Last Friday I went with a small group to see Video Games Live
at the Wang Theater in Boston. Essentially, it's a symphony orchestra playing the soundtracks to classic and modern videogames, in a kind of celebration of videogames as an art form. The whole thing was organized by Tommy Tallarico, who's apparently a world-renowned videogame composer, but I only know him from his co-hosting gig on a review show on G4 TV. (I fail at video game industry knowledge.)
The show is about what you would expect. It was a small orchestra, with a video screen where they showed clips of the games they were playing. It was a much more casual atmostphere than the typical symphony or theater performance, and there were a lot of 20-somethings in the audience. We were encouraged to cheer and applaud and whatever else when we felt like it. This was both a blessing and a curse - on the one hand, it was great that these familiar games were cheered, but then the cheering got in the way of the music. That would be one notch against it, in my opinion...Tallarico would do prolonged introductions between songs, when the transitions worked anyway...we get what the games were, they're on the video.
My only other problem was the lighting in the theater. For one, the room must have been filled with a bit of smoke or something, because it's that situation where the intensely-bright spotlight and all the other stage lights can be seen, and when that gets in front of the video screen it makes it harder to see. Plus, some of the lights were pointed into the audience for effect, but then you just get an annoying light in your eyes.
Plus, we sat in the nosebleed section/back of the balcony, and since it's an old theather there's not as much legroom, but hey, with discounted tickets I can overlook those things.
Another neat thing was they brought Ralph Baer on stage (the father of the video game console), reunited with his partner (whose name I forget, sorry!) that helped him create the Magnovox Odyssey, and he actually brought a system and they hooked it up to the video screen. They invited some 12-year-old kid up on stage and he played Pong live on stage. Now there's
a story to tell your grandkids.
So yeah...the last two times I've been to the theater, it's been to see Video Games Live and Spamalot. Viva geek culture!
Labels: concert, Video Games Live