Video Games Live is one of those things that sounds like a cool idea until you get there. Upon experiencing it however, you realize that far from being merely cool, the show is actually one of the most enjoyable, stirring, moving and utterly blissful experiences available to the hardcore gamer.
I'd wanted to attend a show for a very long time, and spurred on by Colette's write up from earlier in the year my excitement had been exploding messily all over the place in the week running up to Monday's performance at London's Royal Festival Hall. And make no mistake, the Bennettoid's torrent of superlatives was entirely founded, as along with Jim, Atheistium, Wardrox and DanGale, I found myself partaking in not only one of the most enjoyable nights of cultural entertainment I've attended in years, but also one packed with a tangible sense of the celebration of a community, and which crystalized everything that gaming means to so many of us.
Hit the jump for a report on why, along with more shakycam video extracts I recorded, taking in Sonic and a flatteningly beautiful Chrono Cross performance from the now deservedly legendary Martin Leung. Also included is a rambly pile of nonsense recounting our pre-show activities, with the added bonus of some of the brilliant entrants to the cosplay competition which we had the honor of being invited to judge.
The performances and interpretations of the scores making up the bill were flawless. That goes without saying, and a quick look at any of the videos included in this story are all the evidence needed that that was the case. To hear modern symphonic scores such as Halo's performed live by orchestra and choir was a tingle-inducing experience in itself, but what I found even more moving were the rearrangements of 8 and 16 bit soundtracks for the orchestral experience.
Hearing all of those classic aural signifiers of the great times of our gaming heritage, each in itself already so ingrained into our cultural lexicology, reworked on such a grand and respectful scale really does add to them a new, epic, and timeless nature utterly befitting of their relevence to our lives as gamers. It makes them sound exactly as they've always felt to those of us who grew up with the games they come from, and it's a fitting, utterly deserved, and long-overdue tribute to the great things that videogames give us.
That tributary note typifies the entire Video Games Live experience in fact. It's true that we as gamers are bonded through our shared experiences and mythologies, and that that brings with it an incredibly warm sense of cameraderie and community which I've had the pleasure of experiencing at a great many events. Video Games Live however, brought that sense of celebration and shared culture to me on a whole new level.
By bringing together hundreds of gamers of every generation along with their friends and families to revel in the cultural touchstones that we all share, all presented on a truly beautiful scale, the show filled the auditorium, and in fact the entire theatre, with a genuine family party atmophere, simultaneously entertaining us and cementing videogames' place as a major modern medium and cultural movement. You need to go to this show. It's as simple as that.