Video Games Are Joining the Grammys Starting Next Year


If there’s one aspect of game design that I’ve always felt gets severely overlooked, it’s the sound department. Gameplay has always come first and foremost to me as a player and a reviewer. I’m also not going to pretend that I’m not bothered by the use of stock sound effects or scores that just don’t fit within the context of whatever it is I’m playing. I’d go as far as to say that franchises such as Sonic the Hedgehog and Kirby wouldn’t be immensely loved as they are today if it weren’t for the distinctive scores put together by incredible talent time and time again.

Last year, the Sonic 30th Anniversary Symphony Orchestra honored some of the most memorable tunes in the history of the medium.

Then you have the undeniable impact of Koji’s Kondo work with Super Mario– almost anyone off the street could hum the iconic 1-1 theme if asked. That single composition has been reworked into the plumber’s gameography for nearly 40 years, no matter where his boots take him. Sound design most definitely matters, and soon it’s going to matter to more than just the hardcore fans of the medium.

Koji Kondo

According to The Washington Post, the Recording Academy will be rolling out a new category for “Best Score Soundtrack for Video Games and Other Interactive Media” starting next year. This award will honor “excellence in score soundtrack albums comprised predominantly of original scores and created specifically for, or as a companion to, a current video game or other interactive media released within the qualification period.”

Good news all around, but I think it’s a little disappointing that the Recording Academy presumably won’t be recognizing scores done in the past. That’s if we were going by the fine print. I hope there’s some legacy or “retro” category in the coming years. It would be a shame not to recognize the pioneers working with limited hardware from years past to bring us delights such as the Sonic CD and Streets of Rages soundtracks. That’s just a few among many (many) others. Still, it’s a start. For those who see video games as an art form, it’s also a massive W.

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