If you read this blog, you will know of my absolute love for video game music. It doesn’t matter whether it’s orchestral, metal or retro midi files. I love everything about video game music, and I spend a good chunk of my time listening to it and reliving associated moments from each song in my head. The battle music for Devil May Cry 4 pumps me up and makes me think of destroying demons with a huge sword. The boss battle music for Baten Kaitos makes me think of having a little mini rave to myself while I quickly flick through battle cards. Even listening to The Song of Storms from Zelda makes me remember the hours I spent changing the weather in Hyrule, just because I felt like it.
Video game music is great, but it’s not very widely recognised as a popular genre outside of its niche. For the past two years though, the Classic FM Hall of Fame has welcomed some new names and faces to its ranks, some of which have been video games. This makes me so unbelievably happy, I can’t even begin to describe. To see my favourite entertainment medium get so much recognition is just wonderful to see, however there have been some who have ridiculed their well-earned places. There has always been, to me anyway, an element of elitism from the classical music world. It’s called classic for a reason, and love it or hate it, Classic FM play homage to some of the best composers out there, living and dead. I have attended several outdoor classical concerts, and there is no reason why these compositions from more obscure media cannot be included.
Do the Final Fantasy Series and The Elder Scrolls series deserve their place at 5th and 3rd in the hall of fame? Yes, of course they do, and I would never put them anywhere else. Do they have a place amongst some of the greatest composers we have known? Yes. If Eternal Sonata is a game based on the life of Frederic Chopin, featuring his very own compositions, then of course video games deserve a place. In fact, I became interested in Frederic Chopin after playing Eternal Sonata. I have always enjoyed a small selection of classical music anyway, alongside my obscure taste in Japanese hardcore trance and Japanese rock, so video games featuring classical music was an instant win for me.
Another example of a time when classical music and video games worked in perfect harmony is Dragon Quest VIII. Koichi Sugiyama composed a beautiful score to this wonderful Japanese RPG, and I think if it was composed in any other way it wouldn’t have worked. I will definitely be putting in a fresh vote for Koichi Sugiyama, and encouraging others to do the same.
I can understand the hostility from those outside of the video game fandom, but I do wonder; have these people listened to the songs that they are slating so much? My Aunt listens to Classic FM a lot, and I played her one of my Distant Worlds CDs and she loved it. It’s played by an orchestra, and just because it’s from a video game does not de-merit it in any way at all in my mind. The brilliant Lord of the Rings soundtrack is allowed, but why not video games? Perhaps people need to open their minds a bit more.
Now, I’m not for one second suggesting that video games should start to dominate the Classic FM airwaves, but I think they should be given a chance, because Nobuo Uematsu, Koichi Sugiyama and even Koji Kondo are magnificent composers who deserve to be heard, and deserve to be acknowledged for their talent.
What do you think? Should video games have a place in the Classic FM Hall of Fame? Which composers do you want to see there?