Thank you, Technograph! But your music is in another castle…

As video games have made their way into mainstream culture, so have the memorable melodies that accompany them. This issue, Technograph is pleased to introduce you to some of the ways in which video game music has made it off the console and into popular culture.

Internet Musicians

As soon as the Internet allowed people to post their own videos and sound clips, amateur artists began sharing their own renditions of video game songs. Perhaps one of the earliest of such artists, Group X (ever heard of “End of Ze World?”) became very popular with their “Super Mario Twins” video, which featured a comedic rendition of classic Mario music with a drumset, bass guitar, a cappella singing and sound effects. Many others began to pepper Youtube with exciting video game music performances, played by guitar, piano, string quartet, choir, or even beatboxing flute. Youtube and Newgrounds feature countless clips of electronic remixes of video game themes from Mario, Zelda, Metroid, and Final Fantasy games, to name a few. Hop online and check them out; there are plenty of talented musicians out there!

Performing Groups

But the video game music craze is not confined to the Internet. Many musical groups tour the nation, bringing video game music to millions of adoring fans. Video Games Live, the first official video game musical experience, features live video game tunes performed by orchestras and choirs and set to exciting visual effects. Distant Worlds is another such group, a symphony orchestra and choir that performs the music of Nobuo Uematsu, acclaimed composer of the music in the Final Fantasy series. Other talented musical groups have put very creative twists on the music from video games. The Runaway Five, an ensemble from Canada, features performances of jazz arrangements of music from Earthbound, Final Fantasy, and Zelda games. These groups hold large concerts all over the United States, adding their own creative twists to classic melodies.

National Recognition

Last year, video game music stole a share of the spotlight when composer Christopher Tin’s masterpiece “Baba Yetu,” better known as the opening theme to Sid Meier’s Civilization IV, received a Grammy award for “Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalists,” according to Joystiq. This is the first song featured in a video game to ever win a Grammy award, and it demonstrates the arrival of video game music into popular culture.