rePLAY: Symphony of Heroes features an orchestra interpreting an unusual (but increasing popular) genre: video game music. Between a great previous experience with Video Games Live and a nice Groupon offer, we could not miss it when it came to Toronto.
The concert is divided in 18 “chapters” of a classic quest story, each one opening with a quick narration and consisting of an engaging interpretation of one or more songs from a franchise/games that, in the director’s view, matches that point of the saga.
The screen behind the performers complemented the experience by alternating between videoclip-style depictions of the game (in sync with the musical excecution) and close shots of each of them - the later being a godsend for those at the back seats.
Execution by itself provided a great experience, but the relationship of the listener with the games arguably plays a role. In that sense, I’ve noticed two factors in the selection that may be positive or negative, according to one’s personal gaming experience:
The absolute majority of the games were medieval magic quest/battle titles. I’d expect the theme to ressonate with fair share of those, but expected a bit more of exploration of other genres. Seriously, if one played a drinking game of “having one shot for each dragon on the screen”, they’d surely pass out before the intermission.
A strong bias towards Sony was present. Save for a notable exception (Halo), PS3 availabilty/exclusivity was a sort of prerequisite. The screen showed infrequent bits from other platforms, and the theatre muzak was NES-based - but that was it. It becomes nearly surreal when you consider where I watched the performance…
If the lack of variation in themes/ecosystems does not bother you, rePLAY is a remarkable experience, which you can still attend in several places around the world. Otherwise, a more diverse program (like the aforementioned VGL) may suit you better.