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Video Games Live CD Review, Volume One

About.com Rating 3 Star Rating

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Video Games Live Vol. 1 CD

Video Games Live Vol. 1 CD

© EMI

The Bottom Line

Video Games Live, Vol. One is sure to be a hit with fans of the concert series, and, to be honest, after a few listenings I came to really enjoy the CD. However, like the show, the disc has some conceptual issues. Few of the tracks are live recordings, which seems like a misrepresentation of both the title "Videogames Live" and the fact that this is a CD attached to a live show. Songs like the Halo and Warcraft "suites" are enjoyable, but one has to wonder why they just don't order the actual soundtracks. The music is fine, sometimes excellent, but the disc as a whole is disjointed.
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Pros

  • Varied collection of videogame songs from a variety of genres and eras
  • Some of the songs you would be hard pressed to find elsewhere
  • While not immediately accessible, the CD gains momentum after multiple listenings

Cons

  • Song order and selection is questionable, dramatic choral arrangements overly represented
  • Tommy Tallarico simply could not resist putting himself talking on the CD
  • Some songs seem more like covers than interpretations

Description

  • Video Games Live Tracks 1-5: Kingdom Hearts, Warcraft Suite, Myst Medley, Medal of Honor (Live), Civilization IV Medley
  • Video Games Live Tracks 6-9: Tetris Piano Opus No. 1, God of War Montage, Advent Rising Suite, Tron Montage
  • Video Games Live Tracks 10, 11: Halo Suite, Castlevania Rock (Live)

Guide Review - Video Games Live CD Review, Volume One

Video Games Live was an experience. The thought of a night at the orchestra, hanging out with fellow gamers and enjoying music that mattered to me presented with visuals from the game sounded like a dream come true. While the music was excellent, and the accompanying multimedia display was grand the whole experience was marred by a host who seemed more interested in hearing himself tell juvenile jokes than listening to the concert he helped organize.

Tommy Tallarico, the man behind the Video Games Live show and CD, has confused accomplishment with fame. He is an award winning videogame music composer, but that doesn't mean anyone wants to watch him bounce on-stage like Tom Cruise on Oprah's couch cracking the kinds of jokes that adults think children want to hear. Rather than a night at the symphony, it was more like Pee Wee's Playhouse Live. It was a shame too, as it was a missed chance to expose videogamers to the symphony, and the symphony crowd to videogames.

The CD, while full of potential, also misses the mark. While many of the songs are thoroughly enjoyable, the Tron Montage, Tetris Piano Opus, and Medal of Honor songs come to mind, the CD only has three live songs and the rest may as well have been ripped off of their respective soundtracks. Additionally, the music leans heavily towards sappy / overly dramatic choral arrangements that really only work in a nostalgic sense. The Halo Suite, for example, sounds as magnificent as the game was. The award winning Advent Rising song, however, carries little meaning as it was a game nobody played. Why would you buy a CD soundtrack to a game you didn't play? You wouldn't, which is why Tommy Tallarico, who wrote the song, stuck it on this disc.

Video Games Live is a fine CD full of highs and lows, much like a traditional studio release. Too bad fans were expecting a greatest hits disc.

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