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Classic game themes get classier in string quartet album The String Arcade


Composer Dren McDonald pays tribute to Galaga, The Legend of Zelda, Sonic the Hedgehog and other fondly remembered classics in The String Arcade, an upcoming album featuring a selection of game music newly arranged for string quartet.

Funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign, The String Arcade features 15 original arrangements of classic gaming themes performed by Bay Area musicians and the Boston-based Videri String Quartet. Featured games include Altered Beast, Ecco the Dolphin, Monkey Island 2, FTL: Faster Than Light, and Minecraft. A preview track plucked from PopCap's Plants vs. Zombies is available for download and streaming here.

The String Arcade is due for release on February 11. The digital album can be pre-ordered via iTunes for $7.99, and a limited-edition CD featuring two bonus tracks is available for $9.99.
[Photo credit: Lorrie Murray]

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Classic video game music reimagined in The String Arcade, now available for preorder

String quartet album releases February 11; all profits support Alameda Music Project after-school program

ALAMEDA, Calif. - January 28, 2014 - In August, Bay Area composer Dren McDonald led a successful Kickstarter campaign for The String Arcade, a recording of classic video game music reimagined for string quartet. The finished recording was distributed to backers this month and is now available for preorder to the general public from iTunes and BandCamp (see below for links). The String Arcade will officially release February 11 for digital download and CD.

About The String Arcade --

The String Arcade is a well-curated collection of music arranged for string quartet by Dren McDonald (Ghost Recon Commander, Ravenwood Fair) and Jason Poss (Lord of the Rings film trilogy, World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King). The arrangements go far beyond chamber music emulations of the original themes, with each piece creatively interpreted, embellished, and reimagined to capture emotions evoked by the games. In conceiving the project, McDonald was inspired by John Lurie's Stranger Than Paradise film soundtrack (1984), which featured a moody, string quartet score.

Besides giving gamers a new way to enjoy beloved classics, The String Arcade is also poised to inspire young musicians to pick up a violin, viola, or cello. Several tracks were specifically chosen from games popular among kids, and all album proceeds will be donated to the Alameda Music Project (, a tuition-free K-5 after-school program launching in September.

About The Music

The String Arcade's 15 original arrangements (plus 2 CD bonus tracks) were inspired by games from Galaga to Minecraft and performed by local musicians, with a special appearance by the Boston-based Videri String Quartet. One preview track, Plants Vs. Zombies' "Grasswalk," has been released as a free digital download:

The String Arcade spans a few decades in video game history, from stand-up arcade classics (Galaga, TRON), through the 8- and 16-bit eras (Legend of Zelda, Sonic the Hedgehog, Altered Beast, Ecco the Dolphin) and the golden age of 1990s adventures (Monkey Island 2, Outlaws), to more recent hits (Portal 2, Minecraft), indie favorites (FTL -- Faster Than Light, Scurvy Scallywags), and mobile/social games (graBLOX, Pettington Park, Ravenshire Castle). For a full track list, visit!about/c10fk.

Preorder Details

Until the album's February 11 release, The String Arcade digital download can be preordered from iTunes for $7.99, a 20% savings over the normal $9.99 price:

The CD version, which includes two bonus tracks not included with the digital download, can be preordered from BandCamp for $9.99 (regularly $11.99):

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