Even if Roger Ebert maintains that video games aren't art, the music that accompanies those virtual worlds most certainly has to qualify.
If arranging a series of repetitive bleeps and bloops into something resembling a harmony that can be listened to for hours on end isn't an artistic achievement then nothing is.
Plus, the market has spoken and critics be damned -- video game music is its own cottage industry now. Before racking up Oscars for Pixar and whipping up soundscapes for any project JJ Abrams lays his hands on, Michael Giacchino got his start as the composer behind the Medal of Honor series.
Motor-mouth Tommy Tallarico, formerly of G4TV, now tours the country with Video Games Live, and this weekend, arguably the greatest score from gaming's classic era gets the full orchestral treatment with The Legend of Zelda™: Symphony of the Goddesses at the Orpheum Theatre.
The Zelda symphony is constructed around a series of movements, each based on a chapter from the Zelda franchise - the epic and ongoing story of Link, the Triforce and the land of Hyrule.
Combined with visual images from the games, the show promises to pay tribute to the music that accompanied players around the world on their epic quests. But while the tunes of game systems gone by are now selling out venues, Web denizens are retrograding already popular compositions to give inspiring instrumental themes the tinny racket of any true 8-bit experience.
Here are 3 chip tune covers that you may want to take on your own epic quest (or just your next trip to the grocery store)
3. TRON Legacy (End Titles)
The only thing that saved Tron: Legacy from being a dose of visual Ambien was Daft Punk's symphonic/electronic accompaniment. Solar Sailer and Son of Flynn are two standout tracks from a superb album, but this chip tune arrangement of the end title sequence brings the Tron experience full circle.
If you're keeping score at home, the creator of this performed an 8 bit conversion to an 85 piece orchestral soundtrack of a technologically superior sequel to a movie about a retro video-game. Try to wrap your mind around that hall of mirrors. Oh, and as long as we're on the topic of mindf#@ks:
It's no secret that Inception plays well for gamer audiences. The notion of multiple worlds, various levels of reality and treasures locked away like Easter Eggs in a virtual space matches the structure inherent to most, if not all video games from the 3rd generation forward.
Plus the oddball in-movie physics are reminiscent of Super Mario Galaxy. It's only appropriate then that Hans Zimmer's minimalist score gets its own MIDI emulation. With the skill set of a gamer and now this as your new background music, you too can "go deeper" (in whatever special context that phrase holds for you.)
1. Lux Aeterna
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You have to admit, Clint Mansell's haunting composition for Requiem for a Dream used to be a lot cooler before it became the standard piece of trailer music for any explosion-laden-popcorn flick.
As a result it's now overused by Ringers in their Viggo Mortensen tribute videos and blasted from the windows of many a Corolla by SCAers on their way to weekend campouts/swordfights. However, this 8-bit treatment restores some of the original's gravitas, especially if imagined as the opening credits to a NES RPG in which your pixilated sprite needs to load up on diet pills to engage in a boss battle with an anthropomorphic refrigerator.