Traditionally Video games have been championed for their visual accomplishments. Just like any good movie, video games require a musical score to complete the package. Two Murray State students are exploring that music in a Video Game Concert this weekend.
The concert is the brainchild of music student Brittany Young. She said she found a way to bring together her two passions, music and video games.
“I just, was like, you know maybe I can get a little ensemble together maybe I can arrange a little bit,” Young said.
Young said there is one game that inspired her more than any other.
“It’s almost like subliminal messaging how the music gets incorporated with the video game,” she said. “And I thought for the longest time Kōji Kondō , the main composer for a lot of the Zelda games, had really good use like main tools for success in the video for instruments. And it was just really cool to see that all incorporated.”
Young partnered with classmate Colton Burge for the concert. They say their song list shows an evolution in the music. The Legend of Zelda for instance. Its original eight bit soundtrack is far different than what you hear today. It goes from simple computer sounds to a full-blown orchestra.
Burge said living through that transition of video game music quality is what makes this concert so much fun and he wants the audience to experience that effect.
“You don’t focus quite as much on the dialogue in video games, you’re focusing on the action,” he said. “And the music has to match that. So while all that’s going on this music’s going on in the background and if you’re not paying attention it’s just noise. But when you actually take the time to listen to it you discover it’s this very dense and deeply emotionally gripping experience.”
The concert features brass, woodwind, strings and percussion instruments. The two knew they would not be able to get the copyrights for the music, so instead chose to decipher it just through listening. After more than 30 hours of preparation they had their score.
Even though Burge and Young are being tight-lipped about most of the concert’s music, they did offer up their favorites. After Zelda they say Pokemon is a must have for audiences.
Young said there is one game she wasn’t sure would make it into the concert, a 2010 game titled Nier. She says the music from this game really affected her as a musician.
“It just has a lot of emotion into the story line,” she said. “And at the very end of the game it’s just very, very touching and I added in a string quintet piece to part of the music that was in the background. So that was a little unexpected.”
Young says the video game generation is reaching an age where they will have more input on what music is played. And for them influences are no longer just classical composers.
“It’s still kind of a hush hush thing in the music industry,” she said. “At the same time you get this very large fan base of devoted players who want to hear this kind of thing. Within the past few years there’s been a crazy demand for it.”
Burge and Young say they aren’t sure if compsing video game music is a field they want to pursue. But they are certain it will be a major part of their musical identity for a long time to come.
The Video Game Concert is Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in Murray State’s Performing Arts Hall.