Musical soundtracks and songs come hand in hand with an awesome video game. One key element for a video game to be called a classic is having a classic soundtrack as well. It’s rare to find that’s been considered a game classic without hearing any of the BGMs playing in your head. In fact a good game is oftentimes easily recognized just by playing the background music. That’s why video gamer music has reached to a point where game developers would even hire a full orchestra just to create their themes (I’m looking at you Monster Hunter).

And as a gamer, I’ve always wanted to experience hearing an orchestra play any of my favorite music tracks live. But mostly, these opportunities are only open to those who lived in certain countries, like Japan. So for the longest time I can only just see this online.

However, it seems like the Manila Symphony Orchestra decided to bring this kind of experience to their patrons through the The Video Game Symphonic: MSO Rush Hour Concert at the Ayala Museum, held last may 9, 2019.

Rush Hour Concert: Video Game Symphonic

Video Game Symphonic LIVEwith the Manila Symphony Orchestra

Posted by Ayala Museum on Thursday, 9 May 2019

It was a first for the MSO to perform such a program and as expected, hearing all these game songs live, played by an orchestra really brought tears to me, yes I am willing to admit that I taeered up a lot here.

Here’s the full play list that was played that day:

  • Proof of a Hero from Monster HunterMasato Koda/Arrangement: Jacob Zeleny
  • Super Mario Bros MedleyKoji Kondo/Arrangement: Nic Raine
  • To Zanarkand from Final Fantasy X – Nobuo Uematsu/Arrangement: Andres Soto
  • Tifa’s Theme from Final Fantasy VIINobuo Uematsu/Arrangement: Jeffrey Solares
  • O Fortuna – Carl Orff
  • Symphony no. 7 excerpt (as perfrmed in “Nodame Cantabile“) – Beethoven
  • Pokemon Medley – Juichi Masuda/Arrangement: Andres Soto
  • Angry Birds Theme – Ari Pulkkine
  • Freehold Battle Music from The World of Warcraft – Russel Brower
  • Grand Theft AutoMichael Hunter, Craig Conner, Michael Woodrow Jackson
  • Theme from The AvengersAlan Silvestri/Arrangement: Matthew Beadsworth

While it wasn’t a full-on Gaming themed music set piece, what’s beautiful is that during the concert, we were also treated to a few classical pieces that’s been used by game and pop culture media a lot. Inserting the classics like O Fortuna and Symphony no. 7 to the set list was a nice touch by Jeffrey Solares, the conductor and annotator of the concert. I actually loved the tidbits of trivia peppered in between tracks just like that the french horn is used for battle.

This is a great example of using video games (or in this case, video game music) be used as a learning tool to introduce people to classical music.

Overall the experience was spectacular. Hearing the games I fell in love with and their songs/music being played by an orchestra is one of those dreams I never thought will be realized locally. But here we are. However though, I would have to say that on their succeeding concerts they would have a better choice of songs on their list. The excitement petered off with the succeeding choice of music. I personally would’ve wanted to hear more of the classic Legend of Zelda songs instead of a medley of the less famous titles. Or that they should’ve had the GTA songs either in the middle of the set list rather than on the latter part because it could’ve served as a great palate cleanser to the more emotionally heavy scores in the earlier parts of the set list.

With that said, I thoroughly enjoyed the Video Symphonic concert. And it seems like, I’m not the only one who did. We were informed that it was a first for the MSO and to experience a sold out concert in a span of four days. That’s right, once people heard about the concert, they just immediately lined up. In fact, we were also told, that people still bought tickets even if the concert was  standing room only.

It’d be amiss if I write this experience without mentioning the one who made it all happen. It’ll be this guy:

DIO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes his actual nickname is Dio, but he’s Diomedes Saraza Jr. the concertmaster, and the one who played the violin solo for Tifa’s Theme. He was the one who lobbied to have a video game themed concert. Sir, thank you for making this happen.

While there are still a lot of improvements that can be done for this concert, like a better set of visuals for the songs, or the use of a diff. transition image where instead of we’ll be seeing a Game Over screen at the end of each song, maybe we could’ve seen a Level Up! Screen just to have a sense of continuity in the concert.

If you happened to miss the first concert, it seems that MSO will be having another concert happening this coming Sunday, May 26. We were informed through the fanpage that the concert will include changes to the set list instead of just sticking with the songs previously played. And it’s pretty interesting what changes will be done this time around, and hopefully, you would catch it with us on the day itself.

You can head here to check out the event page for the next concert. And hopefully we get more of this kinds of concerts in the future.