The biggest winner at the Grammys? Video games

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Per usual, Sunday’s Grammy Awards have garnered a spectacular amount of attention. What with the new no-boob-no-butt dress code and the big win for Mumford and Sons’ album Babel, commentators have had plenty of material to discuss. However, in all the media commotion and tears that Taylor Swift didn’t win anything but wait her album came out past the cutoff date so it’s OK just wait until next year, most people have overlooked the most important part of this year’s awards: a little game called Journey.

Developed by thatgamecompany, Journey is the first game to be nominated for a Grammy. The game’s soundtrack, composed by Austin Wintory, has won critical acclaim for its simplistic yet emotional imagining of the game’s world. The player guides an unnamed character on a journey through a shimmering desert to the summit of a mountain, meeting companions and uncovering the world’s secrets along the way. Accompanied by gorgeous visuals, Wintory’s music brings the game to life, capturing the excitement and haunting emptiness of the sands.

Sunset.

Sunset.

Though Journey has become a commercial and critical success, the Grammy nomination undoubtedly stands as its greatest achievement. Many games have boasted incredible soundtracks—Uncharted and Halo feature scores rivaling those of Hollywood blockbusters. Even so, none of them have received mention in high circles. Journey’s nomination symbolizes a new respect for video games as art. Though the soundtrack lost out to Atticus Ross and Trent Reznor’s fabulous work on The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, it marks a milestone in popular understanding of games.

If you have a Playstation 3, I cannot urge you more to download this game. The beautiful soundtrack and unique gameplay create an experience like no other. If you don’t own a Playstation 3 or if video games aren’t your thing, spend a few minutes listening to the soundtrack. You can stream it for free on YouTube or purchase it on iTunes. The composer has also released a free compilation of alternate tracks for download here. This version also includes some of his work from thatgamecompany’s critically acclaimed title flOw.

In the distance.

In the distance.

Years from now commentators may refer to Journey’s nomination as a turning point in people’s appreciation of video games as art. Perhaps a game soundtrack will someday win a Grammy. In the meantime, let’s congratulate Austin Wintory and enjoy his wonderful music.

So what do you think of Journey and its soundtrack? Is it worthy of a Grammy? Share your thoughts in the comments section below! As always, please like, share, or reblog this post if you enjoy it. Be sure to check me out on Twitter and Facebook as well. Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to subscribe for new content every Wednesday!

Click here to read last week’s post: Go Daddy’s “Perfect Match:” brilliant advertising or an insult to viewers?

Other related articles:

Journey Didn’t Win The Grammy, But We’re Still Proud of You Guys (Sniff) (Kotaku)

Journey Given Grammy Nomination (The Gaming Independent)

Go behind the scenes of Journey in thatgamecompany developer diary (Train2Game)

Five strange things you never noticed about Pokémon

The art of gaming

 

Comment question of the week

Is Journey worthy of a Grammy nomination? Are games really art?

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2 thoughts on “The biggest winner at the Grammys? Video games

    • Yes! While the song is technically the first track from a video game to win a Grammy, it was not actually nominated for its appearance in Civ 4. It received the nomination years later in 2009 when it was included in an unrelated album by the composer. So while it is the first video game song to receive a Grammy nomination, it was recognized outside of the game. Thanks for pointing this out!

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