Review: The NotAGame Collection

As I noted in a recent articleThe NotAGame Collection is a newly-released album from Simon David which celebrates the music of the gaming industry. 50% of the net proceeds from the sale of this album – currently available only from Bandcamp.com – will be donated to Child’s Play to help bring the magic of video games into the hands of hospitalized children. So sure, it’s got a great story and a great cause attached to it, but how is the music itself?

notagameWell, as it turns out, it’s quite entertaining. If your taste runs to video games (and I presume it does if you’re reading this) and their music, you will really enjoy this album.

The opening track is appropriately named “Introducing ‘The NotAGame Collection’”, and it tells the listener everything they need to know. Against a pulsing background tune, a voice explains the intent of the music. “The men and women of this industry work tirelessly to provide entertainment for the masses,” he says of video games, “and some of these provide the music – music that we love.”

That’s really what this album is for David, a labor of love. It’s his way of thanking the countless developers who have brought him joy throughout his life.

No matter what your gaming genre, he’s got something here that you can appreciate. “Caballero” is inspired by western-style shoot-’em-ups, and as soon as you hear that telltale whistle you know exactly what you can expect. Then there’s “This Forgotten Place”, which has its roots in horror games like Silent Hill, and has just the right creep factor. It starts out merely mournful, but the muttering voice underneath the music gives the impression of a radio that just won’t tune correctly because of… interference.

Being very much a sword and sorcery girl, my two favorite tracks are “Spellsword”, for which David credits the music of Rogue Legacy as his inspiration, and “The Brightest Light”, which is the final track and was prompted by the fantasy gaming genre overall. Both pieces have a brightness and cheerfulness to them, but at the same time a gentle intensity that makes me think of my personal favorite games and their soundtracks, like the Zelda series. “The Brightest Light” in particular has this bubbling sweetness to it; I can’t quite put my finger on why it seems familiar, but it tugs in my mind at some indistinctly happy memory.

The eighteen tracks can be enjoyed at no charge on the Bandcamp website. If you like what you hear, they can be purchased for download “in the high-quality format of your choice.” Buy single tracks for £1 GBP each, or the entire album for £5 GBP. (You can choose to pay more, if you want to increase the size of the donation to Child’s Play with your order.) But you’re not going to want to miss this – of that I’m certain.




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