We’ve seen video game music in its own right, become very popular over the last couple of years. The world wide success of the Zelda Symphony and the Distant Worlds concerts show that gamers, albeit fans of those franchises, are willing to pay just to listen to classical music.
I attended the Zelda Symphony in Oct 2011 as I was writing for a Nintendo Site at the time and I think I was unique among the audience. I’ve never been a fan of the Zelda franchise, I’ve only played a couple of the games and was never really sold on them, but my father being a classical musician, I’ve always been a fan of orchestral music. What impressed me that night was the reaction from the crowd. Most were pretty serious Zelda fans, but I’ve never seen an audience get so emotionally involved during a concert before. It made me think; fans of long running game franchises will have invested a large amount of hours within the games and in the background of all those hours, will be the music.
The power of music has always been known throughout the world and it is a proven fact that music stimulates memories. The more repetitive the music, the more it sticks, even unconsciously. We’ve all seen the effects of a catchy pop song, so when some music is played in the background, through hours of gameplay, it’s only natural that your mind will associate memories with that. Couple this with the fact that most of us will spend two to four weeks on a game; it’s a portion of our lives that we could end up associating with the music of the game we are playing, stirring up further memories and their associated emotions.
The above is a drawn out introduction to my review of The Greatest Video Games Music 2. GVGM2 is a collection of the most popular games and sequel to The Greatest Video Games Music 1. Seventeen tracks are included on the album and all are performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra and conducted and arranged by Andrew Skeet.
The tracks featured are from the following games:
- Assassin’s Creed: Revelations
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
- The Legend of Zelda: Wind Walker
- Final Fantasy VII
- Mass Effect 3
- Sonic the Hedgehog
- Chrono Trigger
- Luigi’s Mansion
- Kingdom Hearts
- Super Metroid
- Diablo III
- Batman: Arkham City
- Deus Ex: Human Revolution
- Little Big Planet
All of the tracks, regardless of your experience with the games are impressive, seriously impressive. I can’t say I’ve played or enjoyed all of the above games, but you can’t help but respect how the music captures the essence of the game or how the London Philharmonic Orchestra have made it their own.
My favourite tracks are those that mix the orchestra with modern sounds. The best example of this is the Icarus Main Theme from Deus Ex: Human Revolution when the strings kick in with after the electric build up. The stirring Overture from Diablo III and Far Horizons from Skyrim also rate highly. And everyone should have room for Still Alive from Portal in their playlist.
Not everyone will enjoy Andrew Skeet’s interpretation of each track, favouring the original from the game’s score, but that might only be one of two tracks off the album for each person, and will very much depend on personal investment in the games.
Regardless of your opinion on the interpretation, every track is individually impressive and there is a huge amount of variation to enjoy across the seventeen tracks. It is a fantastic purchase and those who enjoy it, should certainly look at picking up the first volume as well.
Have you already purchased GVGM2? What are your favourite tracks on the album?