Skip to main content
The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

A new trophy for video games: A Grammy

(iStock/Washington Post illustration)
2 min

Video games are getting a Grammy. The Recording Academy has introduced a new award for Best Score Soundtrack for Video Games and Other Interactive Media that will be awarded beginning in 2023. The new award is among a series of changes and several other new award categories, including a “Special Merit Award” for Best Song for Social Change and Best Spoken Word Poetry Album.

According to the Academy’s announcement, the award for video games will recognize “excellence in score soundtrack albums comprised predominantly of original scores and created specifically for, or as a companion to, a current video game or other interactive media released within the qualification period.”

‘That’s like Coltrane’: Jon Batiste sees jazz and genius in video game soundtracks

Grammy-winning artists are already gamers. Jon Batiste, the jazz musician and bandleader for “The Late Show,” told The Post in 2019 that the scores and soundtracks in video games first inspired him to become a musician. In April, Batiste took home five Grammys, including one for album of the year. He told The Post his favorite game is “Final Fantasy VII” from Square Enix, which boasts a four-hour score with melodic interludes and climactic, operatic tracks for the boss battles.

“Music in games is very important to me,” Batiste said in 2019. “It taught me a lot about music and life and everything in between.”

Jon Batiste explains why video games like Street Fighter II and Sonic the Hedgehog have influenced the music he plays on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert." (Video: Jhaan Elker/The Washington Post)

Then there’s Michelle Zauner, the frontwoman for Japanese Breakfast and author of the best-selling memoir “Crying in H Mart,” who composed the soundtrack for “Sable,” an open-world indie adventure that released in last September. When the game first released, Zauner told Slate Magazine that the ending theme to the game, “Better the Mask” is her favorite song she’s ever written.

You could argue that Kirby has already won a Grammy, too. This year, Charlie Rosen and Jake Silverman of the 8-Bit Big Band won a Grammy for best arrangement for instrumental or a cappella with their rendition of Meta Knight’s Revenge, a track from the 1996 classic “Kirby Superstar.”

The latest news from Summer Game Fest

And the soundtracks to video games are starting to become collectible items in their own right. Online stores like iam8bit sell limited release vinyl copies of the music to certain games big and small, including “Outer Wilds,” “Untitled Goose Game” and others.

Video games are already getting nods at the Oscars, too. Last year, “Colette,” a short film featured in the virtual reality game “Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond” won the Academy Award for best documentary. “Colette” tells the story of a 92-year-old French woman who was part of the resistance in World War II. The project was funded by Electronic Arts and Meta, which owns Oculus VR and was later released by The Guardian.