Grammy Awards Include New Category For Video Game Music — Finally


Creative Commons 2022

Leith Mascari, Staff Writer

At the 2022 Grammy Awards, Charlie Rosen and Jake Silverman took home an award for Best Arrangement, Instrumental, or A Capella for their work on Nintendo’s Kirby and the Forgotten Land. This marked just the second time a composer has won a Grammy award for their work on a Video Game, the only other instance occurring in 2011 when Christopher Tin was recognized for his arrangement of Baba Yetu for Civilization IV.

Now, the Recording Academy has decided to make this occurrence a yearly event, with their new award highlighting scores composed for a video game. A number of the year’s most popular games are being considered, including Elden Ring, Horizon: Forbidden West, and Outer Wilds. This comes after a long period of underrepresentation, which led Steve Schnur, president of music for game producer Electronic Arts, to describe it as “Overlooked and underappreciated”.


There are a number of challenges inherent in creating a video game score. According to Gordy Haab, who composed the scores of several games in the Star Wars franchise, “The most obvious challenge is interactivity.” Composers of video game music have to take into account the player’s actions and the effect they have on the environment and tone of the game. Moving around these challenges to create a seamless experience is part of what makes video game scoring such a unique and difficult skill, worthy of its own category.


However, not everyone is fully optimistic about the new award. Some fear that it will move video game scores further into irrelevance by disqualifying them from other, more popular awards. Inverse released a report comparing this situation to the Oscar Awards when they created a category for Animated Movies years ago, as similar events unfolded then: animated movies were rarely recognized alongside their live-action counterparts when they were eligible for Best Picture, but creating a separate category for animated movies alone allowed them to be further ignored by disqualifying them from the most important awards. The report from Inverse fears the same for video games, as it states that “the incredible work in this medium deserves recognition, not relegation.”

Regardless of the outcome, a new Grammy award reserved for video game scores represents a massive step towards recognition for the skilled composers who write them, and the hope is that it will lead to greater recognition for video games as a whole.