As the London Philharmonic Orchestra prepares for a unique concert called Video Game Heroes, it’s clear that the music-to-kill-baddies-by we all know and love has officially become a legitimate art form.
The concert, which is being held as part of the Vision Sound Music Festival on London’s South Bank in September, will give gaming fans the chance to hear their favourite themes like never before. So, before one of the world’s greatest orchestras puts its own spin on the sounds of Final Fantasy, Grand Theft Auto et al, we thought we’d run through our own preferred list of symphonic soundtracks…
Super Mario Bros.
Perhaps the most recognisable video game theme tune ever fed through a synthesizer, composer Koji Kondo’s theme for the ages is remarkable in that it never gets tiring – even when you’ve been hearing it for 12 hours straight after a marathon session.
It’s a mark of the impact of Rovio’s world-conquering app has been that even its theme tune is addictive. Reminiscent of the Tetris theme but with added ‘Squaaa’s, it’s deceptively simple, immensely whistle-able and impossible to get out of your head. Check out the original version below and a very clever Angry Birds cover by indie duo Pomplamoose.
You know how techno became huge in the 90s? Well, Mortal Kombat is partly to blame. That banging opening salvo accompanied by a shriek of ‘Mortal Kombaaaatttt’ every 20 seconds or so is the perfect warm-up music before a blood-drenched session of face-breaking and spine detaching.
Arranged by Nintendo’s Hirokazu Tanaka and based on a Russian folk song called Korobeiniki, the Tetris theme was used to devastating effect. As you progressed through the game, the music got faster, the pressure got more intense and the shape shifting became more difficult. Rarely since has music and gameplay been combined so effectively.
Shadow Of The Colossus
This critically lauded but criminally underplayed game saw one man and his horse traversing a desolate landscape in search of giant monsters to kill. What was so cool about the accompanying soundtrack was that most of the game was completely silent… Until you happened upon one of the titular creatures, at which point the music would slowly build, creating palpable tension along the way and crashing into a stunning crescendo as the fallen beast lay slain at your feet. Absolutely stunning stuff.
The Legend of Zelda
After creating the ultimate earworm with the Super Mario theme, Koji Kondo returned with yet another classic in the shape of The Legend Of Zelda. Instantly recognizable to even those who’ve never guided Link, it’s the very definition of epic and never fails to get gamers’ pulses racing.
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