It’s funny how things work out. The beginning of this week, we had no plans for the weekend. By Sunday afternoon I think a lot of the GoNintendo staff would say that we had one of the best weekends in a long time, for plenty of reasons. This weekends events centered around the Video Games Live tour, put together by Tommy Tallarico and Jack Wall. For those of you, who don’t know what Video Games Live (VGL) is, please allow me to explain. VGL is dedicated to bringing all your favorite video game music to you live, performed by a symphony, and mixing it with visuals from the games you love. The show’s aim is to offer up a complete synergy of aural and visual elements from the games you love. Tommy Tallarico and Jack Wall have been working to put this show together for a long time now, and I am sure many are familiar with the ups and downs along the way. I cannot stress enough to everyone reading this, do not be like me. I felt burnt by VGL in the past, the show cancellations, the ticket refunds…and I was completely ready to miss out on this experience. If Tommy Tallarico never got in touch with me, I would have been ignorant to an amazing experience, and that was just the show alone. While I will get into what happened after the show, those events aren’t a factor when recommending the show. There are reasons as to why the cancellations came, and problems came up…but Tommy Tallarico and Jack Wall were just as upset as the public…even more so. I know you people are out there, people that just want to be done with the show…I was one of you. Do yourself a favor and give VGL one more chance, I personally promise you will be extremely happy you did.
Having just made the trip out to Philly the previous night for a little Dave & Busters get together, we set out on our trip with a much better knowledge of the area. On the way to the Merriam Theatre, we discussed what music we hoped to hear at the show, what games would be shoe-ins, and what kind of surprises would be in store. Myself and Nicky Hill were giddy at the thought of hearing Beyond Good & Evil live, something we never thought would happen. If any of you listen to our podcast, you know how deeply we love that game. Tommy Tallarico has the same fondness for the game, and feels how we do about how poorly it sold. The fact that the game would be getting recognition on stage like that, on top of hearing what we think is one of the most beautiful game soundtracks to date had us very eager to get to the show. JohntheSavage was pulling to hear some Gauntlet during the show, but as far as we knew, there were no plans for that. Of course, as long as Mom Brain got her Zelda fix she would be happy, so she was set from the moment we set out.
I am always amazed at how many people know about GoNintendo. I am often flattered, and taken aback when people approach me. I just cannot believe how widespread the site has become, it blows my mind. I say this because we met up with a handful of GoNintendo readers at random, two of them in a VERY interesting way! As we were driving on the highway, a car drove past with a young woman and man inside. They both seemed to be laughing at us when they passed. Now I know I am a crazy looking character, but I couldn’t help but wonder what they were laughing at! We managed to get alongside them again, and we saw a sign being held up (which looked like it was written in lipstick!) that said something along the lines of Nintendo on it. Our entire car burst into laughter, and we pointed and waved to the people in the other car, as they did the same. I had the chance to meet up with the people in question once we got to the theater, but that’s getting a little later.
With that last bit of highway fun helping pass the time, we found ourselves right outside the Merriam Theatre. We hunted down a parking garage, grabbed a spot, and made our way back to theatre. It looked as if people had been standing there for quite some time, there seemed to be a massive crowd starting at the front door going all the way back to the edge of the curb. It was a sea of gaming shirts, evening gowns, and cosplayers. Bursts of cheers and screams would pop up with every minute that got us closer to the show. We had the chance to mingle with the crowd, where we had the pleasure of meeting up with more fans. I got to hang out with LadyDragoness & Kempatsu (the couple from the car), ElChibo, Toad64 (loooongtime reader!) and a few others that I didn’t have time to catch the screen names of. We were all buzzing with excitement about the show, going of what pieces we were really looking forward to. I have to say that it was a pleasure to meet each and every one of the fans. I am sorry that some points we were busier than others, I really wish we had more time to hang out. I am humbled by each and every meeting with all of you guys.
During a convo with Toad64, the doors to the theatre burst open, and it was a mad rush for the front door. We had to make our way to the Will Call booth to pick up our backstage passes; we had already printed our tickets out. Once we got to the counter we gave the man my name…which turned up nothing. We then gave Mom Brain’s name, Nicky Hill’s, and JohntheSavage, all of which spawned no passes. We even had him check under G for GoNintendo…but no such luck. He redirected us outside to the stage door, told us to knock there and ask inside. Nicky Hill decided to stay inside the main lobby and make his way towards a couple of people with the show that we had met last night. The rest of us made our way around the building to the side stage door, where we were greeted by a man that bared a striking resemblance to Santa Claus. The man was just as nice as Santa too; he was on the phone in seconds to straighten things out. We then were told to head back to the front of the theater to meet up and get our passes. As we made our way back we ran into Nicky Hill walking with Becky Young, (Marketing Coordinator for VGL) which we had hung out with last night. She had our passes wrapped around her neck, and handed them out to us. We hung around outside and talked with Becky, one of the nicest, most helpful girls you could ever hope to meet. We stayed to chat because we had found out that show doors weren’t opening until 7:30 instead of 7:00, which was a surprise to us and the VGL staff as well!
