The Terminator Soundtrack (Sega CD), Tommy Tallarico, 1993
Discussing Tommy Tallarico’s contribution to video game music can be a frustrating undertaking. On the one hand, there’s no doubt that he has helped to popularise game music like few others artists. His Video Games Live concerts have been a tremendous success, bringing game music to huge live audiences. On top of that, Tallarico has been instrumental in giving game composers better representation in the music industry through the foundation of G.A.N.G. (Game Audio Network Guild).
Unfortunately, for Tallarico the promotion of game music seems to go hand in hand with the promotion of his rock star persona. His claim to be “considered the person most instrumental in changing the game industry from bleeps & bloops to real music” is one example of his outsized claims to fame that are contentious, to say the least. Compounding matters is the fact that the majority of Tallarico’s scores don’t live up to the hype. Starting with the Game Boy conversion of Prince of Persia, Tallarico’s soundtracks usually fall somewhere between average and promising. However, they rarely stand out as classics, despite their at times fantastic sound quality, for example on the Sega Genesis version of Cool Spot.