Video Games Live: Music Beyond the Screen


If you were to hear the Super Mario Bros. Theme, you’d probably be able to recognize it in a flash. Some of you probably have never even played the game but at the same time, you can recognize it. It’s a wonder that something as simple as video game music can have such an impact on our society that it becomes a cultural icon of sorts.

However, I’m not here just to talk about Mario and the gang. There’s a whole slew of video game anthems and themes that have gained so much cultural significance that music now the music has come off the screen. Video Games Live is a concert series that exhibits the most well known themes of video games with professional orchestras and choirs in order to bring the music to life.

The concert series, conceived by Tommy Tallarico and Jack Wall, premiered in 2005, also features footage of gameplay from each of the featured video games and lighting with about 3 shows that year. Since then, it has grown to playing more than 70 shows per year.

The concerts often involve live gameplay that gets the audience to interact with them! Imagine getting to play your favorite video game to a live soundtrack with top-notch musicians. (I’m totally fangirling in my mind right now but I think it would be pretty amazing). Here’s a video of the tour and some audience member playing Super Smash Bros. (the game and the music)!

Some of the favorite soundtracks across campus include:


“The soundtrack is what really immerses you in the game. VGL is cool as [expletive]!”

Civilization IV:

Featuring the almost-famous “Baba-Yetu”, this game features a gorgeous, sweeping soundtrack that fits well with the expansive gameplay.

Kingdom Hearts:

This game featuring an all-star Disney cast alongside characters of its own unique universe has one of my own personal favorite soundtracks with emotional melodies and a high level of technical integrity.

Here’s the Spotify page for VGL so you can check out their latest two album releases: