Jan. 16, 2007 - Issue #587: Mermaid Tales
There’s more to video games than just beeping and booping sounds
‘If Beethoven were alive today, he would be a video game composer,” says Tommy Tallarico, one of the two creators of Video Games Live. “He was way ahead of the curve and he wanted to drive people’s emotion.”
This desire to push the envelope is what Video Games Live is all about. Tallarico and co-creator Jack Wall were both composers in the video game music industry and thought it was about time to legitimize the music, as well as the entire video game industry.
“Symphonies across the world aren’t appealing to the younger generation,” he explains. “People who are 40 and under who grew up on video games and Star Wars feel like orchestral symphonic presentations aren’t for them.
“What we’re doing is breaking down all those barriers,” he continues. “Don’t think of a symphony as being boring. When a symphony performs it’s musical magic. We capture the power of the symphony and combine it with the energy and excitement of a rock show.”
For a guy who grew up on the first generation of games like Pac Man, Tallarico feels as though game music is something to get excited about because it reaches so many people without them realizing it.
“Video games are the biggest part of entertainment,” Tallarico states. “The average person who buys and plays a video game is 33 years old and the average household plays 13 hours of video games each week.”
The touring Video Games Live show is guaranteed to please both new- and old-school gamers, drawing music from classics like Pong, Donkey Kong and Frogger, as well as from newer games like Halo, Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts.
“These are games that have amazing scores—just as good as any John Williams score,” Tallarico enthuses. “We have all different types of emotional pieces. We’ve got Barber Adagio for string moments, we have Italian opera moments, we have Disney-esque moments … there are so many different varieties!”
Tallarico is in his fifth year of touring with the performance, but he
says that he’s never bored because the repertoire is revamped often and
the accompanying multimedia is constantly updated, so that the symphony plays
alongside huge screens with the most up-to-date graphics and light design.
The Edmonton performance in particular will provide a perfect example of the
“Edmonton is going to be a very special show,” Tallarico promises. “We’re doing the world premiere of Jade Empire, one of the big games that Bioware put out a year ago.”
For those not in the know, Bioware is one of the biggest video game producers in the world, based right here in Edmonton. In addition, Video Games Live co-creator Jack Wall wrote the music for Jade Empire and is the conductor for the tour, so the Edmonton stop will have a unique connection to the performance.
“What is great about the Edmonton symphony is that they get it,” Tallarico adds. “They’re very progressive and they don’t follow the stuffy symphony kind of culture environment. The ESO is very hip and progressive—they want to appeal to a younger generation and they’re very supportive to what we’re doing here.
“We sometimes feel like lonely pioneers,” he continues. “We have to explain to the gamers that the symphony is cool, and we have to explain to non-gamers that video games are cool. We don’t get paid. We’re doing this to get the word out. Our main objective is to help change people’s perception of orchestral music and the video game industry.” V
Mon, Jan 22 - Tue, Jan 23 (7:30 pm)
Video Games Live
Edmonton Symphony Orchestra
Hosted by Tommy Tallarico
Conducted by Jack Wall
Featuring Kokopelli & Òran Chamber Choir
Jubilee Auditorium, $50 - $60
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