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Play! A Video Game Symphony

The average gamer will know that music is a crucial part of a video game and that music can boost a games image in the eyes of gamers. However, the question is would your average symphony goer feel that there could ever be enough substance within a video game score to warrant attending a concert? Well, no need to worry because a healthy mixture of both crowds managed to make their way to the Center for Performing Arts in downtown San Jose to witness the Play! concert. It was all at once a mix of both worlds. Young adults in full cosplay regalia (cosplay being Costume play, the name given to those who dress up as video game characters), adults who look like they regularly attend the symphony, younger children who either dragged their parents or parents who felt a little broadening of horizons was in order, I’m not sure which was which, but they were plentiful, and plenty of gamers with their significant others who looked happy to be out of the house and not watching their boyfriends play Guitar Hero/World of Warcraft/Halo/insert game here. Either way from the looks of it the building was nearly sold out, which can only mean good things for anyone interested.

Play! managed to feature music from some of the most beloved and well-known games from the past 20 years or so, and they managed to debut a few new compositions from games set to be released in the near future. Some of the featured music came from Super Mario Bros., Shenmue, Sonic the Hedgehog, Halo, Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, The Legend of Zelda, and World of Warcraft just to name a few of them. World premiered at the concert were selections from Lair the upcoming and highly anticipated PlayStation 3 title, as well The Darkness, and the Nobuo Uematsu composition from the upcoming Xbox 360 role-playing game, Blue Dragon. was invited to give a listen to the rehearsal before the show, and from the moment we got there we were impressed. The music comes from some of the most epic scores in gaming history. How could you go wrong with that? Along with the Silicon Valley Symphony the Silicon Valley Chamber Choir made this one very entertaining show. It’s different from nearly anything you’ve ever seen before. Accompanying the music were clips from the respective games. It’s almost like watching a music video live and in person.

Of course it goes without saying that the Nobuo Uematsu music was a big hit, heck they even had an entire tour based entirely on his Final Fantasy compositions, but quite possibly even bigger was the music from Koji Kondo; whose Legend of Zelda and Super Mario Bros. scores may be without equal in many a gamers eyes. They both were met with standing ovations being the beloved pieces of musical genius that they are. Those well-known themes aside, there’s a healthy selection of both the known and relatively unknown, the new and the old, and the blockbuster hit and sleeper/cult hit.

It’s a good time out. If the Play! Video Game Symphony is making it’s way to your city you should definitely look into making your way out there, as it’s by far a more entertaining night out than the movies. Unfortunately, they have no current dates in North America for the remainder of 2007, but in 2008 they’ll be making their way back Stateside and you’ll need to check it out for sure. It’ll be a good use for two hours that you were only going to use gaming anyway, and this way you can tell your better half you’re taking them to the Symphony and they won’t realize exactly what it is until you get there and by then it’ll be too late for them to leave you. They may even be surprised that the music actually is written for video games and in the end it’ll be a good time had by all. Do yourself and someone else a favor and get out to Play!

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was originally intended to be released earlier this year, but because of the website redesign process it was pushed back until now. The content should still be relevant, but we know that some of it might seem a little dated and we appologize for that.

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Play! A Video Game Symphony

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