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5 Questions: Tommy Tallarico

How many games have you composed music for and which was your favorite?
Over 300. In fact, I hold the Guinness Book world record for the person who's worked on the most video games in my life. [And] Earthworm Jim. Because the team—we were a very close team. We had worked on a bunch of games together…so we were a very tight team. We were like a bunch of brothers.

What makes great video game music?
Great melody. To me, I don't care if it's Beethoven from 300 years ago or The Beatles, or Elvis Presley, or any modern—or Katy Perry or Lady Gaga. They all have something in common over hundreds and hundreds of years: great melody. Whether that's the theme from Star Wars with John Williams or the theme from Mario by Koji Kondo, they have that great melody that you can hum and that just hooks into you.

What game soundtrack is your all time favorite?
My favorite game soundtrack is Final Fantasy VIII from Nobuo Uematsu. It has my favorite video game song ever written, which is a piece called "Liberi Fatale," which is the opening cinematic theme, and also a beautiful song called "Eyes on Me."

What inspired you to create Video Games Live?
I wanted to prove to the world how culturally significant and artistic videos games have become. I also wanted to help usher in a whole new generation of young people to appreciate a symphony. And everybody thought I was crazy, including the game publishers, by the way. And then we did our first show at the Hollywood Bowl, and over 11,000 people showed up. All of a sudden I wasn't so crazy anymore, and we've been doing it ever since.

What's your advice for aspiring game music composers?
The first thing is you have to join the Game Audio Network Guild. The second thing is networking. Networking is the most important thing you can do in the video game industry.