As a gamer, I'm always pleased hear about video games getting the credit they deserve. That's why it was music to my ears to learn that Video Games Live was making its UK debut in Hammersmith, London over the weekend. For those of you not in the know, VGL takes all those songs we know and love from our favourite gaming collections, and performs them using a symphonic orchestra. It's already been a massive hit in the States and Brazil, often with sell-out shows. Last week I was fortunate enough to interview the founders of VGL, Tommy Tallarico and Jack Wall, but on Saturday I got the chance to check out the show for myself.
Wow. Just wow. Almost three thousand gamers screaming at the top of their lungs to the sounds of Metal Gear Solid, Tomb Raider, World of Warcraft, and more. There was even some retro fun for old farts like me with a trip down memory lane courtesy of Sonic the Hedgehog and Mario. Of course there were expected favourites - any music from the Final Fantasy series was met with absolute hysterics, but there were hidden gems too... I couldn't find one member of the audience who wasn't tempted to rush out and grab a copy of Civilisations 4 after hearing a section beautiful soundtrack. A spot of audience participation on Frogger and Space Invaders also worked a treat, with the orchestra providing spot-on sound effects. If that wasn't enough, how about throwing in a performance from the Video Games Pianist (just type that into YouTube if you haven't experienced his greatness already), or Michel Ancel standing on stage to introduce Beyond Good and Evil?
Sadly VGL don't produce video footage of their events yet. We at Frag Dolls UK were extremely fortunate to be given permission to film sections of the night's show, which should be surfacing shortly. In the meantime, have a rummage through your old gaming soundtrack collection, as I'll be doing this evening. It's very least I can do to control myself until VGL returns to our shores in 2007.