In what must be recognized as a landmark event for videogaming in wider culture, an expanded Royal Philharmonic Orchestra has taken to the stage of the Royal Albert Hall in London to play a concert entirely of videogame music. This is a premier concert series in the classical music world, in one of its premiere venues, dating all the way back to 1895 and now administered by the BBC.
The Gaming Prom explores a range of music from the origins of game music composition in the 80s to the modern orchestral soundtracks of big-budget AA games. The compositions use a variety of genius tricks with percussion and wind to simulate the noises of synths and even, at times, the sounds of gaming hardware that would accompany the tunes.
If you’re within the UK, you can watch the entire BBC Proms gaming music concert on iPlayer. (opens in new tab) Those outside the UK will have to be content with just listening to the audio via BBC sounds. (opens in new tab) That’s okay, because we were here for the music anyway—including the hosts polling the audience on their favorite Gen 1 starter Pokemon.
The two hours of beautiful music starts with a commissioned piece based on the music from 1987’s Chronos, updated by composers Matt Rogers and Tim Follin; then moves into Koji Kondo’s The Legend of Zelda; a Tribute to Pokemon, Ecco, and Secret of Mana; Final Fantasy VIII: Liberi Fatali by Nobuo Uematsu; a suite of Kow Otani’s Shadow of the Colossus soundtrack; a Kingdom Hearts arrangement; exceprts from Traveller – A Journey Symphony by Austin Wintory; then selections from Battlefield 2042’s soundtrack by Hildur Guðnadóttir and Sam Slater; and closing out with some of Jessica Curry’s music from Dear Esther. You can find the entire schedule on the BBC events website. (opens in new tab)
The Proms, short for summer promenades, are famous concerts because their origins being played in the park for those who were strolling to enjoy. The modern concert series includes cheap standing-room-only tickets as a nod to that democratic heritage. It’s well known to modern Brits for the Last Night of the Proms, which is a kind of exuberant festival atmosphere more suited to other modern music festivals. Anyway, go listen to that sweet gaming music. (opens in new tab)