Video Games Live review
Last friday, Video Games Live came to Ottawa for the first time. So I armed myself with my Super Mario Bros t-shirt and went to see Tommy Tallarico’s attempt of making video game music relevant.
After seeing it, I have a few comments about the event, so let’s go right away!
Lots of talent here. The orchestra itself was composed of local musicians, which, to my relatively untrained ear, seemed to play really damn well. Tommy Tallarico himself came on stage between each song to talk or show off his underwear (really), and he played some music himself with his electric guitar. Those were probably the most interesting parts of the show since the electric guitar backed by the orchestra sounded really good. Heck, even the Halo music sounded good with the guitar in the mix.
The intro of the show started with Pong, Pac-man and a slew of classic arcade titles. Most of which were low on music, but to compensate to that they played a classic tune that I can’t remember the title for, but added in musical and sound cues from the various games shown on-screen, though they did start playing the actual tunes when they got to games that had music. It was a very nice intro.
Classic game music played by an orchestra… it sounds awesome. In this representation we heard Castlevania, Megaman, Street Fighter 2, Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy, some Mario on the piano by Martin Leung (they should have gotten Tom Brier instead… and made him play a song he’s never played or even heard before… it would have been AWESOME… seriously search for him on youtube…) and some Zelda on the flute by Laura Intravia which was pretty good. All of the classic game tunes were very well arranged and fun to listen to.
It’s a generally fun event. In addition to the music, there were a few contests. 2 people chosen from the crowd (hint: wear a Tron shirt if you want to be chosen) fought it out in Frogger, with the music from the game being played by the orchestra, which was kinda fun. Before the show there was apparently a Guitar Hero contest, and the winner of that contest got to play some Guitar Hero on stage, with the orchestra and Tommy playing the music for real (with a prize involved if the player passed a certain score). There was also a raffle if you could manage to get a ticket for it.
Too much modern gaming music. About half the setlist to be precise. Modern games don’t really have interesting music for this kind of thing. Due to not having any hardware limitations when it comes to composing video game music anymore, video game music has advanced to the point of being exactly like movie music (with every tune sounding more like it should be in a movie trailer rather than a video game). That makes it less interesting for Video Games Live since, well, modern game music is ALREADY played by an orchestra in the games (or at least made to sound like it’s played by an orchestra), so hearing it live is no different from what we’ve already heard before in the game itself, and that’s not interesting at all.
I think Video Games Live should really play to its strengths. Instead of making orchestral versions of music that’s already made by an orchestra, I think they should really concentrate on more classic video game music, and show off how awesome that music REALLY is. It would be a lot more interesting to listen to since no classic games had orchestra-made music, and wouldn’t just be a repeat of what is already in the games. And throw in some surprises too. Rather than just playing the classic and popular games, what about throwing in, say, Star Tropics music in there (it doesn’t have to specifically be Star Tropics, just, you know, something special and unexpected)? That would really be interesting.
Oh, and why no Earthworm Jim? I would’ve loved to see Earthworm Jim music played live, partly since it’s music actually made by Tommy Tallarico himself, he should exploit the shit out of that.
Overall, it was a nice show, if not a bit on the expensive side (and we even had the cheapest seats there). I paid more for my ticket to Video Games Live than I did for Iron Maiden and Rush last year (separately, not as a whole), which really seems like a bit much for it. But it’s a nice outing, well worth checking out if you’re a gamer.
Oh, and bring your 3DS. If you’ve had trouble streetpassing before… it won’t be a problem there.
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