Video Game Scores and Anime Soundtracks

Nerd culture at its finest, from BGSU’s GAME

Each year, a student group at BGSU called the Game and Anime Music Ensemble (GAME) prepares a set list for its concerts, on campus and at various cons around the area (Youmacon in Detroit, Ohayocon in Columbus, Animacon at BGSU). “My personal favorite this year is the Videogame Evolution Medley, which collages together ten different game themes, two from each decade from the 1980s to the 2020s,” said club president Kiersten Burtz. “It took a long time to put together, but it’s totally worth it.”

Love of video games and anime

Burtz is a senior majoring in creative writing and plays the flute. Only two of the group’s 40 members are music majors. But the members share a love of video games and anime. Instruments represented in the group range from piano, acoustic and electric guitar to violins, upright bass, tuba, clarinet and trumpets. 

The group offers real-world lessons for its members that serve them academically or professionally. Burtz relays a story about a former member who majored in music education. Performing in GAME gave her experience working with a group of people to learn pieces of music and unite them in performance – great training for a music teacher.

GAME was founded in 2007 and originated in the residential Arts Village. That location is still where rehearsals are held every Sunday afternoon, but not all members of GAME live there. In fact, the group is open to members of the community, so some members are not students at BGSU. The group is always seeking new members at all skill levels and welcomes contact from anyone who is passionate about games, anime and playing music with friends.

The right audience

“People underestimate how good music from these genres can be,” said Burtz. “Audience members stumble into concerts sometimes and are surprised by how much they appreciate the music. We know we’ve got the right audience when we introduce a song with some nerdy reference and hear laughs, and see a flicker of recognition on their face when they hear the opening notes of that song.”

In January, they performed in Columbus at Ohayocon 23, an annual Japanese anime and pop culture convention. Back in November, they appeared at Youmacon, which is described as “a celebration of Japanese animation, video games, popular culture and costuming, and its influence on our own culture over the past few decades.”

Coming up on March 25-26, GAME will participate in Animarathon 2023, a family-friendly celebration of anime, Japanese media and nerd culture in the Bowen Thompson Student Union at BGSU.

GAME’s next performance is Sunday, February 12 at 1pm in Kobacker Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Building, on the BGSU campus. The performance is free and open to the public. Keep up with GAME on social media and reach out if you are interested in joining in the fun.