Game On! The Video Game and Music Revolution Impressions

Carnegie Hall’s membership program for music lovers in their 20’s and 30’s held an event in Zankel Hall on Monday October 19th. The event was Game On! The Video Game and Music Revolution from 7:30 to 9:30. The event was a panel discussion that took place on stage with musicians answering some Q&A, and trading thoughts and ideas about video games and music. The event was started thanks to a man named Jimmy Zankel who pitched the idea to Carnegie Hall. While welcoming everyone Zankel let everyone know that the majority of money the audience and newcomers were paying for membership was going to fund music exposure for children in school, which sort of summed up the majority of what the rest of the night was going to about. Future musicians and exposure.

After Zankel’s welcome the panelist were introduced. Here are the names and a little about who they are:

Pete Wentz (Fall Out Boy), musician, activist, and entrepreneur whose music is featured in Guitar Hero and Rock Band

Grandmaster Flash, founding father of hip-hop and featured character in DJ Hero

Melissa Auf der Maur, multimedia solo rock musician and former member of The Smashing Pumpkins and Hole, featured in Guitar Hero and Rock Band

Alex Rigopulos, co-founder and CEO of Harmonix, the creators of Guitar Hero and Rock Band

Christopher Tin, video game (Civilization IV) and film composer

Meghan Asha, on-air technology specialist (NBC and Fox News) and host of TMI Weekly

Each panelist shared their thoughts about the combination of video games and music in their own and unique ways, as Pete Wentz joked around and asked the questions. Alex Rigopulos first shared with the audience how Guitar Hero (which he also started) spread and the long process it took to get it popular in the United States. He then shared how he felt games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band are not necessarily educational tools for players, but inspirational tools for players to go and get a real guitar. Then in doing so creating new and younger musicians. Grandmaster Flash felt the same way for DJ Hero (which he plugged a lot) as he felt it exposes the players to the basics of DJing. In doing so again inspiring younger people to go and seek the real deal.

Christopher Tin who composes music for video games discussed the differences in writing music for video games compared to other forms of music. He explained that in video games music has to be shorter and somewhat looped as a player’s actions are unpredictable. Therefore music cues get a bit tricky. Tin also shared a music video featuring clips and music from Civilization IV. The video is called Baba Yetu which is sung in Swahili by the Sowetu Gospel Choir. Check it out when you get the chance, it is really amazing.

Throughout the night, generally all of the panelists shared how they felt music in video games was a good thing. Meghan Asha stated that she learned a song faster playing it in a video game than hearing it, and that it does a great service for music exposure. Melissa Auf der Maur agreed as she felt video games is one of many channels music should be exposed. She expressed how she liked how this generation allows people into something in more than one way, an example being hearing music not just by the radio.

Rigopulos ended the night with a great quote by Yoko Ono, refering to Rock Band, “the game is making the world a more musical world.” Afterwards everyone migrated to an afterparty at Nintendo World Store sponsored by Marani Vodka, where some of the panelists were available to talk and be interviewed.

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François Chang

Working on the DualShockers staff as both an editor and community manager since late 2009, François is absolutely no stranger to the videogame industry. He is a graduate from the City College of New York, and has his Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations and Advertising. His next step is to obtain his Master's degree at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. Before starting his career, François has been gaming since the age of 2 with Super Mario World, and he has never looked back since. Gaming may be his profession, but it has always been his passion.

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