Noby Noby Boy was my very favorite “game” of 2009 – in no small part because of the music. On the surface of things, the game is very lighthearted and chaotic. Indeed, inflicting chaos on tiny digital worlds is the entire point. Silly-looking characters run for cover as you crash into homes buildings and eat anything and everything in sight, while animals dressed in spacesuits hop on your avatar’s back for a joyride.
Yet despite the madcap surrealism of it all, the soundtrack is very relaxed. I particularly love the wistful acoustic numbers, like the “Folk Guitar” and “Acoustic Guitar” instrumentals, or the acoustic cover of “Lonely Rolling Star.” My very favorite Noby Noby Boy moments, though, happen when J.S. Bach’s famous “Cello Suite No. 1” kicks in. It’s just so absurd to hear Bach’s exquisite harmonies play as a crudely modeled giant robot falls from the sky, or as your friend swallows your avatar for the umpteenth time. But it’s precisely this gleeful absurdity that’s so striking.
For me, it’s this stark contrast between gameplay and music that frames the whole experience of the game. The tranquil vibe of the background music hints that there’s something deeper going on here, that there’s something important in surrendering oneself to the fanciful and absurd, to the joy of unstructured childlike play. It never fails to put a smile on my face.