Now the lobby was packed full of people chomping at the bit to see the show. Becky took us around the back entrance, snuck us through the (very pesky) elevator, and got us in the front of the line. She set us up with all the info we needed, the Guitar Hero II preshow section, where to head to for our seats, and told us we were free to take pics while waiting the lobby. As you can see, the crowd was sandwiched together like sardines…but you know that is part of the fun when you go to a concert! Unfortunately the theatre owners were very against us taking pictures during the actual show, with people’s cameras being confiscated left and right. We had to put away our camera at the start of the show so we wouldn’t get kicked out. Unfortunately Becky and the rest of the crew had no idea that they theatre staff were going to be so harsh on this rule, so they apologized for the trouble. VGL had no problems with us taking pictures!
After about 15 minutes the flood gates were let loose, and the stampede began once again. People were running upstairs, downstairs, and even to Guitar Hero II. We tried to stay together in the mad rush, and started to make our way to our seats. When we went through the theater doors we were greeted by a projection screen with the VGL logo, a yet to be filled symphony seating arrangement, and video game remixes (such as songs from OCRemix and The Minibosses) pumping through the audio system. We lucked out, our seats were simply amazing. Just the night before Tommy asked where we were sitting, and once he found out we were told that it was prime for a perfect show. A great view of the stage, perfect distance from the speakers, we couldn’t have asked for anything more. From the second we sat down you were overwhelmed by, simply put, a “fun” experience. It truly is the best way to describe it. It was like I was at a concert with 1,000 of my best friends that all had the same love of video games I do. There were smiles all around, not to mention a lot of DS pictochatting as well. We hopped into chat, messaged back and forth with Toad64, some other random gamers, and even a couple of the guys from AMN. Pictochatting was a ton of fun beforehand, the chats filled with excitement for the show, and debates on what songs would be the best. There was an undeniable buzz about the entire theater.
Shortly after 8:00 p.m. the lights dimmed, and out came Becky once again, but this time on stage. The crowd cheered with a deafening scream, the kind you love to hear at the start of any concert. Instead of jumping right into the music of the night, VGL started off with a cosplay contest. ElChibo was in the contest dressed as a dark mage, alongside other characters from Final Fantasy, Resident Evil, Kingdom Hearts, and Star Wars. The contest was a close one (judged by audience applause) with the Kairi and Rude (FFVII) cosplayers garnering the most praise, but after a double sudden death round, Rude came out the winner. The contest was a great way to start off the show, push audience participation (a theme of the night) and basically get you pumped for the music to kick in. As the cosplayers cleared the stage, everyone got dead silent in their wait to see who would hit the stage next.
The lights faded, the symphony readied themselves, and then Jack Wall (Co-Creator, Executive Producer, Conductor) walked out. Of course, a wave of applause and screams filled the theater to which Jack bowed, and then took center stage. The first piece of music was the perfect choice to start the show, a medley of songs from 25 arcade classics. What better game to kick the show off then Pong?! The original Pong was displayed on the project screen behind the symphony, starting off with the original bleeps and bloops. As the game played out on screen, you realized that the noises of the ball hitting the wall and paddles was following a beat, and was actually turning into a song itself. As the ball got into a rhythm the symphony followed behind it, giving Pong a feeling like never before. I never thought of pairing Pong with a symphony, but I was even more surprised to hear it work!
