New Grammy awards include one for video game scores

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Video games get a Grammy. The Recording Academy has introduced a new award for Best Score Soundtrack for Video Games and Other Interactive Media, to be presented beginning in 2023. The new award is among a number of changes and several other new award categories, including a Special Merit Award. for Best Social Change Song and Best Spoken Word Poetry Album

According to the Academy’s announcement, the Video Games Awards will “recognize outstanding full score soundtrack albums, consisting primarily of original scores, created specifically for, or to complement, a recent video game or other interactive media released within the qualification period.”

“It’s like Coltrane”: Jon Batiste sees jazz and genius in video game soundtracks

Grammy winners are already gamers. Jon Batiste, the jazz musician and “The Late Show” bandleader, told the Post in 2019 that the scores and soundtracks in video games first inspired him to become a musician. In April, Batiste took home five Grammys, including one for Album of the Year. He told the Post his favorite game is Square Enix’s Final Fantasy VII, which features a four-hour score with melodic interludes and culminating, operatic tracks for the boss fights.

“Music in games is very important to me,” Batiste said in 2019. “It taught me a lot about music and life and everything in between.”

Jon Batiste explains why video games like Street Fighter II and Sonic the Hedgehog influenced the music he plays on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. (Video: Jhaan Elker/Washington Post)

Then there’s Michelle Zauner, the frontwoman of Japanese Breakfast and author of the best-selling memoir Crying in H Mart, who composed the soundtrack for Sable, an open-world indie adventure released last September. When the game was first released, Zauner told Slate Magazine that the game’s ending theme, “Better the Mask,” was her favorite song she’d ever written.

One could argue that Kirby has already won a Grammy. This year, Charlie Rosen and Jake Silverman of the 8-Bit Big Band won a Grammy for Best Instrumental or A Cappella Arrangement for their rendition of Meta Knight’s Revenge, a track from the 1996 classic Kirby Superstar.

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And video game soundtracks are becoming collectibles in their own right. Online stores like iam8bit sell limited edition vinyl copies of the music for certain games big and small, including Outer Wilds, Untitled Goose Game, and others.

Video games are also being praised at the Oscars. Last year, “Colette,” a short film from the virtual reality game Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond, won the Oscar for Best Documentary. “Colette” tells the story of a 92-year-old French woman who was part of the resistance during World War II. The project was funded by Electronic Arts and Meta, who own Oculus VR, and later published by The Guardian.

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