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Play! A video game symphony | Far Other Worlds

Evolving game scene and Sydney Opera House Concert Hall audience

The symphony last night was my son’s choice. He saw one ad for Play! A video game symphony and immediately put in his wish to go hear it. I was more than happy to oblige and it was a night out before he is off to a holiday in Finland for a few weeks.

As we entered the Sydney Opera House it was immediately obvious that something different was happening. The crowd was younger and naturally much hipper than anything that happens during the usual nights at the Opera.

The performance was interactive in that there were screens showing the classics Sonic, Mario, Final Fantasy, Halo, World of Warcraft, Castlemania, Silent Hill and some newer ones like Blue Dragon, while the Sydney Symphony Orchestra played the music. Some of the composers were also featured live or on video during the event, mostly from Japan.

It was fascinating to watch the progress of classics like Mario going from a tiny tamagotchi like figure to a high end graphics image and the new games looking like modern Greek style heros. Similarly the music jumped – suddenly for me – from a computer ping sound to a full on orchestra piece. I almost missed the sounds I remember from when my son, who is now 14, played these games when he was about three years old. While the audience was mostly young, it seemed that the games world had grown up in many ways.

My son like many others got into an excited applause when World of Warcraft was announced. I tried it once and with my son’s assistance my ‘priestess’ character got to level two quickly but then he had to get rid of mum’s character to make space for a new one of this own.

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