Jude and I have learned an important lesson over the last five songs, and “Halo” really typifies it: In 2009, a song does not exist until it exists on YouTube. I’m happy to say that usethefork’s fantastic video caught the eye of Owen at Kotaku and he posted some love for it. Kotaku commenters are…unrestrained in their dislike for things that they dislike, so seeing so many positive responses and compliments on what we made and what usethefork took even further really means a lot.

When we did the lyrics, we were sweating details. We realized they had to be realstic — for instance, there are no Carney Holes on Desolation, but there are on Isolation. I knew if we didn’t get stuff like that right, we’d get busted by the fans. So I hereby apologize for this one, which xmywreckingballx pointed out:

xmywreckingballx: at 3:40 he says “losing in valhalla to a guy duel wielding maulers.” Guess what buddy??? Forge forbids you from using maulers on Valhalla!!! I’ve tried it! nice one.

Doh. I admit, I haven’t played with Forge enough to know that. But as I was looking for lyric fodder, I couldn’t resist the internal near-rhyme of “Valhalla” and “Mauler” so I rolled the dice. And lost. But this kind of stuff does matter to me. Song parodies are funnier when they’re true.

HandsomeCarl: WHAAAT?! I thought if you installed Halo 3 onto your 360 it would load slower?? Why would he do that? Unless they fixed that and I didn’t know about it.

No, as Bungie has clearly stated, for best performance, you should not install Halo 3 to your 360’s hard drive. But the song wasn’t intended an instruction manual or technical advice. It was just a rhyme.

I was a little concerned about people “getting it.” Like, will people take it literally, as some uber-endorsement of Halo? Will someone really assume that because Dan works at OXM, he is dissing these other games? Of course not. I mean, come on — we give gamers more credit than that! Who would take it that far?

TrueEnglishGent: Though saying Halo 3 is better then COD4 is madness to me.

Kia: Hilarious, but the guys need throttled for calling Fallout 3 contrived and then singing an ode to -Halo- of all things. Jesus.

Okay, we stand corrected. For the record, “Halo” isn’t editorial advice, either; we both happen to like both COD and Fallout 3. I guess people didn’t get that the singer of the song is a character who is closed-minded about all games but his favorite game, and the irony at the end is that he’s not good at it. It’s a story from a stereotype. The song is not a review.

It’s just games, and it’s a just a joke. Please enjoy it on that level.

Awesome, fan art — from a real artist and everything! Charlie Gavin, the mind behind the daily superhero webcomic Silver Age, created some caricatures of us and made us some custom wallpapers. We like them! You will too! You have to, because it’s like our little cartoon eyes bore right into your very soul. There’s a hypnotic effect that you cannot deny. Download the size of your choice:


Major thanks to Charlie! Go read Silver Age from the beginning! And now that we’re animated, can the Palette-Swap Ninja Saturday morning cartoon be far behind?

OMG. We think this is beyond awesome. Check out this new video by usethefork. Cannot even imagine how much work went into syncing stuff up and getting the footage to follow the story of the song. Brilliant.

Well…this has been a very exciting week for us. First, all twelve of our fans heard the song and sent in kind emails and Twitters and comments. Then the top Halo fansite halo.bungie.org heard the song and liked it (well, if you want to get technical, they called it “awesome”) and passed on the word to all the Halo fans. Then Bungie themselves heard the song and liked it (“pretty sweet…pretty entertaining”) and passed on the word again. The result was over 5000 plays of the song from our site alone, not counting Bungie’s mirror.

All we can say is thank you. We do these songs because we love making music and we love gaming. It feels great to have the love returned.

Also — and we were really hoping this would happen — avid Halo player Aven Pheonix has already put together a video, which is mostly footage of him being way better at Halo than we are:

Can you do better? Please do. We’d love to see more videos — all we ask is that you throw our URL in there somewhere so people know where the song came from. Even as we were writing the lyrics, we thought “oh, this would make so much sense to see played out.”

Speaking of which, you can find the full lyrics after the break. (more…)

Palette-Swap Ninja is proud to present our newest song parody:

Palette-Swap Ninja – “Halo ((All I Play-Oh))”

As you may have guessed, it is a loving parody of “Snow ((Hey Oh))” by Red Hot Chili Peppers.

If you like what you hear, tell your friends. Tell a web forum. Hell, tell Bungie.

This one took a while. Jude and I have been talking about this song for about six months, maybe longer, and working on it in earnest for about three, on and off. I had some time off from work so I used it to crash through all the parts I was neglecting — little things like guitars and bass and vocals.

Part of the problem was that “Snow ((Hey Oh))” is far more complicated than it sounds. I knew John Frusciante was a great guitarist, but I didn’t think he’d be quite so impossible to rip off. There was some trickery in getting the guitar part to sound anything like the record; I ultimately recorded it at half-speed. We do what we must.

The other part was that Jude and I really like to tell stories with our dumb little songs, and it took a while to really sculpt the lyrics so that they hit all the points we felt needed to be hit. We wanted a progression through the song so that the lyrics paint a picture and tell a story about this jackass.

And yes…that’s kazoo. I’ve been wanting to sneak in some kazoo for a while now, but since I could not get my Line 6 POD to feed back and I didn’t have an Eventide Harmonizer, this was the right opportunity to bust them out. And I would like to note that this is not just any kazoo. That is three kazoos in three-part harmony, with the lead kazoo having been a gift by a very special gaming musician:

Palette-Swap Ninja is, as you know, a two-man operation, operating on opposite sides of the country. We are both very busy this weekend working on two songs simultaneously, plus a third project on the side.

Here’s Jude’s home studio, located just outside of Boston.

And here’s Dan’s home music studio, located just outside of San Francisco.

When the tracks come out late, you now know who to blame.

Jude said “I guess I should have put a keytar up against the wall.” I said yes, if only to make me look marginally less like a slob.

Just finished up a new little segment jingle for OXM’s podcast. I think you’ll hear it this coming week on show 156. It was fun, but man, these things always take longer than it looks. An 8-second jingle? That’ll be three hours of your day, please!

If you want to hear it, you will have to listen to KOXM, of course. But if you want to see what it looks like, we’ll show you that much:

The next full song was supposed to be out by now, but that, too, is taking longer than expected. Most of the pieces are here in rough form so they are coming along nicely — it’s just the final assembly and re-recording anything that was too sloppy first time around. I’m having a lot of trouble getting the guitar parts to come out clean. Hopefully we’ll have something in the next week or so.