When Wil Wheaton came on stage, rapturous applause filled the hall. I may have clapped, I honestly don't remember. What I do remember is thinking "That man has kissed Ashley Judd. I must have his lips."
Wheaton's lips? I'm sure people have yearned for many, many body parts from former child star, but his lips probably aren't one (two?) of them. The whole lips situation was made even more uncomfortable by the fact that my partner was sitting next to me. Boy, am I glad she can't read my mind.
Though she can probably read the internet.
Oh, where was I? A big bloody room called The Plenary, a part of the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre in South Wharf. The day was April 12, 2012. A Wednesday, if I recall.
(And I recall poorly. It was Thursday.)
Video Games Unplugged — Symphony of Legends was our reason for being there. We watched, though mostly listened to, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra as it played a selection of compositions from games including BioShock, Uncharted, SoulCalibur, Final Fantasy 7, SoulCalibur, Civilization IV and SoulCalibur.
Did I mention there was a lot of SoulCalibur?
We enjoyed music from all the other games before hitting the clefs, quavers and crotchets of the world's most buxom brawler. The pieces were played with clips of the game in question running on two giant screens and one massive screen.
When vision of the game wasn't available, we got extreme views of the orchestra itself. This was uncomfortable, at least for me. In my off time, yes, I do troll YouTube for videos of close-ups of tuba players looking like they're constantly passing napalm-like wind and old people exchanging glances of unrequited love, but the dudes handling the video feed might have been better off with showing the logo instead. I'm thinking of the musicians here.
Presenting for the duration were Kris Straub (Blamnations), Scott Kurtz (PvP and Blamnations) and Wil Wheaton (Star Trek: TNG, Stand By Me, The Love Boat). Their rehearsed dialogue didn't misfire as badly as I thought it would. While Wheaton seemed a little disingenuous, people were laughing at the material. The highlight was definitely the Skyrim cartoon featuring diarrhoea dragon shouts.
The orchestra was great, as was the choir. Actually, having the choir there was fantastic. You didn't really notice them — which was a good thing — but when they did have to make their presence known — during the performances from God of War and Skyrim in particular — their harmonious, driving voices added raw energy, the sort you won't get from a recording. Neck-hair-standing stuff.
Sadly, from time to time, I could hear a low hum underscoring the music. I'm not sure if this was an instrument, or even intentional, but it was unpleasant when my ears did pick it up. The audio guys directly in front of me (one of which can be seen in the lead image and looks kind of like an interstellar goblin, thanks to my shoddy photo skills) didn't seem to notice or mind. Maybe I'm just a philistine who can't appreciate the delicate tones of the Hum Flute, or whatever it was.
Scott Kurtz, Kris Straub and Wil Wheaton do battle with each other and the crappy exposure settings on my camera.
There was a lot of music from the SoulCalibur series (I may have forgotten to mention that), which, for fans, probably bordered on celestial in its orgasm-inducing effect. Personally, it took up way too much of the concert — I'd much rather have heard more tunes from other games.
Part of the SoulCalibur focus was a two-player tournament between Kevin "Woody" Wood and Ben "Viper" Burke. It was totally anti-climactic (though that wasn't unexpected); Woody, playing Yoshimitsu, absolutely destroyed Viper. I felt sorry for Viper, though I'm happy to partially share the emotion with Woody, who won a trophy of dubious pawning value.
To sum up, in the way articles like this always do, it was a great night out. Considering it was just the single night, everything ran smoothly and other than that darn hum, I didn't notice anything out of whack.
I'm also convinced at this stage that I was setting next to Save Point's Paul Verhoeven, who actually interviewed me while I was at Firemint. I should have said hello, but his moustache was scary and intimidating.
Did you attend the concert? Let me know — you could be in one of my photos!