recess radio program

01/18/05
Video Game Music
    by Laurie Taylor and Cathlena Martin

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You're hearing a little from a performance of the Super Mario Brothers' theme song. While much of the press on video games deals with their play capacities or their incredible graphics, the music that accompanies the games is about to take center stage, and kids and adults alike are going to be begging to see the concerts. In fact, many who played and loved video games as children are putting that enthusiasm into their own musical work. It’s what Select Start, my favorite local video game music cover band, is doing. Can you guess what video game, played and listened to a million times by the band members and their friends, sparked this?

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Video game music has come a long way from the early video games like “Pong” with their simple bleeps and bloops -- to what you’ve just heard -- Select Start’s take on the theme for the game, “Tetris.” The groups that play this music are growing, and they’re often not small. For example, Select Start features a six members, including Dave Yasensky on guitar, Hsiang Cheng on cello, Christine Lee on keyboard, Kiki Sueyoshi composing and on violin, Austin Harley on flute and as the band frontman, and Robert Lee on the second violin and as the singer when needed. What binds them together, along with their love of making music, is their passion for video games which dates back to childhood for most of them.

Who knows where the creative energy of bands like this will eventually lead, especially when they begin to work with the musical possibilities of more advanced games. But for now, it all begins for them and so many other groups in this field with the inspiring stuff of childhood -- like [Select Start’s version of] theme song from the popular video game, “Legend of Zelda.”

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Copyright 2005© Laurie Taylor and Cathlena Martin

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"Recess!" is a co-production of the University of Florida's Center for Children's Literature and Culture and WUFT-FM, "Classic 89."