Creating a successful video game is a mercurial thing. It’s a delicate operation involving sometimes thousands of people working for years and years to create a balanced and fun game. Of course, character design is incredibly important. As is the case with current gameplay, ensure the reward loop is good enough to keep players glued to their consoles for hours. But the connective tissue that holds it all together and can make or break a game is music. Masato Nakamura is the brilliant composer behind the games sonic the hedgehog and Sonic the hedgehog 2. While you might be familiar with his Green Hill Zone sounds, you probably don’t know that in addition to being a video game hall of famer, he’s also a J-pop star.
In 1988, three years before the gaming world was changed forever by the blue fuzzy-loving chili dog who came from had to go fast, Nakamura along with Miwa Yoshida and Takahiro Nishikawa formed the band Dreams Come True. The trio released their debut album and it was a huge hit in Japan. The hits kept coming as the band released 4 albums in 1991, the year of their first sonic the hedgehog Release.
The uplifting and honestly cold bop that is sonic The main theme clearly has its roots in the late 80s synth pop that Nakamura and the rest of Dreams Come True are known for. Their fifth album “The Swinging Star” was for some time the best-selling Japanese album of all time. They dropped this banger in 1992, the same year that sonic the hedgehog 2, for which Nakamura composed, came out. If you’re trying to be transported to an epic, pop place full of 80s smack and Phil Collins-worthy synthesizer, check out their early stuff.
Fun fact for you 90s movie fans, Dreams Come True also recorded the opening theme for the Japanese release of Insomnia in Seattle. When you’re at your local quiz night and you win a free bar tab because you knew it, you’re welcome. What’s even more amazing is that the band is still together and making hits. Keyboardist Takahiro Nishikawa left the band in 2003, but Nakamura and Yoshida still make sweet, mellow music together.