in video games a new art
Chu is a senior political science major from Arlington.
A December Chicago
Tribune story explored an up-and-coming format of music: the video
game soundtrack. While the graphics and game play of modern video
games and their systems have evolved since Pac-Man, the
music of the modern video game has also grown to new levels. Despite
the advances in video games and their music, American culture still
snubs its artistic beauty. While American motion picture soundtracks
sometimes receive awards, video game soundtracks usually get the cold
shoulder. American culture should give more recognition to the video
game soundtrack along with the motion picture soundtrack.
Many people stereotypically believe that video game music is simply
the bleep-bloop sounds of Pong. On the contrary,
just as the motion picture soundtrack has evolved, so has the modern
day video game soundtrack. The game soundtrack for True Crime:
Streets of L.A. contains three original songs from hip-hop musician
Snoop Dogg. Harry Gregson-Williams, composer of the films The
Rock and Enemy of the State, composed the soundtrack
for the video game Metal Gear Solid 2. Though the early
video games contained only bleep-bloop, todays video
games contain music from platinum-selling rappers and Hollywood composers.
Despite the advances in technology and art, American culture barely
acknowledges video game music. Americas Academy of Motion Picture
Arts and Sciences and even MTVs Peoples Choice Awards
dont recognize anything to do with video games. A visit to the
Virgin Megastore in Grapevine revealed only a small shelf of video
game music compared to a whole aisle of movie soundtracks. Admittedly
the disproportionate supply could be attributed to the lack of marketability
for video game soundtracks. Though this could also be attributed to
cultural indifference to a growing art form.
Overseas, other cultures are embracing the art of video game soundtracks.
The British Academy of Television and Film Arts recently added an
awards category for the video game soundtrack. Concerts with video
game music in Japan are becoming the same as concerts with motion
picture music in the United States. While it is not the most important
music format in history, it is an art form that Europe and Asia are
beginning to recognize and appreciate.
Before people continue to snub video game music, they should listen
to some. One excellent piece is Liberi Fatali from the
video game Final Fantasy VIII. As an example of how the video game
soundtrack has evolved, the opera style piece uses full orchestral
music with a choir singing in Latin. The School of Music will probably
not play it and may even laugh at the idea of artistic video game
music. Nevertheless, this video game piece has been played in orchestral
concerts in Japan and perhaps, in the far future, it will be played
in an orchestral concert here in the United States.