Tag Archives: Final Fantasy

Video Game Soundtracks Enjoy Success On 2015 Classic FM Hall Of Fame

As has become a tradition each Easter weekend, Classic FM have been counting down the Top 300 pieces of classical music as voted for by the public in its annual ‘Hall Of Fame’ – and it has once again provided an excellent opportunity for the campaign to get more recognition for classical and orchestrated video game music to have their voices (and music) heard. With the countdown now at an end (SPOILERS – ‘The Lark Ascending’ was voted into top spot for the second year running), I am delighted to report that video game composers enjoyed another year of success.

With ClassicVGMusic once again doing a sterling job of reporting on the countdown on Twitter, the soundtracks came in thick and fast – 2015 has seen twelve video games represented on the Hall Of Fame (4% of the total entries), setting a new record for the campaign in terms of overall representation. If you want a refresher of last year’s results, then my summary article can be read here.

The Results

Before lavishing praise on those soundtracks which made the list, sadly Austin Wintory’s moving score for Journey was unable to match its debut on the 2014 chart, falling out of the Top 300 completely. I would nominate ‘Apotheosis’ as a superb example of why it should be included on the charts.

  • Halo made its debut on the charts at #244 – now that Marty O’Donnell has left Bungie, one wonders whether Halo 5: Guardians will feature such a memorable score
  • Double Oscar winner Gustavo Santaoalla’s soundtrack for The Last Of Us was also a new debutant at #193. While I adore the soundtrack though, I find the inclusion of The Last Of Us to be the most contentious video game entry on the chart; the music is more designed for atmosphere than for orchestral/symphonic adaptation
  • The music of South Korea’s national sport – StarCraft II, composed by Glen Stafford led a zerg rush to #163
  • Nobuo Uematsu was always going to get on the list (see further below), but in the shape of Blue Dragon he can now claim two entries in the Hall Of Fame – another debutant for 2015 at #118
  • The final debutant was a long overdue entry – the music of The Legend Of Zelda composed by Koji Kondo, slotting into #84 and earning the prestige of being the highest new entry on the chart. There’s still no place for Mario though, so this is the only entry representing Nintendo’s wares

And so what of the returning old guard?

  • Kingdoms Of Amalur: Reckoning, the first of three works from British composer Grant Kirkhope (who therefore maintains his title as the most prolific video game compose in the Hall Of Fame) managed to rise by sixteen spots to claim #59
  • As the only MMORPG to make the chart, World Of Warcraft holds a heavy burden and slipped one place to #53 – still a great showing for Russell Brower et al
  • Kirkhope’s breezy and fun soundtrack for Viva Pinata, which has now been in the last three Hall Of Fame lists, rose 13 spots to #41
  • With a huge leap of 147 places, Kingdom Hearts is #30 on the chart – a brilliant feat also making composer Yoko Shimomura the highest placed female on a chart dominated by the male composers of the past. The recent release of 5 HD REMIX featured re-orchestrated versions of several tracks, no doubt helping to enhance the appeal of the series
  • The big surprise entry of last year, Kirkhope’s soundtrack for Banjo-Kazooie made even bigger waves this year; it made it to #13! The game specifically being recognized was the 2008 release, Nuts & Bolts
  • Having peaked in 5th place in 2013, Jeremy Soule’s superb soundtracks for The Elder Scrolls series dropped a little last year but has regained momentum to earn #11 on the charts. Whereas ‘Dragonborn’ has been used in the past to represent the series, this time the opening theme to The Elder Scrolls Online was played
  • And so finally, as has been the case for the past four years, Uematsu’s scores for Final Fantasy was the highest placed video game soundtrack on the list. While it was unable to match the heady heights of 2013 when it threatened Beethoven to be voted in 3rd spot (and it is unlikely to do so as the vote has become fractured for several different pieces including the mainstay ‘Aerith’s Theme’ and others such as ‘Dancing Mad’ rather than the series as a whole), remaining in the Top Ten at #9 is still a fantastic achievement. And to top it off, they played ‘Zanarkand’…one of my all time favorite pieces of music

2015’s Hall Of Fame was therefore a case of strength in numbers; a trend which I personally hope will continue and allow more soundtracks to be either played and recognized on Classic FM or at least be featured on the 2016 countdown. What did you make of the charts, and what soundtracks do you think would make great ambassadors for video game music? Let me know in the comments below, and a Happy Easter (or what’s left of it) to you all.

E3 2013 – The Top Five Things I’m Anticipating And Conference Times

(UPDATE – E3 2013 has since passed. If you want to read my recollection of events, then click here for the article)

All eyes on the gaming world will be on Los Angeles later today – it might not be the best gaming conference in existence (that title for me belongs to GamesCom), but E3 is certainly the biggest of them all and as a result garners the attention of the media like no other gaming event.

For the past two years I have produced a relatively in depth live-blog of events as they unfolded through the day (which, if you want to invoke a bit of nostalgia and have a laugh at all the broken promises can be seen here both for 2011 and 2012) – I very much enjoyed typing up these reports, but this year a combination of actual academic work, a lack of a laptop that won’t overheat after five hours and general laziness means that I’ll be producing a much more concise report on events which you should expect around Wednesday or Thursday.

Still, this doesn’t stop me from casting an optimistic eye over what I hope might happen at this years E3; so without further ado, these are the top five things that I will be looking forward to over the next twenty four hours. Continue reading E3 2013 – The Top Five Things I’m Anticipating And Conference Times

E3 2011: Roundup Of News From The Show Floor

And so finally the dust has settled, and E3 is over for another year. The headline games and consoles have been revealed, speculation and rage/delight has been expressed across the world, and many a new E3 meme have been created. What this article will do is just round up a few interesting stories that occurred from the show floor, and give some exposure to games that were missed off from the main conferences. Continue reading E3 2011: Roundup Of News From The Show Floor

Top Ten…Game Soundtracks

I am a pretty big fan of music; I mean who isn’t? Over the years however, my music tastes have changed; whereas I was once happy to listen to random pop songs on local radio, I slowly became swayed by a peculiar mix of rock, indie and BBC Radio 2, before starting to appreciate gaming music in full. I think that the musical element of some games often get unfairly ignored in favour of graphics and gameplay, and that is why I stress in my reviews whether the audio in a game is any good or not. I have had the great fortune over the years to listen to some superb tracks of music from a wide range of games, and in this list I intend to reveal my favourite game soundtracks, why I love them and a few recommendations for tracks to listen to.

This is easily the hardest Top 10 that I have produced because of the difficulty of deciding what games should make the cut. In order to make the process a bit simpler, I decided that only one game in any given franchise would be allowed a place in the Top Ten, and with one exception which will become obvious, all soundtracks had to be original compositions or arrangements for that game. After several hours of listening to tracks, I have finally completed my list. Continue reading Top Ten…Game Soundtracks