Staff writer Dan Hrdlicka offers his perspectives on his recent adventure into nerd heaven, taking in a performance of Video Games Live at The Fox Theatre.

This past Saturday night, the Fabulous Fox Theatre held a show that seemed completely inappropriate for the venue, and yet, it was quite possibly the best show I’ve ever been to. Imagine the lobby of The Fox, complete with elderly ushers, massive marble pillars, and stone lions with glowing yellow eyes. Now add to that familiar scene a few arcade cabinets, some people playing Guitar Hero, and the Mario Brothers in all of their mustachioed glory. For you see, the Fabulous Fox theater, built as a glorious movie palace in 1929, for one brief night was home to Video Games Live!


AMP Staff writer Kyle Sennish meets the Mario Brothers.

Now, for anyone who would judge such a show as incredibly nerdy, you would be correct. The lobby swarmed with fanboys and fangirls, some of whom proclaimed their love of their favorite character by entering into the costume contest. (For those of you interested, the finalists included the dog from Duckhunt!, the ever classic Mario Brothers, and an elementary-aged Bowser, but all fell before the girl dressed as the Piranha Plant. Although, it was a great upset for the crowd that Weighted Companion Cube of Portal fame didn’t make the semi-finals.)


Dan Hrdlicka with the Weighted Companion Cube and Test Subject from the game Portal.

The show began with a video of Mrs. Pacman eluding her ghostly rivals in New York, and then, when the lights dimmed, the orchestra began an overture of 8-bit proportions. Audience members were presented with music from Metal Gear Solid, God of War, Myst, Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts, Tron, Medal of Honor, The Legend of Zelda, World of Warcraft, Starcraft II, Sonic the Hedgehog, Mario Brothers, and the Halo trilogy, just to name a few. In addition, a few audience members were lucky enough to be invited up on stage to play old-school classics like Space Invaders and Frogger for prizes, while the orchestra played the music to the game in real time. The crowd was electric–it was a reunion tour of some of our best childhood memories on stage. Every medley was someone’s favorite, and whether it was the audience screaming “FOR THE HORDE!” or the choir singing the trademark “Se-ga!” when Sonic and pals were in the spotlight, the evening was punctuated by laughter, cheers, and fantastic tongue in cheek humor poking fun at the pastime that brought us all together for the night. (Instead of lighters or cell phones, the crowd held up Nintendo DS’s and PSP’s.) My personal favorites of the evening were the Final Fantasy Medley, played by Martin Leung (the piano virtuoso who became a hit on Youtube by playing the Mario theme song blindfolded), which was as moving as any piece of music as I have ever heard; the Legend of Zelda trilogy, which is a series I’ve always deeply loved; and the Halo trilogy finale, which had the whole crowd roaring.

Overall, Video Games Live was a fantastic show not only because of the music, but because of the deep connection and interaction between the audience and the music. The next time Video Games Live comes to town, grab your nerdiest friend, don your favorite game-inspired clothing, and head on out. You won’t regret it.