Game music for a good cause

While not everyone listens to video game and anime music, there is quite a large following within the gaming and animation online communities, and it seems to be growing daily. Many news outlets like Spin, MTV, TechTV, EGM, and Nintendo Power have covered the growing phenomenon, and even Destructoid’s big daddy robot himself is said to be a fan. And you’re going to this year’s Penny Arcade Expo, right? Newbies will get a real taste of how huge the follwing is there when the biggest game music concert ever rocks the convention. This music, whether it be remixes, concerts, mashups or original soundtracks, have a huge presence on the web at sites like Overclocked Remix, OneUp Studios, Music4Games, and even popular web store GameMusic.com. Mostly, the music is made for fun, and is enjoyed for its nostalgia and novelty, but one musician from this community has taken his love of game and anime music and has made it count for something.

Michael Gluck goes by the stage name Piano Squall. He has been performing since 2003 in various states across America to raise funds for Multiple Sclerosis charities, and his performances have benefited several organizations like The National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Race for the Cure, The Matthew Foster Foundation, and Tsunami Relief. He also donates a portion of his personal proceeds to The National Multiple Sclerosis Society, in remembrance of his grandmother, who suffered from the disease.

It’s hard to imagine something as odd and fun as music from video games actually making a difference, but through Michael’s work, the causes he’s fighting for are seeing some benefit. He has teamed up with video game mega-publisher Electronic Arts to further his cause, and last year they raised $8,600 for the National MS Society and $4,000 for Race for the Cure by selling posters at performances. Speaking of performances, if you will be attending this year’s Anime Mid-Atlantic, Piano Squall will be performing, so be sure to check that out.

On June 30th, Micahel will release his debut CD, called GAME. It features twenty-six arrangements from some of the most popular video games and anime, including Final Fantasy, Super Mario World, Chrono Trigger, Mega Man, Chrono Cross, and Tetris.  He rounds things out with his highlight track: a nine song “Final Fantasy Battle Medley” (video above), combining the battle themes all into one piece. GAME is available for preorder at his web site, Piano Squall, and costs only $9.99, with free shipping anywhere in the United States.

Game music might be something new to you, but what better occasion will you have to get acquainted? This is for a great cause, and hopefully potential audiences as well as seasoned fans can get behind it.

Dale North