x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Dubai concert to celebrate video game music

The genre has come a long way since the bleepy, eight-bit noises of the 1980s, says the composer Tommy Tallarico.

The music of Super Mario Bros might draw children to the symphony. Victoria Will / AP Images for Nintendo
The music of Super Mario Bros might draw children to the symphony. Victoria Will / AP Images for Nintendo

"If Beethoven were alive today, he'd be a video games composer." So says Tommy Tallarico, one of the most successful names in video games music and the man behind Video Games Live, the concert series celebrating gaming soundtracks that will be coming to Dubai this December.

"Video Games Live is all the greatest video game music of all time performed by a symphony and choir," says Tallarico, who has written music for the likes of Prince of Persia and Earthworm Jim, along with more than 250 other games during a career spanning 21 years. "But what makes it really special and unique is that everything is completely synchronised, with massive video screens and stage show productions, special effects and lighting and even interactive elements with the crowd."

Soundtracks for video games have come a long way since the monophonic bleepy eight-bit noises that accompanied falling blocks or athletic plumbers in the 1980s, and many, such as Nobuo Uematsu's score for Final Fantasy 7, are now considered orchestral masterpieces. One has even made it to the UAE already.

"I heard Baba Yetu, the soundtrack to Civilization IV by the composer Christopher Tin, being played at the Dubai Fountain," says Tallarico.

Providing musical assistance at Video Games Live in Dubai will be the UAE National Symphony Orchestra, which will be joined by various special guests, including Tallarico on the guitar. There will also be a Guitar Hero competition before the show, with the winner performing on stage. "And for those who want to start practising, the song is going to be the Foo Fighters's The Pretender."

Perhaps the most impressive feat of Video Games Live will be that it could get youngsters to actually watch a symphony orchestra. "It's amazing," says Tallarico. "You'll have some kid in a tuxedo sat next to another in a ripped Mario T-shirt next to one actually dressed like Mario."

Video Games Live will be December 14 at the Dubai World Trade Center. Tickets start at Dh185. For more information, visit www.videogameslive.com. Find them on Facebook to suggest which soundtracks should be played

aritman@thenational.ae