17 December 2015

That moment Beethoven invaded my video game

An indication that someone is famous and influential? When their name is known to those uninterested, even ignorant of their area of expertise. Ask a non-classical music listener which classical artist they know, chances are they’ll say Beethoven.

Anyone who took piano lessons practised every day to perfect Ludwig Van Beethoven’s Für Elise, and the more ambitious ones take on the entire Moonlight Sonata. To the rest of us who can only try, thank goodness for the CDs and concerts that allow us to appreciate the glorious sounds, whether digitally in our living room or live in music halls.

Imagine though the delight of coming across his compositions in an unusual setting, say, a video game. There was a time in the ‘90s when “Earthworm Jim” became popular, and to its credit it was a weird, fun, not to mention addictive game. What made purchasing the next instalment, “Earthworm Jim 2” worth it was hearing the Moonlight Sonata, particularly its third movement on the last level. Jim was running and the fast, somewhat dark vibe of the piece fits the scene. What a finale.

Granted, classical music have been used several times in video games. But to hear one of your favorites, that will certainly make you giddy. Two centuries after his death, the German composer’s works are still being used in — and discovered by new generations through — video games, TV shows and countless movies, from horror to romance and comedy. That’s immortality for you. Happy birthday, Beethoven!

—Originally published on GIST

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