I’m Making A Note Here: HUGE SUCCESS

These days, it’s sometimes hard to tell the difference between a score from a video game and one from a major motion picture. If someone is not told which one is from which and listen to a piece from each, unless that person is well versed in the movie and video game music worlds, they would be hard pressed to know the difference. This also shows how music has changed over time in the gaming world.

On Monday, my wife and I were able to go to a performance of Video Games Live. We had been to a performance once before at BlizzCon 2008 where they did a set of all Blizzard pieces, so knowing a little bit what to expect made us look forward to it greatly. This time we were treated to music from a wide variety of gaming, from Pong and the 8-bit era all the way to current titles.

For the week leading up to VGL I would randomly get the Zelda theme and the Dark World theme from A Link to the Past, as well as some of the Mario level themes. If you follow my Twitter feed or happen to be a friend on Facebook, you will have noticed many references about going to the performance. To say I was excited was a bit of an understatement, and I was not disappointed.

I am continually amazed by the quality of the music in the gaming industry. There are certain themes in movies or television shows that have become part of popular culture, like the Star Trek theme. Yet, there are songs like the Mario theme which are equally as part of our popular culture as anything else. In front of the right audience, people will recognize gaming music more than others.

There was a wide range of games represented through the evening. As I mentioned, it begun with Pong and a set with 8-bit and 16-bit games, and as I saw the videos of the games go by I couldn’t help but have fond memories of times gone by. StarFox, Zelda, Mario, F-Zero, Final Fight, among many others. From there, they did more specific themes from other game series like Castlevania, Street Fighter, Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross.

There were three things that I was wanting to see through the night: Warcraft (of course), Zelda, and Mario (specifically a certain piano piece from Super Mario World from the sky zones). Thankfully all were played, but unfortunately without Lament of the Highborne from Burning Crusade. All were played excellently, and it really gives a great sense of immersion in the games even though you’re just watching videos with an orchestra on stage.

If there was ever any doubt of how much of an impact a certain song can have on a game, a good example would be a certain song from Final Fantasy VII, “One Winged Angel“. As the song was announced, the entire auditorium burst into cheers and people sang along to the chants of “Sephiroth!”

My wife had mentioned to me that she was hoping to hear “Still Alive” from Portal, and if they hadn’t played it we were going to ask them at the meet and greet afterwards. Sure enough, for the finale we were treated to a sing-along version of the song. It was just the soloist singing and Tommy Tallarico on guitar, and it was awesome.

I give Mister Tallarico lots of credit for what he has done. Showcasing video game music is one of the best ideas to come up in a long time, as it is something that needs to be seen. People put their hearts into composing what some people take for granted as background music, and it’s great to see it out in front.

If you haven’t already, I would suggest that you play World of Warcraft with the music on and turn it up. It is excellent, and can be bought through iTunes. I would highly recommend it.

Embrace your geekiness

The Baby DoctorToday is one of the best days ever – it’s “Embrace Your Geekiness Day”.  Works for me!  I’m quite proud to call myself a geek, and also find it quite funny how the term has evolved over the years.

Growing up, and for quite the longest time, it was never a good thing to be a geek or nerd.  It was always the term said when those of lower intelligence decided to insult you without knowing what to say.

“Yeah, well… you’re a geek!”

At the time, it wasn’t much fun.  I have not met many people who actually enjoyed their time in junior high school.  When you’re trying to figure out what kind of person that you’re going to become, the last thing you want is people making fun of you.

Of course, I’ve definitely come to embrace the term.  Geeks and nerds rule the world!  Look at Bill Gates, arguably one of the biggest geeks out there.  Just try to make fun of him, and I’m sure you’ll get a good lesson on true success.  Take conventions like the San Diego Comic-Con which started out as a small little convention for people trading comics – it’s now one of the biggest conventions of any type in the world!  You have many celebrities going there to plug their films and try to sell you their stuff.  Why?  Because geeks and nerds are successful!

World of Warcraft has over 11.5 million subscribers.  They may not admit it, but everyone who plays WoW has a bit of geekiness inside them.  Many times the biggest grossing films are the ones based on comic books, anime series, science fiction or fantasy novels, you name it.  It’s big business.

I’m very fortunate to have married a woman who is similar to me in many aspects, geekiness being one of them.  Looking at her, you’d never realize it, but over the years I’ve gradually coaxed more and more out of her.  It’s very nice to be able to sit down and watch an episode of Doctor Who or Star Trek, and then discuss it afterwards.  Hopefully our son will embrace the geekiness as well (the picture above is not our son, but it sure would be cool if it was).

If you’re a geek, say it loud and say it proud!  Geeks rule!

World of Warcraft randomness

This is going to be kind of a buffet of random World of Warcraft things.

Firstly, my current state with WoW.  After The Spawn was born in July, my playtime was reduced greatly, as expected.  I went from raiding twice a week, with the occasional pick up raid or group at other times, to nothing at all.  No raids at all for around a month or so.  To put it bluntly, it sucked.  I never expected that I would consider myself a raider, but I turned into one.

After that first month or so of getting used to having a small little leech that is a constant attention grabber and needs you for everything, it got better.  My wife allowed me to raid once a week, which I’ve done for the most part for the past two-ish months now, with the expected times that things come up and I don’t.  All in all, it’s not too bad.  I’ve seen all of Ulduar (except downing Vezax, so I won’t get that achievement for a while) and all of ToC10 and 25, but nothing heroic.  I have one piece of T9, with a trophy in my inventory right now with enough badges to purchase a second one as soon as I decide which one to get.

All in all, I’d say I’m not doing too badly.  Obviously, I’d like to do more random groups and such, but oh well.  Hopefully I’ll be able to come 3.3.

Secondly, the current overall state of WoW.  Even though 3.3 is coming soon™-ish, I’m getting the vibe that people are really bored already.  Wrath has been out for just over a year now, and people are excited and waiting for Cataclysm – myself included.  Even though Icecrown is coming with the next patch (along with a bunch of other neat things), I’m wondering if it’ll be enough to keep people interested.  I hope so.

Thirdly, Cataclysm.  I’m really looking forward to it, mainly for the fact that I want to roll a Goblin Priest.  I don’t know why, it just looks like fun.  I’m very glad that Blizzard decided to completely revamp Azeroth, after showing off what they can do with Outland and Northrend for world design, the Old World lacks greatly in comparison.

The Warcraft novels that I’ve read were quite decent, and it laid some good groundwork for what’s going to happen with Deathwing.  He’s such a great character – and heck, he’s a dragon.  Dragons are awesome.  I wonder if Rhonin is going to make a cameo or take a main role in it… I already know that WoW.com will be in an uproar.  Personally, I don’t see the problem with him.  He’s like most main characters in books or films or anything, he’s the man, and he’ll save the day no matter what.

Lastly, the future of WoW.  Come Monday, November 23rd, WoW will have been released for five years.  I’ve been a subscriber all five of those years, and really can’t complain.  I’m curious to see what will eventually happen with it – will it continue up?  Will it branch out into WoW2, or something else like that?  Time will tell.

Star Trek Online comes out February 2nd.  I know there have been many games predicted to be “WoW-killers”, and I’m sure people will say the same about STO.  I don’t think it will, I think the only thing that will kill WoW will be whatever the “next-gen MMO” Blizzard is coming out with.  I bring up STO because I’m an avid Star Trek fan, and I’m really looking forward to trying it.

In the end, I’m a self-admitted Blizzard fanboy.  So far, whatever they’ve put out, I’ve bought and enjoyed tremendously, and I don’t expect that to change anytime soon.  World of Warcraft is an awesome game, and I look forward to seeing what will come next.