This year’s iconic flag-waving celebration of classical music will include a video game concert for the first time since its inauguration in 1895. Though video games have been around since the 1950s, I’m going to give the BBC the benefit of the doubt for not playing the music of Bertie the Brain.
The video game Prom will take place at the Royal Albert Hall in London on August 1st. It will start at 19:30 and will feature 30 minutes of music. However, they are yet to announce the full programme. The current schedule includes Battlefield 2042 – a video game with the most memorable of scores – Dear Esther, Kingdom Hearts, and Shadow of the Colossus.
The name of the Video Game Prom – From 8-Bit to Infinity – is an obvious nod to the roots of video gaming, as well as the more modern aspects, such as: the wondrous Infinity Engine; Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare; or possibly the developer behind the aforementioned title, Infinity Ward; oh, and of course the most recent bearer of infinity, Halo Infinite.
Press X to Continue – the BBC gaming podcast – had their say on what music they wanted to hear. They mentioned the nordic chanting from God of War, as well as the retro electronica of Streets of Rage. And also the fantastical music of The Witcher and Elder Scrolls franchises.
The video game scores will be performed by none other than the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Electronically expanded and conducted by Robert Ames, who is known for exploring unorthodox sounds.
For many adults – not all adults – video games are unsociable, violent, and usually deemed a waste of time. Generations of elders struggle to comprehend the lure of video games. Some see their children glued contently to a screen and presume they’re fine. Others question whether it’s sensible that their child spends so much time out of reality.
With the introduction of video game music to the Proms, marches of parents and grandparents will have the opportunity to listen to the aural delights of VGM. Maybe then they will appreciate that there’s more to the flittering scenes they see on screens.
When subtracted from the game, it’s strange that the music alone is often respected more than the game itself. Aerith’s Theme has found a home on Classic FM, usually credited as ‘And that was Aerith’s Theme by Nobuo Uematsu’. No mention of Final Fantasy VII and the impact it had on the video game industry. No mention of those it inspired.
This may be a first for video gaming but why has it taken so long? 30 minutes – full programme to be announced – seems too short to showcase the best of a genre, but it’s good to see VGM appearing alongside hundreds of years of classical music. In a sense, the musical pieces composed for video games are the scions of those great composers; the modern opera then is the video game.
What songs or games would you like to see featured?