Annual Game Music Awards 2012: Special Achievement Awards

We are proud to present the recipients of the 'special achievement award' of the Annual Game Music Awards 2012. These special awards reflects the long-term influence of individuals and organisations in the development of game music.

Special Achievement Award — Eastern Artist :: Koichi Sugiyama

Described as the 'Grandfather of Video Game Music' for good reason, Koichi Sugiyama has been responsible for an astonishing number of firsts. He created the first substantial RPG score with 1986's Dragon Quest, developing the sound of gaming and establishing the "Eight Melodies" template. The classically-trained artist also single-handedly conceived the first game music orchestral albums and concert performances with the studio and live performances of the Dragon Quest Symphonic Suite. Among other achievements, he developed an enormous diverse discography and gameography, inspired the Orchestral Game Concert series, and mentored major composers including Nobuo Uematsu.

Now 81, Koichi Sugiyama is still going strong. The partly retired composer no longer works on wider projects like he did during the 80s and 90s, but he remains dedicated to the legacy of Dragon Quest. Remaining the sole composer of the series, has retained the series' classically-influenced style and signature themes right up to 2012's Dragon Quest X. Sugiyama also conducts several Dragon Quest concerts in Japan every year, including the annual Family Classic Concerts, and regularly releases new suite recordings and arranged albums for the series through SUGIlabel.


Special Achievement Award — Western Artist :: Tommy Tallarico & Jack Wall

Tommy Tallarico and Jack Wall have exposed video game music to the masses like few others. As co-creators of Video Games Live, they have entertained audiences in hundreds of shows across the world — from North America to Brazil, London to Dubai to Tokyo — with an immersing combination of audio, visual, and interactive components. Over seven years, these shows have emphasised how culturally significant video games and their music have become. The grand vision and synergistic relationship of Video Games Live's co-founders has proven a major key to its success.

Both artists are also successful video game composers, each owning production companies and having numerous credits to their name. Tommy Tallarico gained mainstream attention with his rock 'n' roll stylings and catchy themes for Virgin's classics and the Earthworm Jim series. Having renewed his focus on scoring, Jack Wall has produced award-winning cinematic scores for modern franchises such as Mass Effect, Myst, and, most recently, Call of Duty. Both have contributed to wider causes, co-founding the Game Audio Network Guild together and authoring tracks on charity albums such as Play for Japan. While Wall and Tallarico are not currently working together, they have left an incredible legacy together.


Special Achievement Award — Organisation :: Bandcamp

Bandcamp enables musicians to promote and distribute their soundtracks directly to fans. For artists, the service has avoided the limitations of traditional record distribution and digital services such as iTunes — it's open to everyone, easy-to-use, cost-effective, and highly adaptable all-at-once. For fans, the album provides avenues for discovery with its fast streaming services and competitive, name-your price models. At its heart, Bandcamp kicks down all the barriers and puts the focus on sharing the love of music.

Since Ethan Diamond founded Bandcamp in 2008, it has grown to become the preferred distribution medium for many independent game musicians. Among its many artists include Austin Wintory (Journey), Jake Kaufman (Mighty), Danny Baranowsky (Super Meat Boy), Laura Shigihara (Plants vs. Zombies), and C418 (Minecraft). Ever growing, even some industry veterans (e.g. Alexander Brandon, Graeme Norgate, Tim Wright) and Japanese artists (e.g. Shinji Hosoe, Kimihiro Abe, ASAGEN) have started to embrace the medium. In a short time, Bandcamp has revolutionised how artists share and fans discover game soundtracks, and hopefully it will only build on these principles in years to come.