Pong then lead into Space Invaders, where the original theme was turned into a dark, brooding piece that gave the game an ominous feeling like never before. From there on out it was a total onslaught of the senses, with new arcade games attacking you every few seconds. Each time a new game came on the screen accompanied by it’s theme, the crowd would erupt with the praise from fans. The ones you know and love from the arcades were all present, Asteroids, Centipede, Joust, Frogger and yes, Gauntlet. There were also some big surprises from the arcade section, like the appearance of (one of my favorites) Elevator Action. The symphony managed to turn Elevator Action’s 10 second theme into an awesome full bodied piece, and I couldn’t get enough of it. The Nintendo arcade classics were there too, which made for some of the biggest crowd response. Duck Hunt was played, complete with a symphonic embellishment for when that damn dog laughs at you, the arcade version of Punch-Out!!, and you KNOW Donkey Kong was there in full force. The Donkey Kong piece was another one of my favorites, where the music played actually told a little story. There were even special drums played for when Donkey Kong jumped at the top of the level to smash the lower levels to the ground. The attention to detail in the arcade medley (and throughout the rest of the night) let you know that the people in charge of this show knew these games just as well as you did.
The end of a trip through 25 arcade titles was met with a standing ovation, and was the perfect way to get you right into the gaming music mood. Tommy Tallarico then took the stage to talk a little bit about VGL, and to thank everyone for making the trip out. He wasn’t much for eating up time by talking to no end, he knew what the people wanted and didn’t want to get in the way of it. There was a lot to cover that night, and the show had just started. There were so many pieces played that night that it would take a very long time to go through all of them, but I will talk about some.
A Metal Gear Solid medley was the first piece played after the arcade medley, full of very intense themes that are equally recognizable by gamers the world over. I couldn’t believe how spot on the presentation was. At one point during the piece, I closed my eyes to just see if I could tell a difference between the live version and the one found in the actual games. It was almost as if I was sitting in the theater playing the actual game. If you knew the theme like I do, then you know when to expect certain instruments to come into play, and during the piece I was never let down. On top of all this, the MGS medley had a video presentation as well, just as the arcade medley did (and all pieces during the show, as I came to find out later). The mixing of hearing the music while watching a tailor-made trailer for the piece only helped to further the experience. Seeing some of the greatest moments from all the MGS games while hearing the theme is just too damn good. While you don’t need to see any of the footage to enjoy the music, having the video presentation helps give the piece even more power, regardless of having played the games or not. I also have to mention before I go any further, these video presentations were made specifically for VGL, and were timed to match the intensity of the music. When a big drum hit, you would see an explosion on screen. When the violins kicked in and things were toned down, the video on screen would take a sadder, more dramatic turn. It still boggles my mind that these pieces were timed perfectly with video. I have seen Nicky Hill put together pieces like this for his college film work, and it is an extremely daunting process. This kind of video sync was done with practically all the pieces played during the night.
As I mentioned earlier, I had been waiting all week for the moment where I got to hear Beyond Good & Evil played live. Tommy came out and gave the game the respect it never got outside of the press. He discussed the game itself, the music behind it, the man (Michel Ancel) responsible for getting it together, and the unfortunately bad sales. The way that Tommy talked about it let you know that he cared about the game. Myself and Tommy had had a few lengthy email conversations about the game, and even discussed it in detail at Dave & Busters the night before. When Tommy introduced the game I cheered as loud as I could, and Tommy looked at me, smiled and pointed me out. He knew how much the game meant to me, and how truly important I felt it was for people to get to see/hear it. About 5 seconds into the piece I couldn’t even pretend to hold the tears back. I admit it, I got teary eyed during Beyond Good & Evil. Hell, I got teary eyed during half of the pieces played…but BG&E took the crown. Tommy had told me that he picked four of his personal favorite tracks from the game for the medley, which turned out to be a perfect mix. The main theme, the fighting theme, the slow version of the fight theme, and then the end theme were played, and it was amazing from start to finish. I don’t know if it was my love of the game that pushed me so far over the edge with BG&E’s medley, but I truly thought it was superb. As an added bonus for those that played the game, the video featured Jade from the beta of the game. Jade wasn’t in her traditional green outfit, instead she was in a white and red outfit, and had more of an anime-style look. I remember these screens popping up when the game was still a work in progress, and it was great to see this in the video presentation as an extra little nod towards the BG&E fans. Once again, this just gives you an idea of the attention to detail during the show.
One of the pieces I wasn’t all that interested in hearing was the music of Medal of Honor. While I am familiar with the series and enjoy the music, I just haven’t been as into the series lately as I used to be. When putting together the piece for VGL, the team had a completely different idea of how to approach things. Tommy came back out to explain the man behind the Medal of Honor soundtrack, and then went into discussing the game’s subject matter. He informed the audience that instead of using footage from the games, the piece would be set to a montage of real life footage from World War II. It was explained that the piece would be a very serious one that had a lot of time spent on it, and hoped that we would enjoy. Seeing the custom video piece alongside the game’s theme was a very stirring experience. MotherBrain, along with most of the audience was moved to tears by the piece. It helped to take the games subject matter and get it across to the listener with much more emphasis then game footage could have provided. This piece was met with one of the biggest rounds of applause during the night.
