Spring has arrived once again. There will be sunshine, daisies and blissful frolicking through the grass — and of course, the heartbroken moans of rejected would-be Yalies from across the nation.
Better not to let them know that even Mario and Luigi somehow found a way to make it to Yale.
This Saturday night in Woolsey Hall, the internationally famous and regularly sold out Video Games Live concert series will bring to Yale the melodies and soundtracks of dozens of the world’s best video games as performed by the Yale Symphony Orchestra.
Synchronized footage from the video games — which range from such classics as “Pong” and “Mario” to more modern hits such as “Warcraft,” “Metal Gear Solid” and “Kingdom Hearts” — will meld with laser projectors, lighting effects and interactive elements to deny even that solitary old man who’s always at such concerts a chance to snore.
“[Video Games Live] blends the energy and excitement of a rock concert with the interactivity of video games,” said Tommy Tallarico, an industry composer and co-creator of Video Games Live.
This unique blend is designed to expose newcomers to what Tallarico calls the “legitimate art form” of video game music. The purpose of the concert tour, he says, is “not only to celebrate the video-game industry with those who already enjoy it, but to open the eyes of others who may still think that video games are just a bunch of bleeps and bloops.”
Yale, with its fair share of future doctors, lawyers and CEOs without much time for video-gaming leisure, may indeed be in dire need of an hour or two of pixellized harmonies.
“I grew up playing a lot of video games, but since coming to Yale, I haven’t really had the time to keep up with my old gaming habits,” Alex Perez ’09 said. “There’s a huge nostalgia factor here.”
The magic of video games — which have been, I will admit, the best thing to grace my own television set since I turned five and earned my own Super Nintendo system — also appears to be luring those who are new to YSO’s concert music. Lisa Luo ’10, for instance, admits that she does not regularly attend other YSO concerts, though two of her friends are members of the ensemble. But for Video Games Live, she has made an exception.
“I’ve watched the clips about Video Games Live and they look pretty awesome,” Luo said. “Also, the fact that Video Games Live concerts have sold out so often piqued my interest.”
Yalies — whether experienced with video games and YSO or not — will not be the only ones attending this momentous event, however.
“The target audience for this concert is actually different than what it is normally; this time we’re targeting more people from the region, instead of just Yale students,” YSO President Andrew McManus ’07 said, adding that advertising for the event has been far more widespread than regular YSO concerts.
YSO member Mari-e Takahashi ’08 agreed, predicting that audiences “from as far as the New York area” will likely show up.
The diversity of the audience is hardly surprising, however, considering the immense popularity of video games and the truly artful pieces that accompany them as soundtracks.
“I didn’t think that video games had this kind of music; it isn’t something you normally think about,” YSO Director Toshiyuki Shimada said. “But if you listen, you find that in many ways it’s similar to movie soundtracks.”
Saturday’s concert will be meaningful not only because it will be the first time that Video Games Live has collaborated with a college ensemble; it will also be an event geared toward those most in a position to appreciate it, McManus said.
“This generation has basically grown up on video games,” McManus said. “So when they come to this concert, they hear the music and see the screen, and it really connects to people.”