Video Games Live – Royal Festival Hall, London

“Hold up your phones, DSs, PSPs …. Holy Shit … that guys got a laptop“

Vide Games Live2

We walked in to see Master Chief chilling with Grim Fandango and Samus, Phoenix Wright – Ace Attorney was chatting to a girl I didn’t recognise. I didn’t realise there was a fancy dress competition, which is a tradition at VGL shows. I will be honest I didn’t recognise everybody. Perhaps 7 out of 10? Already my geek factor was waning. There was some stiff competition, I needed to up my game. The eventual winner was Tentacle from “Day of the Tentacle”.

This was the hardcore, and it was mainly guys, many wearing glasses. These are my people. These were the people that howl at Blizzcon, whoop at E3, and scream every time the compere tonight mentioned Square/Enix (Who won’t let VGL score their visuals live, this gets a big boo from the crowd, that was soon forgotten). This was the universal gaming tribe, same the world over. I made a new Xbox live contact, what more can I say?. Brothers in arms. Hardcore gamers have an assured look about them, whilst they may appear fragile to the outside world, they have an inner calm.

Hardcore gamers are good at the following …
Wearing Glasses
Wearing Slogan T-Shirts – VGL saw the usual collection of video game shirts, some homemade, some that lit up, “Master Chief is my Beatch” shirts, and my personal highlight. A black shirt emblazoned with the legend – “Destined for greatness, but pacing myself”
Growing “Prototype” Haircuts – A lot of the hardcore are continually growing their hair. No-one seems to have actually reached the desired look. It makes for some quite spectacular sights
Wearing Baseball Caps Backwards – This has never been something I have ever achieved with any finesse. These guys make it look easy. Badges also added to the effect.

The music was pulled from a plethora of games starting with PONG as the metronome, which was a particularly nice touch. The orchestra were awesome, never missing a beat, and always with a genuine respect for the scores. Some obviously work better than others with Metal Gear, Zelda and Mario getting some of the loudest applause and cheers of the night.

The “Outrun remix (medley)” reminded me of Jazz Odyssey from Spinal Tap. Sara was into it. “Bioshock” kept the crowd at a steady boil. Excitement was hanging heavy in the air. People were loving it. “Final Fantasy” had huge fans, “World of Warcraft” got appreciative nods. “StarCraft 2” illicited an excited intake of breath. “Chrono Cross” was played by Martin Leung and it sounded incredible. Martin can also play the Mario Medley blindfolded. He gives the audience a gentle wave after each track. There was a slight confusion about who was going first in the Frogger challenge. How was it resolved? A spontaneous game of Paper,Scissor, Stone.

The music from “Halo”, definitely has the most impact for me. It is Spooky, Emotive and Epic. Marty sure has an ear for melody. I have to be honest, that the point in the score from the “Halo” E3 Trailer when the piano drops and Cortana says “This is the way the world ends” … sends a shiver down my spine. This moment was only slightly marred by the compere, Tommy Talliachio, running across the stage with a headless guitar … he shouts … “Let’s finish the Fight” throws a live microphone across the floor with a deafening thud … then leaps into the guitar solo. He is on his third costume change of the evening. He is putting the “showbiz” into the show. This dude owns, and he knows it.

After the Halo Medley, we were asked if we wanted “One more?”. Stupid question really, the crowd starts to roar. Shouting, whooping, a standing O … up in their seats ..

The guy next to me starts to shout “FINAL FANTASY 7”.
Tommy replies “The composer is Nobuo Uematsu …”
The guy next to me starts to squeal “ONE WINGED ANGEL!” … “FINAL FANTASY 7”
“The game is Final Fantasy”
“SEVEN …. SEVEN”. His breath is getting short. My ears are hurting.
Final Fantasy 7 – One Winged Angel”
“Oh Shit” he cries waving the devil horns in the air. He collapses in his seat ….

Check the 8 Bit medley out here:

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