With Easter having just passed for another year, it means that over on Classic FM the annual Hall Of Fame competition, where listeners vote for their top 300 pieces of classical music, has been drawn to a close. For the past five years now, there has been a push to have classically influenced/performed pieces of music from video games represented on the list in a similar way to films, and this year has been another success story; albeit with the focus more on the breadth of games represented rather than hitting the very top of the charts as was the case in 2013 and 2014. I’ve written a result analysis for the past two years, and if you are interested you can find the links to those articles here and here.
The 2016 Breakdown
Overall, there were 11 pieces represented on the chart this year, down one from the record high of 12 in 2015. Sadly, video game tracks suffered drops across the board, including the biggest drop on the chart for the pastoral chimes of Viva Pinata – the most interesting part of this change however was the mixup in terms of the games represented; three debutantes from last year dropped out of the charts entirely (Halo, The Last Of Us & Starcraft II) as well as former stalwart Kingdoms Of Amalur: Reckoning to be replaced by two newcomers and one new entry – proving if nothing else that there is a wide selection of music from games that can claim to be represented year on year.
- As aforementioned, Viva Pinata was the first game to hit the list, down 231 places having climbed by 133 over the past two years! It is the fourth year the game has been voted for on the charts, and was the first of British composer Grant Kirkhope’s two entries
- Also dropping down the ranks was Russell Brower’s soundtrack for the MMORPG World Of Warcraft, resting this year in 269th. Perhaps the upcoming Warcraft film adaptation will renew people’s interest for next year
- The first new video game entry on the chart came from one of last year’s top rated games – Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture, which slotted in just after WoW in 268th Jessica Curry’s award winning soundtrack is up for Audio Achievement and Music at next week’s BAFTA Game Awards
- At No. 221, Journey was the only re-entry for the video game campaign on the chart, having previously ranked at 289 in 2014
- The highest new entry in the chart was from a video game for the second year running; at No.144 it was the turn of Shenmue to take it’s bow, with music composed by Yuzo Koshiro and Ryuji Iuchi
- Last year’s big name entry, The Legend Of Zelda series, was down 51 places this year at No.135 – Koki Kondo’s work on the seemingly evergreen franchise remains the only Nintendo property on the chart
- The first of Nobuo Uematsu’s entries on the chart (you can guess the other one), Blue Dragon¸ was down eight places at No.126
- Sadly, Jeremy Soule’s work on The Elder Scrolls, a game series which has charted highly for the past four years, was arguably the biggest casualty to the campaign this year – having once incredibly been inside the top five, ‘Dragonborn’ from Skyrim could only manage 120th spot
- Squeezing out Jurassic Park to fit inside the top 100 for the third year in a row, Kirkhope’s second entry was the ever loveable Banjo Kazooie. It dropped 85 places this year to 98th spot
- Maintaining her spot as the top female composer represented on the chart, Yoko Shimomura’s work on the Kingdom Hearts series generated enough votes for 31st position, a drop of only one from 2015.
- And finally, despite a drop of eight places, Final Fantasy was once again the supreme representative for the video game campaign. Uematsu’s combined work on the franchise (again represented by ‘Aerith’s Theme’ on the chart) has now been in the Top 20 since voting for games was allowed – now we just need to get another Distant Worlds concert to attend London!
It is worth mentioning that the remainder of the chart after Final Fantasy was largely a case of non-movers, with Vaughn-Williams’ The Lark Ascending taking the victory for a third straight year – at least the 1812 Overture got a boost this year!
Finally, if all this talk of classical video game music has got you wanting more, then you don’t have to wait long – following on from the success of the charts, Classic FM are set to run a full show of video game music this upcoming Saturday between 5 and 7pm to celebrate the games being represented for Music at the BAFTA awards.