Clocked

8-Bit to Infinity: video game soundtracks are considered fine art now

BBC Proms, the world-famous collection of classical music concerts, will feature video game music for the first time, and we’re all very excited.

For the first time since its establishment in 1985, BBC Proms will include original music from video games in their acclaimed concert series. Called Prom 21: From 8-Bit to Infinity, the event will consist of songs from video games such as Dear EstherBattlefield 2042, Kingdom Hearts, and Shadow of the Colossus.

The Prom will take place on August 1st in London’s Royal Albert Hall, where it will be decked with video game memorabilia. The video game concert will be performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and led by Robert Ames.

Ames made headlines for another concert; his sci-fi themed prom featuring the likes of Alien: Covenant and Interstellar8-Bit to Infinity begins with Battlefield 2042′s “suite” composed by Sam Slater and Hildur Guðnadóttir.

Royal Albert Hall
Image: The Royal Albert Hall where BBC Proms will take place.

It’ll be followed by music from Shadow of the Colossus by Kow Otani, excerpts from Kingdom Hearts by Yoko Shimomura, and finally “I Have Begun My Ascent” from Dear Esther by Jessica Curry.

They may all be new to BBC Proms, but Kingdom Hearts is no stranger to the world stage. Last year’s Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony featured both Olympus Coliseum and Heroe’s Fanfare from the original Kingdom Hearts game.

Kingdom Hearts Cover Art / Disney Square
Image: Music from the original Kingdom Hearts will feature at BBC Proms, as it did at the Tokyo Olympics / Square Enix

Take it from the BBC themselves: “Fantastic worlds, epic adventures, complex characters and huge moral choices – the universe of computer gaming is a natural match for orchestral music, and in the 21st century games have created a huge and passionate global audience for some of the most vivid, ambitious and inventive music currently being written for symphony orchestra.

No matter what type of games you play, music is integral to the medium. Games rely on music to create an emotional response, amplify the tone, and even punctuate game mechanics. Receiving acknowledgement and respect from such a stuffy institution is a great leap forward for the art form.

I hope the BBC takes it further and hosts a concert made up of nothing but soundtracks from Gameboy Advance. Gimme that Route 101 music on the big stage, please.