So I’ve been hearing a lot of good things
about the Video Games Live performances
, which is why I was so glad to hear
it was finally going to be coming somewhere nearby KC (which most touring shows tend to avoid like the plague for some reason). So yesterday afternoon I made the slightly-over-two-hour drive to Columbia, using the time to catch up on episodes of RTFG!
, to see if all this hype VGL has been receiving was well deserved (Spoiler: It was).
Once there I met up with masterledz
& crew who were getting ready to start filming the event. For whatever reason he deemed me worth a quick video interview (my first one!) which hopefully turned out well. Next we milled around Jessie Hall looking for cosplayers for him to interview before they had to head in for the costume contest. Unfortunately there weren’t very many there, due to this performance being at a smaller venue, but we still managed to find a few decent ones. One of my favorites had to be the Cooking Mama costume which, while simple, had a pair of flaming eye glasses that completed the ensemble pretty well. After talking with a few more people milling about the small entry hall we got to see Martin Leung try his hand at the Space Invaders cabinet
they take to each tour location (he got blasted by the last alien on screen). I also ended up meeting Rick Barretto, the head of Dream Authentics
(they made the VGL arcade cabinet), who kindly offered to hook me up with press passes if I ever went to another show. He also seemed to be really impressed with my R4DS (hadn’t heard of them before) and spiffy Destructoid theme, shame I didn’t have any snazzy Dtoid business cards to trade with him, though.
After this we began filing into the auditorium, past the tables of expensive t-shirts, to find our seats. Now I won’t go into any great specifics about the program, both because I don’t want to spoil too much for those of you who haven’t been and because I believe masterledz will be writing a more in-depth review of each score to go along with his video. I would like to say, though, that Tommy Tallarico, Jack Wall and the rest of the Video Games Live crew really know how to put on an awesome show. The great casual atmosphere, all the energy pumped out by the hosts, the cool big screen videogame contests and all the audience interaction really helped the show feel like a gaming event not only populated by gamers but run by them too. The performers they had on hand were all-around excellent as well, seriously, anyone that can make Civilization IV sound that epic is definitely doing something right. There was one minor complaint I did have about their light system, however. While in some sections it was very well-utilized there were times were it served only to distract from the performance at hand. Specifically when the lights would be moving across the audience shining directly into everyone’s’ eyes while flashing through several colour changes. It wasn’t a big problem, but it did keep a few segments from feeling as polished as the rest.
One specific example from the performance I would like to highlight was the Medal of Honor piece. As many of you know VGL combines video to go along with the music and in this case rather than just showing clips of random US soldiers just mowing through pixilated Nazis they took a very tasteful route by showing black and white news footage from World War 2. This creative decision helped to create a really somber moment that wouldn’t have been nearly as moving without it. Also, Tommy plays a mean Halo theme on that electric guitar of his.
After the show we met up with Tommy, Jack and Martin who kindly signed my ticket stub (pictured above) and chatted with us for a bit. It was really great to see how much they liked Destructoid. Tommy in particular said he was very fond of the write-up David did for the London show, and reminded Niero to “buff his head”… meaning the Mr. Destructoid helmet, of course. I also got to meet Becky “Aktrez” Young there, who I had no idea was with the show, a very pleasant surprise indeed. Unfortunately I couldn’t stick around long afterwards because I had an exam early this morning *shakes fist at responsibilities*.
All-in-all Video Games Live was an awesome experience that I would heartily recommend everyone experience even if you aren’t really into game music per se, or even videogames for that matter, the performances are just so wonderful that anyone but the most cold-hearted Jack Thompson groupies couldn’t help but be moved by them.