Composer Tommy Tallarico may owe his career to a t-shirt

Thank you, TurboGrafx

Chances are if you’ve played a video game, composer Tommy Tallarico helped with the music in some form or another. Earthworm Jim, Cool Spot, MDK, Advent Rising, and the original Prince of Persia are just a few of the titles he dipped his composing toe in (gross, Tallarico; stop doing that). Now, he hosts Video Games Live where a live orchestra performs game music alongside video footage. I vaguely remember going to the debut and getting little gaming goosebumps.

Which is all to say, Tallarico’s a successful dude! But on ABC Australia’s RN Afternoons, he revealed that luck was an undeniable part of what propelled him into the gaming industry. After leaving everything behind and heading to California, he stankily lived under a pier, eventually finding a job as a keyboard salesman.

On his first day, he wore a TurboGrafx 16 shirt (which was fairly obscure, what with the console not being available in America). His first customer was none other than Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, who noticed his shirt and Tallarico’s gaming knowledge. He immediately offered him a job, where he’d get paid $6 an hour to test games. 

Tallarico didn’t stop there, and eventually worked his way up to making Prince of Persia‘s award-winning music. His career grew exponentially from there. Of course, gaming shirts are incredibly, stupidly popular at this point so this tactic probably won’t get you noticed today. 

Bonus fact: Tommy Tallarico is Steven Tyler’s (Aerosmith) cousin. You can take that with you to some incredibly specific trivia night.

From Prince of Persia to Tony Hawk: the T-shirt that changed the course of video game history [RN Afternoons]

Zack Furniss