To those who haven't even touched a console in more than a decade, video game music might still be all bleeps, squeaks and monophonic adaptations of Russian folk songs. But it's fair to say that the music has come on significantly since those days, so much so that this weekend there is an entire concert dedicated to gaming soundtracks. Video Games Live, which uses a live orchestra to perform soundtracks to popular games and incorporates several interactive elements with the audience, began life in Los Angeles in 2005. But the event is making a debut in this country on Friday, featuring the UAE Symphony Orchestra as part of the line-up. Although the crowd will have to wait to hear which songs will be played, Tommy Tallarico - the man behind the event, who has composed the music for more than 250 games - drops a few hints by revealing his all-time favourites."
Final Fantasy 8
"I'd say probably my favourite game score of all time, as a body of work, is the music from Final Fantasy 8, and the composer is Nobuo Uematsu. From the first song, called Liberi Fatali, to the songs with slower strings, it's a complete body of work. It's unbelievable. To me, as a composer, that would be my standout favourite."
"You also have to put on that list the most iconic game music of all time, which is Mario. You're talking about a piece of music that 100 years from now people are still going to know and recognise. As crazy as it sounds, it's right up there with the theme song from Star Wars or Happy Birthday. There's nobody who can hear that piece of music and not stop tapping. Everybody knows it. Ninety per cent of the world probably knows that song. It's one of the most recognisable songs in the world. So you've got to give props to Mario and Koji Kondo the composer, who also made the music for Zelda. As a composer, what you really want to do is create that motif, that hook. Once you have those four or five magical notes, you can really do anything with it, you can make it sound scary or happy or sad, you're being chased, it's gone double speed because you got the star. The melody is what everyone remembers the most, that is the most important moment."
World of Warcraft
"I personally love the music from Blizzard, for their World of Warcraft games. The way they do the percussion and the choir, it really draws you into the experience in such an incredible way."
Red Dead Redemption
"From an interactive standpoint, the music in this is unbelievable. They use so many authentic instruments and the interactivity is amazing - when people start to chase you the bassline gets going. It's so western. I don't know of a score that drew me into an experience so much on an interactive and emotional level. It's one of the best interactive scores of all time."
Chrono Cross / Chrono Trigger
"I love performing the music to these games from Square Enix. The composer is Yasunori Mitsuda. That's a game that has a lot of emotion. It's one of the crowds' favourites, in fact. When we play that, they go nuts, and I get to play the acoustic guitar, so it's a fun one to play. We always wait towards the end to play, so it comes as a surprise. We might surprise the folks here. We've got to see if it's popular here or not."
Video Games Live is being held this Friday at the Dubai World Trade Centre. Doors open from 1pm with various gaming activities taking place. The main show starts at 7.30pm. Tickets from Dh185