where the general consensus was while we held Syndicate higher in our affections, Cannon Fodder was, by far, the more perfect game. Compared to the bloated atmosphere of Syndicate, Sensible's game was perfectly formed, deliberately crafted, wittier, lighter, harder - and fairer - than Bullfrog's. Small and beautiful.

Listening to the tiny-production of this song, I'm reminded of that.

And God do I miss them.

On creative notes, rewrote the last three pages of BW when I realised that's I'd pitched it wrong. It was meant to hit the same emotional notes as Johnny Boy's "You are the generation..." and instead was nearer the timbre of Suede's "Still Life".




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