Try to imagine the energy of a concert, the beauty of orchestral music, the intensity of live action from video games, and a dazzling light show all combined into one live performance. This could prove difficult, until you see “Video Games Live.”
Created and produced by world-famous video game composers Tommy Tallarico and Jack Wall, the show consists of a full symphony orchestra playing onstage in front of a cinema-sized video screen. Stunning, state-of-the-art lighting dances over the walls of the theater and its occupants while explosive video from cutting-edge games plays on the screen.
Along with guest pianist Martin Leung, the orchestra presents a powerful array of 20 pieces featuring a classic arcade medley at the start and several interactive elements involving audience members. All in all, “Video Games Live” provides a spectacular sensory performance that leaves you stunned and blinking days afterward.
Something that shocked me, however, is the enormous amount of violence in these video games.
The creators seem to have no qualms in showing extreme destruction, killing, brutality, and other violence. There also seems to be no consequences, but only rewards for this destruction. It shocks me that games with such beautiful animation could also contain such violence.
I was fascinated by the interactive pieces of the performance. Twice the host brought audience members up on stage to play the actual games while the orchestra responded on the fly. The talent and overall unity of the musicians astounded me in their ability to do this.
Other times, people dressed as characters from the video games came on stage during the concert. At first, the characters appeared as comic exaggerations, which gamers in the audience appreciated. After a while, though, the characters grew more serious, and eventually one appeared pointing a fake machine gun at the audience. I found this not only distasteful but rather horrifying, and it put a slight damper on an otherwise captivating performance.