Gaming and video games have become part of main stream pop culture, that is a fact. It’s not a past-time to enjoy sitting alone in your room, but a hobby that has become celebrated in the real world. It has injected itself in places we’d never expected, professional sports, well-attended cons, regular bits on TV shows, and culminating in the release of the turd-sandwich film known as Pixels. We have big-name artists sampling from games, and I was even interviewed for a piece in the Wall Street Journal! THE WALL STREET JOURNAL HAS A VIDEO GAME WRITER GUYS! We’re at the point where games and gamers have garnered respect from critics and non-fans. This all culminated for me when I recently experienced The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddess at the Strathmore Music Hall in Bethesda.
I attended the event with a friend of mine, though neither of us really knew what to expect. As someone who’s gone out of his way to be one of the “cool” kids in the past, I was treading outside my comfort zone. It took an hour to drive there (Traffic in DC is terrible, believe the stories). Once we arrived we realized we were engaging in part of something bigger than ourselves. Fans from every creed, color, and age. This is my first meaningful foray into what a gaming community in real life was like. Guys in suits bringing along their dates. Cosplay of all sorts. Everyone coming together not just for a common interest, but for a common passion! I gave my friend a promotional pin (from the Twilight Princess release, his favorite game) I bought for him, and mentioned that I’d purchased my own featuring Makar from Windwaker. We ended up not wearing them as they were a bit large and clunky.
We had a quick drink before finding our seats (We’re vodka guys if anyone cares). The set was wonderful, if not a bit short and some of the tunes weren’t always immediately familiar, especially some from handheld Zelda titles that I never had the chance to play. My friend’s favortive movement was Majora’s Mask. Mine was of course the Wind Waker Symphony. The maestra’s movements were perfect as she kept in time with the video of gameplay footage. The accompanying video really added to the event more than I expected, dusting off epic moments that had gotten buried in my mind. Every part of the orchestra was integral to the whole, and the wonderful conductor made sure to point out important players at the end of each piece.
During the intermission we headed out for another drink. I had pre-purchased ours so we wouldn’t have to stand in line. While we talked we looked around at everyone in costume and kids of all ages checking their 3DS streetpasses. We pulled out our own to do the same. I even had the opportunity to pull myself away from my drink to get a photo with the eponymous Zelda herself (or at least a cos-player in a very accurate rendition of her Twilight Princess gown).
The second half was as on point as the first, though we both agreed that the Skyward Sword movement wasn’t all that we’d have wanted. Skyward Sword has great music. Not the best *Cough Windwaker Cough*, butgreat , and it deserved a little more time than it was given. Again, the entire set seemed a bit short. Even with wonderful performances by the orchestra and conductor, I was left still hungry for more!
Putting that single issue aside, I’d definitely go back if I had the chance and I strongly recommend that if any of you get the chance to take it. The crowd wasn’t hectic, it didn’t feel under-attended, and there’s no way to beat involving yourself in the gaming community like this. It felt like a sort of cross-over/mash-up of culture: classical meets video games. I even got retweeted and followed by the conductor, making me feel like she truly respected the game culture she was involved in and audience she was performing for. At the end of the night my time experiencing this was wonderful. I had lovely company, a lovely time, and I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.
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JpSr388 is a casual(ish) gaymer, hardcore Nintendo fan, and aspiring designer & writer. He writes about what he cares about, and what is always good for some opinion. Find his sexy ass on Twitter here. Or keep on the lookout for more editorial and reviews here.