IIt used to be such a joy to watch the Proms on TV and see a concert dedicated to video game soundtracks. Although gaming concerts have been trending for more than a decade, this festival’s recognition was a game changer. Watching conductor Robert Ames and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra perform stirring renditions of scores from titles as diverse as The Legend of Zelda, Journey and Dear Esther was a moving example of video game sounds, sights and ideas escaping the cultural impasse. sack they once inhabited.
Generations have grown up playing games, and so the medium’s aesthetics and conventions seep into the broader cultural landscape. I recently researched the growing phenomenon of video game soundtracks. It is not snobbish for modern listeners to listen to game scores as entertainment in their own right.
Louise Blain, presenter of Sound of Gaming on BBC Radio 3, told me she’d like to share this. “Game music is inextricably linked to our emotions in a unique way, but it can also stand on its own and we can listen and appreciate the craft and feelings the music evokes,” she said. “I recently presented an orchestral performance of Gareth Coker’s scores for Ori and the Blind Forest and Ori and the Will of the Wisps and a few people came up to me afterwards and said they had never played the games but they had tears in their eyes had when they heard the music . There’s real power in that.”
Fashion and fiction look to games
Also released this month is Gabrielle Zevin’s wonderful novel Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, which follows the strained relationship between two game developers working together on a series of projects. But this isn’t a novel about technology, it’s about the fragile beauty of friendship and how we inspire each other to be creative. Thematically, it has much more in common with the movies Loving Vincent or Girl With a Pearl Earring than with the game Ready Player One. In recent years we’ve also seen Amanda Craig’s novel The Golden Rule and Raven Leilani’s brilliant brilliance, both of which integrated video games into ambitious, well-founded literary stories rather than escapist fantasies.
It was also fun to see the worlds of video games and high fashion collide and fertilize each other in ways that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago. From Louis Vuitton incorporating Final Fantasy characters into its ads, to Dior recently designing a vehicle and outfit for the racing game Gran Turismo 7, couture houses are unabashedly borrowing ideas and even cultural praise from the gaming world .
It’s exciting that games are permeating the broader landscape in almost stealthy ways. For two decades, video games and their worlds have been used in terrifying movies and sci-fi novels as cautionary metaphors for civilization’s descent into a dehumanizing online existence. The downside, of course, is that we now have billionaire tech bros asking how games like Fortnite and Minecraft can be turned into hyper-monetized consumer metaverses. Until that happens, we can enjoy the cultural rise of games; their music, their stories, their visuals, they reach out into the world and let that world reach out.
what to play
I’m a big fan of management simulation games, so I recommend it Two point campus, in which the players build and operate a university. Like its predecessor Two point hospitalit’s full of goofy humor, but it offers a deep and rewarding challenge, and has nice ideas, like the heavily camouflaged spy school and the archeology department willfully stealing ancient artifacts.
Available on: PC, PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S
Approximate playing time: constantly
what to read
Throughout the pandemic, the video game industry has proven remarkably resilient, with publishers delivering excellent results and games like Animal Crossing, Call of Duty, and the vintage Grand Theft Auto V selling well. Now that a recession is looming, the story could change. GamesIndustry.Biz considered Activision Blizzard‘s difficulties related to other reports of falling sales.
The Commonwealth Games were piloted Sports as a competition category this year, with organizers claiming the aim is to increase the event’s appeal to younger audiences. The Observer paid a visit.
Crime writer and avid gamer Chris Brookmyre has just released a new novel titled The Cliff House, a multi-narrator thriller based around a disastrous hen party weekend on a remote island. I could imagine it as I read Supermassive games This becomes one of his brilliant horror adventures along the lines of The Quarry and Until Dawn.
What to click
Streaming: The best video game adaptations
Venba, a video game about the emotional resonance of food
A Midlife Crisis in Space: The Alter is a sci-fi comedy starring hapless clones
Skate Story: not your average skate game
This week on Twitter, Then chambers asked the apocalyptic question: What do you do when you feel like you are slowly losing the love for gaming?
This has happened to me a few times, so I can answer from my own experience. My first suggestion is to try playing on a platform you’ve never played on before. As a teenager, I mostly played arcade-style shooters and fighting games with the odd puzzler, and I got tired of it by the time I was in college. Then I discovered the PC, with its online capabilities and multitude of management sims and real-time strategy games, and was back at it. You don’t have to buy a new PS5, for example – just go to eBay and try it out Wii Uor a Sega Saturnor a Game Boy Advance and you can unlock a whole approach to games you’ve never thought of before.
Otherwise, try a new genre. elden ring was a revelation to me as I’ve never dealt with Souls games; and titles such as unpacking, OlliOlli world, neon white, Not for broadcast and trolley problem inc got me thinking about games in different ways. And discovering and supporting small games on digital platforms such as steam and itch.io can inspire a sense of ownership and investment that can reignite that fire.