Getting back into the realm of purely video game presentations, The Legend of Zelda was also one of the heaviest hitters during the show. The piece was introduced by composer Koji Kondo himself, albeit in video form. As soon as his face came up on screen the entire theatre was going nuts. The theme itself was an orchestra arrangement I hard heard before, but once again…seeing it with the custom video piece gave it an extra layer of depth. All the console Zelda’s were covered, starting with the original, all the way up to footage from Twilight Princess. If you have heard the arrangement before, about three quarters of the way through there is a slower, quieter section that plays with the main theme, and a couple other Zelda songs. This part was set to footage from Twilight Princess with Link talking to the young child in the forest, where they sneak through the fallen tree deeper into the woods. This part of the music mixed with the imagery of children and a playful nature was another one of my favorite parts of the night. You know that when you come away from the show that no matter what, the Zelda medley is always going to be one of the highlights, and it was no different here.
You can’t mention one of Nintendo’s big franchises without talking about the granddaddy of them all, Mario. The Mario medley was held until the second to last piece, which I was very happy to hear. I was expecting to hear Mario very close to the beginning of the show, but was pleased to hear it show up towards the end. It constantly gave me something to look forward too, while giving me a chance to fully enjoy the other pieces along the way. Once again Koji Kondo introduced the piece, and spoke of how he couldn’t believe a theme he made 20 years ago is a cultural icon today. This theme was also an arrangement I had heard before…a mix of the main theme, underground theme, and underwater theme. The Mario visual presentation may have been one of the best ones of the night. Every jump that Mario took was timed with the music, every Goomba stomp or coin grab matched the beat perfect. Tons of Mario footage was shown…all the classics, Mario 64, Sunshine, the sports titles, and even the Game Boy adventures were thrown in. Tommy had hinted us the night before that we might tear up at the end of the Mario piece, and damnit he was right. The very end of the piece is the song that is played when you run out of men and get a game over. This tune was slowed down and made sweeter by violins, which was mixed with footage of Mario and Princess Peach hugging, kissing, or just being love struck. The very end was a zoom into the heart that appears between (then) Jumpman and Pauline at the end of Donkey Kong. I once again teared up a bit, and Mom Brain even let out a little sigh…you just couldn’t help yourself.
I think what was obviously one of the crowd favorites of the show was the appearance of Martin Leung, the video game pianist. I am sure many of you have seen Martin, or know who he is. One day Martin decided to put a video of himself on the internet. It was Martin at the piano, with a friend video taping the entire session. Martin played a medley of songs all throughout the Mario series, which was amazing by itself. The real kicker is that Martin played through the entire piece while blindfolded, and still managed to play at a speed that seemed like more a camera trick then a real life feat. Tommy met up with Martin to check out his talent for himself, and once he got to see him play the piano first hand, his future in VGL was sealed. Martin came on stage and played a Final Fantasy medley that was put together by myself and Tommy, which covered major songs from Final Fantasy’s entire history. Later on he came out to play the classic Mario theme, both the regular and sped up version. On top of that, he played another theme from Super Mario World both original and sped up…but hearing this song sped up matched with live video of Martin’s hands on the piano was a surreal experience. I don’t see how it is possible for anyone to move their hands as fast as he does while playing, and still manage not to screw up. Martin received one of the longest (and well deserved) standing ovations of the night.
There were many other pieces played during the show, but I don’t want to ruin all the surprises for everyone. Also, there was an amazing finale to the show, but that is just too good to give away either! Trust me, some things are better left to your imagination. It will make it all the more fun when you check it out yourself! Another aspect of the show that I am willing to talk about go back to the audience participation I mentioned earlier. During the intermission Becky from VGL waded through the crowds to find two people who were up for a game of Frogger. Right after intermission Tommy took the stage and brought the two people out with him. Here was the idea plain and simple, whoever scores the highest amount of points in Frogger was going to win a prize. Not just any prize, but a $2500 laptop to call their own. The symphony was set to play the music for the game, always prepared to play the death theme when poor Frogger didn’t make it. The first guy up ripped through Frogger like he had made the game himself. He managed to clear all five frogs from one end of the screen to the other, and while his second batch of frogs didn’t go as smoothly, he did come away with a very impressive score. On the other hand, the second gamer didn’t do such a good job. She got run over, drown, or leapt to her death more times then we could count. In the end contestant number one took home the laptop, and contestant number two won herself a home version of Frogger. Now she can practice for next year!
