January 22, 1999 at 05:00 AM EST

What games have you been listening to lately? That’s what was recently asked of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences by a group of computer-game musicians and producers seeking a Grammy category of their own. With computer-beep scores long gone, today’s state of the art in the $5 billion-plus gaming industry is represented by such soundtracks as Chance Thomas’ orchestral arrangements on Quest for Glory V: Dragon Fire and Peter McConnell’s mariachi and big-band stylings for Grim Fandango. ”We’ve always had the talent, but we can now use the finest players and mastering houses to deliver music at the same quality level of any other entertainment media,” says Thomas. Grammy officials have indicated that if they add a Best Computer Game Score category, it won’t be until 2000, but that’s enough for Thomas. ”If NARAS takes us seriously,” he says, ”maybe we can take ourselves more seriously.” For gaming musicians, in other words, this could be the ultimate power-up.

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