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  • Annette Singh

Why video game covers are a rarity from me

Some of you who have been following my musical journey know that I posted the occasional video game cover piece now and then during my nonprofit phase. Notably, this beauty that was done in response to GameGrooves issuing a challenge to cover dungeon themes from any The Legend of Zelda game:



The one above is Temple du Masque, which is incidentally the French name for the "Face Shrine," a dungeon in The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening. I did this one because I remember being enthralled when I saw Chuggaaconroy's walkthrough of the game, years before the Nintendo Switch remake was released. This wasn't the only cover of Link's Awakening music that I did (I did another in 2013) -- therefore, it's safe to say that this game left quite an impression on me, even though at that point, I had never played it before. That, and its music had great potential for transformation into other, perhaps greater things.


These two factors -- the game leaving an impression, and its music having potential for transformation -- are the driving force behind any video game cover piece. But I tend to try and cover pieces that have left more than just an influence on me. A while back, I wrote about influence versus inspiration, and I wrote about how the vast majority of pieces don't seem to give me that quickening feeling in my blood, or those other changes in my mind and body that I have come to collectively define as "inspiration."

A drawing of an anime version of myself wearing my sort-of Renaissance Faire garb while seated on a bass drum, surrounded by other instruments (a harp, a keyboard, and a second drum). There is also a Nintendo Entertainment System in the drawing, which my persona is shown playing here.
I drew this near the start of 2020 to underscore that I aimed to score video game music; I drew the Nintendo Entertainment System in this image as it was the first console whose games had a lasting impression on me.

Besides, I am a VGM composer and singer-songwriter. I spend the bulk of my time writing original pieces, for work and self-fulfilment reasons. I have many songs and stories to tell, many of which have been directly influenced by various events in my life. As such, that is my primary focus, taking up the bulk of my time as a musician.


When I am not occupied with solo work and other things in my queue, I might consider doing the occasional cover. However, a cover may still surface from me if it is of a piece I have been meaning to cover for years. I have had a few such pieces in recent months, done through GameGrooves and Pixel Mixers, that are slated for release at some point in the future.


If a cover is forced upon me, say for instance as part of a series of prompts in a composition / arrangement challenge, I wind up hating the exercise.

The above tweet, posted towards the end of my only attempt at the 21 Days of VGM challenge (incidentally, also the penultimate one to ever exist), was the result of me tearing my hair in frustration after orchestrating a remix of the Pokémon title theme over a 2-hour period. Remixing things that I don't like causes frustration. To me, it is time better spent elsewhere, on things that are known to give me and others around me fulfilment. While I wouldn't change a single note of that instrumentation even today, seeing this tweet reminds me of just how much grief that piece gave me.


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