Singing the praises of the largely Unsung

I think that the music of video games is fucking wonderful and the composers deserve more recognition. This sentiment is not difficult to cultivate if you play games with more passion than a Tijuana john (or juan), but of course, I intend to take it one step further.

I suppose the first time I realized that game music composers had names was when I finished Super Mario World on the Super NES. “Koji Kondo,” hmm. Catchy name, I thought, and fitting for a guy who writes such catchy tunes. As the chief composer for Nintendo’s first-party titles, it doesn’t take much to see (or hear) the reach of his legacy. Just start humming a couple of bars from any Mario or Zelda game, and even the stupidest bus riding bastard will instantly join you in song.

The second game composer whose name I had to find out was none other than Nobuo Uematsu, the other composer who has a chance of being recognized, for he is the composer for the majority of the Final Fantasy series.

Also, he is a god, and his theme for Final Fantasy should be the national anthem of Japan. Now, I understand how that must sound, but I want to tell you that for every moment I’m being absurdly over-opinionated, I’m being twice as reverent and only 25% as facetious.

I have even written lyrics for this new national anthem, which I will share with you now, but not translate so that all embarrassment falls on the shoulders of the babelfish:

Open this in a new window and sing along. And take off your hat. The lyrics start in the ninth bar.

光があふれる夢を見続け
闇を抱きしめずに夢を追い掛け
目で見えない真実を認め
掛かって来る虚妄に立ち向かえ

あ!
日本!!
らら〜らららら
ら・ら・ら・ら・ら・ら〜
ら・ら〜
らら〜ららら〜ららら
ららら

You get the idea. What?

Anyway, this has been the first of what I hope will be many articles on the music of video games and how goddamn beautiful and substantial it is to both the gaming world, and the world of music itself. There are many more composers whose names we should be able to recognize, and whose works should ring in our ears long after the completion of their games.

2 Responses to “Singing the praises of the largely Unsung”

  1. t Says:

    yes, agreed. I read an article about mr. kondo and he said the way he got started was by responding to an ad about a little company, nintendo, looking for composers (he was fresh out of school). his first assignments were mario and mike tysons punch out. he said he would have never imaged his songs would have the popularity that they do. its also cool to see that he went from only having 4 electronic tracks to this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKlJmUg5uZU pretty baddass. on the local college radio there’s a show that is dedicated to video game music which is great. i heard the music to streets of rage on the genesis which is amazing. but the best use of video game music is by far by this group 8-bit har har har

  2. amerikuidaore Says:

    That’s a great video — and look, there’s Shigeru Miyamoto!

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