Jonathan Fischer

Bigger, Badder, Buggier

January 2021 – May 2021

Bigger, Badder, Buggier is a racing game for web themed around the annual “buggy” races at Carnegie Mellon University. For the unfamiliar, CMU has an event the weekend before the last week of school called Carnival, and one of its biggest events involves the racing of manned, unpowered, carbon-fiber torpedos that can go up to 40 miles per hour.

Due to the pandemic, the buggy races couldn’t happen in person the past two years, so the Advanced Game Studio class at CMU decided to make a buggy racing video game instead. Last year’s iteration didn’t have original music, so I was tasked with writing a full original soundtrack for the game.

I had two major sources of inspiration for the game’s music. The first was the CMU Fight Song, played by the Kiltie Band at sporting events and such. I made a happy hardcore remix of this track for “Race for the Glory of Carnegie”, and adapted a lick from the melody into both “The Good, the Bad, and the Buggy” and the race end fanfare.

The second main source of inspiration was Mario Kart soundtracks. The tracks “Even the Fastest Must Stop to Rest” and “Rainbow Bridge to the Shining Gates” heavily borrow musical tropes from the menu themes and Rainbow Road themes respectively of the Mario Kart series.

The last track, “Having Crossed the Finish Line”, plays on the race results screen. It was originally an attempt at writing a title theme that I felt was better suited for a lower-energy setting. An eagle-eyed (hmm… owl-eared?) listener might notice that it and “The Good, the Bad, and the Buggy” share most of their instrumentation!

To create a sense of unity between the tracks, nearly all of them use the same synth lead featuring a sampled bagpipe intrument. Keep an ear out for it as you listen to the soundtrack!