Video Games Live features video game music performed by a complete live orchestra presented in tandem with various video game content including gameplay footage, dynamic stage lighting, and over-the-top special effects.
There is nothing that adds more POP to pop-culture than music, and when it comes to video game music, there is no one more prolific than Tommy Tallarico. Since his humble beginning, converting other musician’s music to the Gameboy version of Prince of Persia in 1991 with some of his own, he has contributed to more than 320 video games.
Despite such professional accomplishments, it was Video Games Live (VGL) that went mainstream and brought a new generation into orchestra halls for the first time to experience a classical concert. Seriously, a public radio station in Minnesota (KSJN) actually polled attendees and discovered that eighty-nine percent had never stepped inside an orchestra hall for a classical concert before. Parents periodi-
cally sent letters of appreciation to Tommy Tallarico mentioning that a VGL performance encour- aged their child to pick up a musical
Video Games Live was a long-time coming…as was Tommy Tallarico’s rise to fame. At the age of twenty-one, Tommy moved from the east coast to southern California hoping to make a name for himself as a musician. While homeless and living under a pier, he landed a job at the local Guitar Center on his first day in CA. The following day, during his first day of work, a Virgin Mastertronic producer stumbled into the store, glanced upon the Turbo-Grafix-16 shirt he was donning, and hired him as the new company’s first play-tester. On his third day, and for the next six months, he worked both jobs to survive California’s brutal cost of living. Fortunately, Tommy was only homeless for less than a month and found more suitable shelter after his first paychecks rolled in. He volunteered to create music for free to advance within the organization, and half a year later, he was the lead in Virgin’s audio division. The rest is history.
Before Video Games Live premiered in 2002, Tommy made many contributions to the video game industry. He was the first video game musician to have music distributed worldwide by a major music label, the first to implement 3D audio in a video game, and the first to record a live guitar for a game title. Frankly, Tommy proved quite pivotal in transforming video game music from the BEEPS of yesterday into the fully orchestrated scores we enjoy in the modern age.
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