One of my favorite audience participation pieces was a game of Space Invaders the likes of which we had never seen before. One lucky audience member got to take the stage, and was given a shirt that had the Space Invaders ship on it. He was also given a plunger button that he would use to fire the ship’s gun. Instead of controlling the ship with a joystick, his body became the ship! Tommy and Jack ran a track line across the entire stage, and wherever the contestant ran the ship would follow. So now he had to run back and forth on stage trying to clear the space invaders. On top of all this, Tommy said that if the contestant managed to shoot the special red ship that flies by during the stage, he would win the point amount in cash. The audience was REALLY into this part of the show, screaming directions, yelling when to fire, and giving out advice on where to hide all while the symphony played the classic theme. Unfortunately the guy never managed to hit the special ship, although he gave it all he could running across the stage. This was the first time VGL tried out their Space Invaders idea, and I really think it was a success. It was tons of fun to watch, and we were all pulling for the guy. Hopefully if they continue this aspect of the show, next time they will get a winner!
It seems to cliché to say, but before we knew it the night was over. The time literally flew by, I felt like I was in the theatre for about half an hour. The audio experience mixed with the visual made for a perfect blend. Each aspect of the show (be it the audio or visual) played off of each other, and helped add to the overall feeling of the show. You have played these games all of your life, and you want to see some of the game’s greatest moments with the soundtrack blasting at you. Also, those who know nothing about video games or their music get to experience what we do…a strong visual presentation alongside a simply amazing aural attack. We know and love these game themes…game music has come a long way. It is time for shows like VGL to help spread the word the video game music isn’t what it used to be.
We made our way out into the lobby where a meet and greet was taking place. Becky made her way over to our group to dish about the show. We told her what we loved, what our favorites were, and what we thought of the whole thing in general. She was just as excited as we were for the show. She was especially impressed with the response from the crowd the entire night, stating that she thought it was one of the loudest and most interactive crowds they have ever had. Becky offered to usher us up to the head of the line to meet with everyone again, but we held back and let the rest of the crowd go ahead. We were going to just hang and talk while the lines died down. Becky told us that we could head over to the hotel Tommy, Jack, herself, and the rest of the crew were staying, hang tight in the lobby, and then we could discuss the show. We stayed at the theatre for quite some time, where we met up with Chris from Joystiq once again. We too talked about the show, and went over the highlights. With him being from Joystiq, our convo eventually lead into regular gaming news, and all that comes with it. Chris was a really great guy, and we had a lot of fun hanging out with him both at the theatre, and the hotel lobby where we headed to later. We managed to snag a pic with Chris now that we were allowed to take some pics once again!
We headed outside and walked across the street to the hotel, had a sit down in the lobby, and just talked with all the people we had met at the show. OCRemix was there, as well as a team putting together a documentary, and AMN. As we were waiting for the VGL team to make their way over, I didn’t think we were going to have much of a chance to talk. People were waiting for interviews and picture ops, so I figured we would be holding tight for quite some time. Little did I know that when Tommy came through the door, he came straight for us and Chris from Joystiq to discuss what we thought of the show. He wanted to know every little detail, anything we really didn’t like, stuff we did, and even what songs could be added to the show. Tommy even mentioned the screwups that happened during the show, the only one I picked up on being Castlevania. During the Castlevania piece the symphony got a little off beat, but after 30 seconds or so they got back on track. Tommy was extremely apologetic about the situation, but he took it in stride. It happened, there’s nothing you can do, you just move on and make the rest of the show as best as it can be. Our little chat became an impromptu roundtable discussion that lasted somewhere around an hour long. By this time Becky had joined us by the couches too, where we were all hanging out like one big family. Eventually Tommy had to get up to do some interviews, and Becky took this opportunity to head out and grab some grub. We hung at the lobby and talked with Darryl from Game Crazy, another really nice guy. After the interviews were over, Tommy came back to the couches with Becky (now with fresh pizza in hand), grabbed himself a slice, and we started chatting again. A little later on people were saying their goodbyes, so while Tommy was making the rounds Becky told us some stories from VGL in the past, which is when Jack made his way over as well. They both had some really great stories that had us laughing our asses off. What was even better was that they shared the stories with us…they felt comfortable talking with us, and being around us. Nothing was forced in any way. Like I said before, it really did feel like we had known these people forever.
