AU ABROAD

Arts Review: Video Games Live – Enmore Theatre (30.07.15)

Speak to any video gamer and you’ll find that within the hours of gameplay exists incredibly fond memories- of characters they have bonded with, of excruciatingly difficult levels, of the memorable music that has accompanied them on their journeys across distant lands and into boss battles. Even if they are themselves unaware of presence, play them a little sample and they’ll likely be able to immediately tell you the part of the game in which it played. It is in celebration of these beloved musical memories of video gaming that the concert series Video Games Live exists, and what a celebration!

From the outset the crowd loves it- there are giggles of recognition and calls of cheering as the concert opens with a medley of classic arcade games. This is the theme of the evening- taking a stroll back through the games we’ve played and happily cheering out our appreciation for the memories! It is a reaction that Video Games Live creator, CEO and host (and also video game composer of over 350 games) Tommy Tallarico encourages- telling us that this isn’t a concert for us to be quiet. Scream, yell, laugh, cry when you want to!

Tommy himself is exactly the representation of this excitement- running and jumping around stage playing his guitar and exhibiting a passionate love for what he’s doing. He introduces each of the segments, teasing the favourites and encouraging responses.

And responses he gets! The set list levels its way through several beloved pieces whilst footage from the games is played on screen- from Megaman to Sonic to Earthworm Jim, to Metal Gear Solid, Shadow of the Colossus, Mass Effect and League of Legends, to Castlevania and Street Fighter. It takes us back to the lands of Zelda and Final Fantasy. The orchestra really demonstrates just what beautiful music exists within these games- these are not just beeps and bloops, these are symphonic masterpieces. My favourites of the evening, although its hard to choose, were the rousing themes from Skyrim and Halo, the 10 Years Anniversary special for World of Warcraft, and my consistent favourites from Kingdom Hearts and Chrono Trigger/Cross.

The evening is also dispersed with lots of fun- in between segments there are little video snippets of video game versus and lists of the top 10 worst video game dialogues and game titles. Tommy also invites a little audience member on stage to play in his own interactive space invaders game, and the orchestra plays along as he hilariously darts from left to right jumping up and down and waving his arms. There is also a live Guitar Hero challenge, with the audience member selected from a pre-show battle. The challenger is invited on stage to play live with Tommy on real guitar and the orchestra, and his confidence is unmistakable as he requests the level set to Expert. And boy is he an expert, perfectly hitting the note streaks and smashing into the set score! It’s pretty darn impressive!

All to soon the night reaches its final stage, and as the audience holds their DS’ into the air and cheers their way into two encores, the evening comes to an epic conclusion. Everyone leaves the theatre feeling the effects of all the happy memories, the hope of VGL’s return for a Australian sequel next year, and a good deal of twitchy fingers for a controller.

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Video Games Live played out one-night only concerts in Sydney and Melbourne. For more information visit www.videogameslive.com

The reviewer attended the performance in Sydney on the 30th July.