Ha Ha! I fooled you into thinking that Friday's Game Developers Conference reporter's notebook was the final one. Actually it was supposed to be but on Friday there was enough new stuff I got to see that I decided to just go ahead and make an all new entry. And this will be the final one...I swear.
Video Games Live
Friday night, the San Jose Civic Auditorium was the host to Video Games Live, the video game music concert performance that was created by Tommy Tallarico and Jack Wall. Last year the concert series started at the Hollywood Bowl but plans for a huge national tour were cut short (although they did perform in Seattle and Vancouver later in 2005). Friday night's concert was a ton of fun to not only listen to but watch as the full orchestra performed music from various video games while well edited footage from the games themselves were projected on a rear screen.
Music from games like Sonic, Mario Brothers and Zelda was mixed with more modern titles like Metal Gear Solid, Medal of Honor, and for the final piece of the night, Halo. Some of the music such as Mario Brothers and Sonic of course needed to be adapted since they started as electronic scores but Video Game Live's arrangements of the themes were well handled. The sold out audience was extremely enthusiastic, especially for the interactive portion of the event as two random audience members played a game of Frogger on stage while the orchestra was playing in real time. The winner of the Frogger match got an impressive prize in a $2,500 AMD Ferrari laptop.
One of the highlights was listening to a melody of Final Fantasy music being performed on the keyboard by the self-title "Video Game Pianist" Martin Leung. I could have done without some of the revolving lights that were moving around on stage as they got in my eyes much of the time, but aside from that quibble Video Games Live was an extremely entertaining event. The concert series will be heading to at least three more cities in 2006 (Houston, Chicago and once again at the Hollywood Bowl) so if you happen to live in those areas I recommend attending. There's nothing like hearing the music to Halo (complete with a real choir) being performed live.