Favorite

Symphonic “Guitar Hero” Rocks Gamers 

The Grateful Dead has legions of fans that follow the band from show to show. “Video Games Live” has Matt Campana.

When the Richmond Symphony performed “Video Games Live” at the Landmark Theater on April 25 — a traveling road show featuring a compendium of game theme music from “Super Mario Brothers” to “Halo” — it was the eighth time Campana had watched. He made the five-hour trek from Philadelphia, where he's an aspiring video-game-music composer studying at Drexel University.

“People think it's just bleeps and bloops,” he says, “but it's so much more than that.” Different characters have different motifs, he says, not unlike opera.

Campana volunteers to oversee the “Guitar Hero” competition held in the lobby for two hours before the show starts. The highest scorer able to play Aerosmith's “Rag Doll” gets to perform “Sweet Emotion” with the orchestra and chorus onstage in the second half of the show.

Campana marshals two dozen contenders through the competition while crowd members look on, some dressed as their favorite video-game characters. At least two sword-wielding Links from “The Legend of Zelda,” a pair of black trench-coated villains from “Kingdom Hearts II” and a red “Tetris” block attend.

Jonathan Weadon, a 30-year-old Internet technician for Cox Communications (in civilian clothes) tries his hand at the game.

“I talked to some musician friends,” he says. “They all say ‘Guitar Hero’ is significantly harder [than real instruments] because the same finger motion can make different sounds.” He doesn't win. “I've been playing too much ‘Rock Band,’” a similar game, he says. “It's got a very different feel. I'm very dissatisfied.”

Zach Powers, a 10-year-old from Short Pump with pixie ears and high cheekbones, chugs Mr. Pibb before taking a whack at “Rag Doll.” He doesn't make it very far, though he too floats the “Rock Band” defense and his affinity for Boston over Aerosmith.

Richmond's champ is Zach Fifield. He scores more than 254,000 points — more onstage points than in any of the previous shows.

“Pretty much the people that win tear it up,” Campana says, “because they play a lot, a lot, a lot.”

Favorite

Latest in News and Features

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Connect with Style Weekly

Newsletter Sign-Up

The Flash
The Bite
The Scoop

Most Popular Stories

  • Mayor Fires Chief Administrative Officer

    Mayor Fires Chief Administrative Officer

    Inspector general report finds issues with the hiring of family members at City Hall.
    • Sep 18, 2019
  • Finding Beulah

    Finding Beulah

    A bestselling novelist digs into a sensational local murder trial from 1911 and gives a voice to the 17-year-old victim lost in the middle.
    • Sep 17, 2019
  • Title X Crisis

    Title X Crisis

    A look into the federal grant program and what its new restrictions could mean for Virginia’s family planning services.
    • Sep 17, 2019
  • The Real Beulah Binford

    The Real Beulah Binford

    Dale Brumfield
    • Sep 17, 2019
  • More »

Copyright © 2019 Style Weekly
Richmond's alternative for news, arts, culture and opinion
All rights reserved
Powered by Foundation