Composer Austin Wintory, perhaps best known for his outstanding scoring of thatgamecompany’s Playstation exclusive, Journey, has been nominated for a Grammy. This is the first time since games became eligible for nominations back in 2000 that a game score has actually been nominated.
So why exactly did it take so long? There have certainly been games since then with some epic scores worthy of at least serious consideration. Ask any Final Fantasy or Halo fan and they will tell you these games would not be nearly as memorable without their epic soundtracks. Up until 2011, games were relegated to the category “other visual media” but recently the Recording Academy has decreased the number if nomination categories as well as reworded them to make inclusion of video games a reality.
While many of us are most familiar with unforgettable sounds of Journey’s moving score, some gamers may also remember Mr. Wintory for his work on flOw, thatgamecompany’s first PSN exclusive title. Both Journey and Flow’s visuals are matched perfectly with the audio. Moments in Journey, such as the exciting and stunning sand slalom scene, and of course, its breathtaking conclusion, simply would not have been as much of an experience if not for Mr. Wintory’s talents.
I mentioned in a previous article how some reviewers compared Journey to a religious experience. In her book, Reality is Broken, Jane McGonigal explains how epic game environments, visual and audio, can instill a sense of awe, a feeling that is “closely linked with feelings of spirituality, love and gratitude.” This feeling of awe and wonder are present in Journey in almost every moment. And I believe that these experiences rely heavily on the wonderful score provided by Mr. Wintory.
If this nomination is setting a new standard for gaming soundtracks, fans can now begin to expect to see more of their favorite games represented at the Grammy Awards, and hopefully, walk away with a trophy that shows just how far video games have come.
Fans of Austin Wintory can download almost all of his work at his bandcamp page here.