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April 2015 Retro Gaming Article

April 29, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Marilyn Manson took creative inspiration from Playstation One discs when pressing his latest album

As a long time fan of Marilyn Manson's music, despite his peculiarities, I was excited to see another studio album come out. I often feel as though I'm one of the last people on the planet who still buys CDs - pre-recorded CDs. I'd much rather buy a band's CD than download the files from iTunes. The physical product is part of the awesomeness of buying music. Isn't that part of the appeal in the resurgence of album releases on vinyl? You can even buy Taylor Swift's recent album on vinyl at my local Newbury Comics store.

Marilyn Manson - The Pale Emperor Demand for CD's is certainly low these days. This forces record labels to devise new strategies to lure buyers into buying a physical copy rather than a digital download. Manson's traditional "dark" motif has been carried over to his release of The Pale Emperor. The inner packaging is black as is the CD itself - front and back!

You may remember the initial run of game discs for the Playstation were black on the read side with a standard label on the top side. Tehy looked pretty cool, but were actually an early technique for dissuading illegal duplication. This was a time when CD burners were the biggest threat to digital media. It was also a time when video games were trying to differentiate themselves from other digital packaging and employed a few different packaging styles before they went to a DVD-like case.

My first music collection were vinyl LPs. Album art was an intrinsic part of buying an listening to music. Very often the inner sleeve that protected the album also contained artwork and/or info. The same was true of Laserdiscs which were also packaged similarly to LPs. When CDs were first released they came in long boxes that often replicated the cover art on the outer box and the insert in the CD's plastic case.

Battle Arena Toshinden for Playstation That was quickly dispensed with due to costs and we really lost the concept of album art. Both cassettes and 8-tracks had artwork, but the media was small and didn't offer the vast canvas of a vinyl album.

To go back to his gothic roots, Manson's faction chose the black polycarbonate discs used by those early PlayStation games. They even sourced them from Sony and used the same plant from where the first PlayStation discs were manufactured. His camp says the decision was purely aesthetic for the "dark" look of the media.

They took the visual an additional step by applying a thermal layer to the top of the disc. As the disc heats up spinning inside your CD player, it turns from black to white and returns to black as it cools. Pretty slick!

Criticom for Playstation

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