To start off this pseudo-review, I would like to briefly describe my journey to the venue that held Video Games Live
, the Vancouver Orpheum Theater
I had finally dragged my sorry corpse to the SkyTrain station. After boarding a train I seated myself in the area of the train car that had the lowest population of crazy people, which was about two. For the most part it was quite boring. It mostly consisted of me on the twisting and whirring train trying to keep my ass on the seat and my face off the floor. That was until, in the train car in front of me, a strangely dressed lady stepped on to the train and was standing in just a way that I could see her through the windows between the two train cars. After a little bit of deliberation I had determined that the woman was cosplaying as Link of The Legend of Zelda fame and promptly looked away uninterested, knowing that I was going to see at least three other people dressed similarly. So my boredom continued for a while before I took another lazy glance to the train cart ahead of mine and saw something that was nigh unbelievable.
Shifting from foot to foot and getting stared at by just about everyone in the train cart in front of mine was another lady who had her entire head and neck painted the most impeccable shade of blue, sporting something that I now presume to be a bald cap with molding attached to it to resemble the sculpted skin that the Asarisí of Mass Effect have. At this point in time I was overcome with great joy. Not only was I looking at a great costume, something I greatly appreciate, but it also marked the point which I somehow instinctively knew that this evening was going to be, to put it lightly, simply amazing.
Before the actual show began they played a bunch of game related fan videos on the large projector, which I think was a nice touch and a welcome alternative to trying to writhe my way through the massive crowds of approximately three thousand people. But finally the show was beginning after a short wait. And what a beginning it was.
To start of the show they had a huge rose tinted retro montage. To say it was glorious is a rather dubbed down way to describe it. Jack Wall
, the co-creator, executive producer and conductor of Video Games Live as well as composer for games like Mass Effect and Jade Empire, was conducting the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra through a beautiful rendition of a classical song (not game related) that escapes my memory with a synced video of dozens of retro games from Super Mario to Kid Chameleon. Once all of the gamers in the audience were properly energized from a retro induced high, the host and co-creator of Video Games Live, as well as the co-host of Reviews on the Run and the Electric Playground
, Tommy Tallarico
came out on stage and introduced everyone and the show itself. From there it quickly descended into a dizzying amount of awesome.
From Metal Gear Solid to Civilization to Mario, they played a myriad and varied range of music with absolutely stellar videos synced to the live music. I am having problems communicating how I exactly feel about all the music and videos they played, but I think one can sum it up as totally fucking ecstatic. But Vancouver was also the premiere of their Need for Speed: Undercover section of the show, so we had a special treat. One of the bands that have a song in the game, Splitting Adam, played their song along with the orchestra, and it was admittedly pleasant. Along with that the Vancouver version of Video Games Live had a bunch of audio guys from EA Burnaby come down and play a DJ remix of the SSX Tricky theme and it was apparently the Canadian premiere of the Metroid section of the concert.
And through all this presentation of gameís musical might, there were interactive sections in which people were called up from the audience to play games on stage for prizes while the orchestra played along. The first game was interactive Space Invaders. The goal was to beat the first level of Space Invaders. The prize was an incredible table top arcade machine preloaded with over five thousand games. You may say thatís too easy but hereís the catch: the guy was only given a stick with a big button on it. The way he had to move his ship around was he actually had to run back and forth across the stage. To say the least, he didnít beat the level before the allotted time; he lost all of his lives before the two minutes is up. But Iíll be damned if it wasnít awesome.
But in the end of it all, it was quite amazing to see something made by gamers for gamers that seemed to contain everything I loved about games in a two hour event. It contained the obvious passion that the creators had for games and game music while facilitating the great interactivity that comes along with the medium. I walked away in a sort of blissful haze, wowed by the level of professionalism and the sheer scale of the event. The only real complaint that I could level at this event was that the lighting seemed to be done by someone having a seizure on the lighting board. I know this is quite normal and I understand what effect theyíre trying to get at but it didnít help that I was sitting on the ground level directly parallel to group of main lights. Getting a strobed in the face isnít fun, let me tell you. That and I was really hoping that they would play Beyond Good and Evil, but we canít have everything.
Maybe I'm just playing the role of slowpoke here (I wrote parts of this blog during school just to keep myself from falling asleep so I figured I may as well finish it off and try my hand at a large blog), but I can say with the utmost certainty that I will be returning to Video Games Live concerts whenever I get the chance and I hope that anyone that even remotely likes games or music get out and see this fantastic spectacle.
Long blog is long.
Note: None of the pictures of VGL are mine, the security at the Orpheum would have ripped my arms off before letting me take a camera in and the pictures taken by the staff aren't up yet. read