About two decades ago, Tommy Tallarico — who has since become a video-game music composer on titles such as Prince of Persia, Earthworm Jim and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater — had just driven cross-country from Massachusetts to California and was “homeless,” sleeping under a pier in Huntington Beach. He got a job selling keyboards at a musical instrument store, and on his first day — his second day on the West Coast — a producer involved with video games came in and noticed Tallarico’s T-shirt promoting the TurboGrafx-16, a video-game console released in the late 1980s. The producer offered Tallarico a job on the spot; Tallarico accepted and started composing video-game music.
“My two greatest loves were always music and video games,” the 39-year-old says. “I just never thought about putting the two together.”
He eventually met and hired Jack Wall, also a video-game composer, and the two wanted everyone, even “non-gamers,” to understand that their music wasn’t “a bunch of bleeps and bloops,” Tallarico says. “We thought, ‘We need to show the world how big video games have become.’”
They’ve done just that as co-creators of Video Games Live, which comes to the
Since then, it seems, the show has adopted a good marketing plan. Video Games Live has traveled to
Although the Louisville Orchestra, which Wall will conduct, is scheduled to perform songs from classics such as Super Mario Bros., The Leg/files/storyimages/of Zelda, Sonic the Hedgehog and even Pong, they’ll also play pieces from Halo 3, Final Fantasy and World of Warcraft. You may not be as familiar with these titles, but they’re often crowd favorites. “Everybody has the Mario melody ingrained in their brain,” Tallarico says, “but a lot of games are using live orchestras now. I’m not exaggerating when I say people cry during our shows. The music is emotional.”
And the musicians, Tallarico says, seem to enjoy it, too.
“When they get the music they’ll be like, ‘What the heck is The Leg/files/storyimages/of Zelda? This isn’t Stravinsky.’” That mindset changes by the time the show ends to exuberant applause. “Then (the musicians) ask, ‘When are you guys coming back?’” Tallarico says.
Video Games Live comes to the