Friday, March 18, 2011

Level UPPsala and Video Game Music

Like I mentioned on my blog, I went to see a video game concert this saturday called Level UPPsala (Uppsala is a big swedish city, so that is a word pun). It was awesome. I've been wanting to visit one of these for some time now, there have been several the last years. But I'm not the richest person around, so each time I've had to turn it down because I couldn't afford it. This time around I decided that I just had to check it out.

For this concert they had focused on four game series - Final Fantasy, Castlevania, Zelda and Chrono Trigger. Excellent choices if you ask me. They played a couple of songs from each game, and a couple of songs from other games as well. Unfortunately I wasn't allowed to film, and eventhough I don't think they would've noticed if I had sneak-filmed, I am a law abiding citizen *ahem*. I did take a couple of pictures though, and this also gives me a good excuse to link to some of my favorite video game music tunes (whether they were part of the concert or not). The average age of people there was probably ~25 or so.

The concert was held in the assembly room of Uppsala University.
It was basically packed with people. Good! Hopefully this will encourage more concerts of this type.
The first 30 minutes I just had to keep myself from fainting. It's difficult to describe what you feel when a concert of 70+ instruments play Frog's Theme or Final Fantasy 7 Battle Theme, but I think you can imagine that it is pretty overwhelming. The only bad thing about the concert was that they had a regular band (drums, electric guitar and electric bass) to add to some of the songs, and I felt that those instruments got a little too big a part in some songs. They definitely could've relied alot more on the classical instruments for some songs. But overall it was really great, and I hope I get the chance to visit another concert like this soon again.

And now, for some of my favorite video game tunes!
I've always been a huge fan of the various Battle Themes of the Final Fantasy series, and during this concert they played a medley of Battle Themes from Final Fantasy 8, 3 (I think), 7 and 10. It's really fascinating how they manage to make so many versions from the same theme, and they're all great. Below battle theme 1-8.

The same goes with the Chrono Trigger Boss Theme, which they unfortunately didn't play during the concert. I love how they totally freak out on the (fake) music organ in this song.

Speaking of Megaman (or was I?), pretty much any song from that game is awesome. This is current my cell phone tune - Megaman 3 Spark Man.

You can't really mention great video game tunes without mentioning at least one Zelda tune. Here are two great ones, Dark World Theme from Link to the Past (which is Loves cell phone tune, yes we are the nerdy couple) and Song of Storms from Ocarina of Time.

Love was a little sad that they didn't have more than one PC-game tune (Still Alive from Portal) in this concert. He's alot more of a pc-gamer than he ever was a console gamer. Heres one of my favorite PC-Game Tunes, from a game I've never ever played. Viking Battle from Medieval Total War (think I might've linked this before).

Speaking of Love, here are some of his favorites. Starcraft 1 - Terran Music. Deus Ex - Title Theme. Half Life - Valve Theme.

I could seriously go on and link another 150 tunes that I just love, so don't think I haven't linked your favorite song just because I don't like it. I have to stop myself somewhere. Needless to say I am a big fan of video game music overall, and I am glad that they have realized that this is a valid genre of its own, enough to arrange big concerts for it like this. If you've got a favorite video game tune, link it! I'd love to hear what other people out there like.


  1. I wrote a long-ass post that disappeared when I wrote in the wrong Identity. -_-

    1. I agree on all points, awesome stuff, awesome music!

    2. I recommend to you "The Black Mages" (Final Fantasy music with a great virtuoso instrumental trio) and Frank Klepacki (the guy who did all the Command & Conquer, Red Alert music)


  2. @Gav
    I wonder how many good things that the Internet has gobbled up? I have lost entire blog posts, which is what lead me to start writing them in a regular text-file and then just copy paste it into Blogger when done :P

    Black Mages is Nobuo Uematsus band right? Those are great :D And I totally love Frank Klepackis "Hell March" tunes.

  3. I agree that VGM (is that an recognized acronym or shall we make it one?) is awesome and I've been listening to it for a long time, before it was "in". I went to the concert that was held here where I lived. There are lots of things that could be said but I'll limit myself to name dropping some composers you've might not have heard of.

    Chris Hülsbeck is an old bitpop wizard from the old anmiga days.
    You should know of Yasunori Mitsuda but I'd just like to point out his Creid album as extra awesome.
    Michiko Naruke might not be all that awesome but the Wild Arms video game series is, and the music not a smal part of it.
    More recent composers I'd recommend is Ion Zur and Jeremy Soule. Both of which have had their hands in the making of the BG/IWD soundtracks but also Dragon Age (Zur), Guildwars and Supreem Commander (Soule).
    I also recomend the Nier OST thought I do not know who made it.

    And as I stated in the beginning: these are those I "hope" you haven't heard of before.

    I also think that VGM is better if you have played the game. There is some intricate connection between hearing the music and the wave of nostalgia that washes over you as you remember the scenes and situations where it played or just the general feeling of the game.
    It's the same with the second type of music I listen to, anime osts. Both genres share that they are BMG, but while VGM do intense music better anime osts do slow music better, or... something.

    (And on the topic of loosing posts; I came close to loosing this one, twice. But I ctrl+c:ed it before trying to move on to a different page...)

  4. Hm... couldn't find any about-page... You live in Uppsala?
    curious question...

  5. @Larísa
    I've got a sparse "about" section at the bottom of the page, wouldn't suprise me if no one finds it ^^ Doesn't say where I live though I live in Norrköping, not so far from Uppsala. I am tagged on the MMO Melting Pot blogger map -

  6. Even though this isn't the kind of video game music I listen to very often, it was still an interesting tidbit imo:
    Personally I think Frog's Theme is the most moving video game song ever, but I guess it's due to my countless hours spent fighting alongside the brave knight :p
    On the subject of what Hartland said, what most non-gamers don't understand is that gaming music has heavy built-in emotional connections to the players. "Regular" music rarely has that same connection to so many different persons. That's what makes these VGM concerts so awesome.