Nowadays video games are a huge deal. It’s not enough just to make a game that is fun to play; it also has to be visually stunning and have a gripping story, and a big part of creating a game that is also a cinematic masterpiece is incorporating the right kind of music. A game like Dragon Age would not have nearly the same epic adventure feel if not for the booming orchestral pieces accompanying every boss fight. Gone are the days of computer-generated beeps and boops that form a repetitive melody or two. We need to feel the music in our bones as we set out to save the world.
Of course, this idea is not nearly as new as I’m making it sound. In reality, Mr Nobuo Uematsu has been composing grand, orchestral video game music since the mid-1980’s. Uematsu, of Japan, is a self-taught musician who began his career by playing the piano when we was only eleven years old. He claims Elton John as an early musical inspiration, and after college he composed music for commercials while working in a music rental shop. It was during this time in his life that he was approached by an employee from Square about the possibility of creating video game music. In 1986 he joined Square and composed his video game soundtrack for “Cruise Chaser Blassty”. During the composition of this first soundtrack he was approached by the creator of the Final Fantasy series, and video game music history was made.
Eventually Uematsu left Square to go freelance, but he continued creating amazing video game scores through his own company, Smile Please. In 2012, Uematsu made history when a song of his from the Final Fantasy VII soundtrack, “Aerith’s Theme”, became the first video game musical piece to ever appear in the Classic FM Hall of Fame.
There is certainly no doubt that Uematsu has made an enormous impact on the world of video game soundtracks. The wildly popular ‘Play! A Video Game Symphony’ has paid tribute to him numerous times by incorporating some of his most well-known compositions into their concerts.
I grew up with Mr Uematsu’s music, although I didn’t think much of the composer back then. This man composed the scores to my two favorite games of all time: Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy III (North American version). Though a kid doesn’t usually register such things, the soundtracks of those games were a big part of what made them so amazing. The heroic scores in Chrono Trigger could make you feel like you were truly on an epic adventure. The individual character themes in Final Fantasy III helped to describe each character’s personality in a way that simple dialogue could not. To this day I still hum the tunes to most of the songs in these games, and I sometimes love to just sit and listen to their soundtracks for old time’s sake.
Are you a fan of Mr Uematsu’s music? What is your favorite song of his? Have you ever seen ‘Play! A Video Game Symphony’? Please share!
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