The String Arcade

Despite Roger Ebert’s decree that “video games can never be art,” video games continue to be art. More than that, gamers and nongamers alike continue to find artistic expression within the medium and, for some like the String Arcade Players, in mediums inspired by digital gaming. Funded through Kickstarter, The String Arcade features original string compositions of video game scores from timeless games such as The Legend of Zelda, and newer favorites including Plants vs. Zombies. While national tours of symphonic renditions of video game soundtracks—such as Video Games Live and The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses—provide the full orchestral treatment, The String Arcade’s use of simply cello, viola and violin gives the album its own cohesive sound despite source material spanning multiple decades and genres. The String Arcade Players imbue the tracks with the spirit of the games—how we heard them then and how we think of them now. There’s a playful frolic in the dolphin-call strings for Ecco the Dolphin; a haunting spookiness carried over from LucasArts’ Monkey Island 2 as well as its Scabb Cemetery; and an unforgettable tug on our 8- and 16-bit controllers by the iconic melodies of Link and Sonic. If that’s not art, then I don’t know what is.