Mom Brain talked to Jack about his daughter, who sang during the a Myst medley. Her voice was simply amazing, it actually gave me chills during the piece. She also received an enormous amount of applause. She is a young lady well on her way to a career involved in music, if she decides to stay on that path. Jack was extremely appreciative about what we had to say. I can only imagine what it is like being up on stage, conducting a symphony while music is blasting at you, lights dancing around the stage, a video presentation on a huge screen in front of you, and trying to focus on your daughter who is singing 5 feet away from you. I made the same statement to Jack, saying I have no idea how he keeps track of what’s going on while he is up there. He told me that he really doesn’t have any idea how he does it either, and finds himself asking the same question while working!
Earlier in the night we had offered our help to head back over to the theater to help pack up bags that needed to come to the hotel. We made our way back to the theatre lobby and started to pack all the shirts, posters, and other items from the show that needed to go back with the crew. There were two boxes under a table that had all the Guitar Hero II dev kits in them that we had to take back to the hotel. Chris from Joystiq offered to take care of them over the weekend, and “promised” to send them back on Monday. Chris was only joking of course, and Tommy wasn’t going to let him do that. You know he took them back to his hotel room and hooked them up to play, wouldn’t you!? Anyway, now that things were wrapping up we offered to help take their bags up to their hotel room, since there were 4 people and about 10 bags. We hopped an elevator back up to Becky’s room and dropped off all the stuff there, where Tommy and Jack soon met up with the rest of the luggage. This was the end, our night had come to a close. Tommy started to thank us for all our help, told us how much of a pleasure it was to meet us. We got hugs and handshakes all down the line from Tommy, who seemed so sincere that it almost made me tear up. Things like this just mean so much to me. It is someone recognizing all the hard work I put into this site and what I do. It is a validation, it is someone patting you on the back. It is the same feeling I get when I hear from you guys, the readers and listeners when you take the time out of your busy day to tell me that you like what we do. I went over to Becky and said my goodbyes, wished her well (since she was sick) and then made my way down to Jack. He gave me a hug and handshake, and thanked us all for coming out and being a part of the show. Just as we were leaving, Jack stopped me and thanked me for the very first email I had written. Him and Tommy both started talking about it, and really thanked me for how nice it was, and for the honesty. I was humbled that the email meant so much to them, and also ashamed that I had such a negative outlook of the show due to the problems in the past. I know they both said that they truly appreciated it, I just hope that still accept my apology for being so unsure in the first place.
This was an amazing weekend for myself, for the GoNintendo crew, and for the site in general. We met fans of the site and podcast, the lifeblood of what we do. You guys are the reason I am up until 6 in the morning, the reason I give myself headaches over worrying, and the reason why it is all worth it. We got to see an amazing video game music show. Video Games Live, along with other video game music tours are so extremely important to our industry. You need to attend these shows. Do not act in an ignorant way like I did, you will regret it. I really have learned to not always accept what I am told since all this happened…you should hunt down the truth yourself. There tours need your support, we need to spread the word that video games are here to stay…they are art, they are something we deeply care about. We got to meet many others that have never even heard of the site, but were so open and friendly with us that it was amazing. We met fathers, mothers, kids, and people our age that love what we love, respect what we do, and got to learn about what makes them tick. Being with the people at this show was a great experience, it is such an easy way to find people with your interests, and share common bonds. We got to meet Chris from Joystiq, who knew of our site and appreciates the work we do. We got along extremely well, and he even offered us a place to shack up for the night if we needed. Lastly we got to meet Tommy, Jack and Becky. I can’t tell you how much meeting these people meant to me. Meeting people that are working to get something like this off the ground was a once in a lifetime experience. We of course talked business, but that wasn’t what it was all about. It was about forming bonds, having fun, learning about each other, and really getting to spend time with people the care about what you do. All three of them really appreciate what we are doing, as we appreciate their work. The validation from them and the fans that show people care about what you do is one of the best things I could have ever asked for. I really do hope we get to stay in touch, and thank you so much for taking time out of your day to be with us, explain things to us, and basically just treat us like equals. Myself, and the entire staff will never forget it. I strongly urge each and every one of you to go out and support VGL and shows like this. You will not regret it, and I promise that as long as you are open, you will come away with personal experiences that you will never forget, alongside seeing an amazing show in the start of a movement to get gaming, both the music and games themselves, accepted by the general public. This is how gaming can be furthered, and this is how gamers can spread the word.