Posts Tagged ‘Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre’

All our base are belong to VGL!

April 22, 2010

Also guest blogging at Backseat Radio:
1. Stereophonics live in Malaysia, Apr 28, AND Singapore, Apr 30
2. Peaches live in Singapore @ Apr 28, 2010
3. This is a story of a bunch of girls

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Event: Video Games Live
Date: April 17, 2010 (Saturday)
Venue: Plenary Hall, Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre

OK, before I get crucified here at my own blog, I have to admit I am not exactly a hardcore video games fan. My video gaming days dated back when computers were still Internet-less and my sister and I were taking turns to play games off the IBM 5¼ inch floppy disks (yes, I kid you not) when we were on home arrest for chicken pox, Dune II: The Building of a Dynasty and Warcraft: Orcs and Humans being my favourites then.

As well as when video game consoles were still using them ROM catridges, and my neighbours and I would trade them back and forth for new games – Super Mario Bros, Tetris, Excitebike (love this), Ice Climber, Donkey Kong, Space Invaders, Adventure Island, Street Fighter, Contra, Double Dragon, to name a few. After that, the rest of my knowledge on video games came solely from my guy friends, who actually play the games.

So, you have got to give me credit that I am not at a total loss when it comes to video games. I guess I would not mind getting in the whole video gaming thing, if I do not actually, well, suck at playing console games. I do. Ask my mom. Other than that, I can always pull the ‘I’m a girl’ card. Heh.

The geekdar is off the charts last Saturday over at KL Convention Centre. Not only was the weekend of the PIKOM PC Fair, Video Games Live was also happening on the same day. It was like saying: “Come buy some computers, and while you’re here, enjoy a concert dedicated to video games!” I am sure some tech geek out there was having a virtual orgasm that day. Heh.

There were two pre-show activities going on before the concert, one being the Guitar Hero challenge, and another, the Cosplay competition. I missed the Guitar Hero session, but managed to catch a few Cosplay characters wandering the foyer.

Here is Nemesis from Resident Evil.

Draco Malfoy and Harry Potter sharing a shot without going expelliarmus on each other.

Can he even see where he is going?

With the immensity of Video Games Live, I guess I expected more people to play dress up. I have seen a larger community of Cosplayers wandering around One Utama a while back, so I thought it would be massive that day. Alas.

Before the concert started, all Cosplayers were ushered up onstage. The one with the loudest applause from the crowd wins.

Cute. /girl

It was a close call between Nemesis and Master Chief. And Nemesis won in the end.

Under the conduction of Jack Hall, co-founder of Video Games Live, the National Symphony Orchestra kicked off Malaysia’s instalment with a medley of Classic Arcade:

Pong. The video game that started it all.

Space Invaders.

Tetris.

And others like Donkey Kong, Outrun, Contra and such.

Tommy Tallarico – who, by the way, is the cousin to Steven Tyler from Aerosmith – emerged after that, sporting his Spidey T-shirt and shoes, to give us a brief run through on what VGL was all about, dropping our infamous lah suffix here and there.

First up was music from Metal Gear Solid.

With some Cosplay going on, and Tallarico hiding in the box behind. Heh.

God of War.

With the bone chilling voice of Laura Intravia.

A member of the audience was invited onstage to play a little game of Space Invaders for 2 minutes. The winning prize was a Katana desktop video arcade machine.

The tricky part was that the player had to move left and right accordingly like the laser cannon on screen. He even had on a T-shirt with the laser cannon on the back. Heh.

Ralph Baer, creator of Pong and the Father of Video Games, also made an appearance that night. Live via Skype, apparently. I was skeptical at first if he was indeed talking to us live, but after getting confirmations from those who have gone to the evening show, it was just a recording. Unless Baer is really semangat, staying up late and all just to say hi to us.

Next up was Sonic the Hedgehog.

Intravia a.k.a Flute Link returned back onstage dressed as Link from The Legend of Zelda for a flute solo. Oh, to have half the talent as she does when I was in high school.

Then, the orchestra did The Legend of Zelda.

An interval.

I wonder what happens if the download fails. You know how slow and wonky our connection is here.

Kickstarting things again with a Disney medley of Kingdom Hearts.

And then. World of Warcraft.

Another special guest. Norihiko Hibino, music composer of Metal Gear Solid, performing Snake Eater.

The beloved Super Mario Bros.

Then, the winner from the Guitar Hero challenge earlier was invited onstage to strut his stuff.

He was to score 220,000 points on Hard, in order to win an autographed VGL poster, signed by Koji Kondo, music composer of The Legend of Zelda and Super Mario Bros. He got to play the soon-to-be-released Guitar Hero: Van Halen, rocking out to Jump, playing alongside Tallarico himself. Things got interesting when he decided to up the game, to play on Expert instead.

The kid didn’t win though. But he was only some 20,000 points behind, and he did get the poster after all.

Now, till this point, Tallarico was to me just someone with a great idea to revolutionise the worlds of video games and symphony orchestras. But still, I have definitely underestimated him when the concert continued with him at his electric guitar, going through themes from Mega Man, Halo and Halo 3.

Master Chief returned.

Absolutely loving Tallarico’s Spidey guitar as he rocked out to Final Fantasy VII‘s Advent: One-winged Angel.

For the encore, Castlevania.

And Chrono Trigger.

With Hall on his acoustic guitar.

It was definitely a one-of-a-kind experience, orchestral music that leaves your skin all pimply, mixed with a tinge of fun you get from the video game world.

It goes without saying that it is a must for video games enthusiasts to patronise the concert. Heck, everyone was having a ball spotting as many classic arcade games as they could, and cheering everytime the theme from their favourite game was played live.

But, I suppose, if you were only a fan of the music, you would enjoy yourself too. The hair on the back of my neck stood so often, I thought they were just going to fall off my skin.

Tallarico was quite a good sport too, dropping jokes and banters here and there, so he and his army definitely had the crowd going. Besides, it’s video games. Most of the job is already done for you already anyway. Heh.

But despite the goosebumps, I expected better performance from the National Symphony Orchestra. Quite often, I barely noticed the music was actually live. And I don’t suppose that’s a good thing. Perhaps the graphics backdrop kind of took half of our attention away. Or maybe, I should have stopped taking so many photos that day, and just sit down and thoroughly enjoyed the show. Meh.

But, all in all, the inner geek in me had a good time. She came out from the back of the closet and bathed in the sun of pure geekdom. They totally had me with the introductory poem: “Roses are #FF0000 / Violets are #0000FF / All your base are belong to us!” Good to see my graphic designing days finally paid off with such a cheap thrill. Heh.

I could not stop smiling to myself everytime something I recognise came on screen. Brought back a piece of childhood memory I have almost forgotten over time, but still intact – though vaguely – in my mind. Ah, the kind of smile you would have on your face when you recall those good ol’ games you used to spend time on.

My Saturday was definitely pwned by the people of Video Games Live.

Playing devil’s advocate with Mogwai.

January 22, 2009

Event: Mogwai concert
Date: January 21, 2009 (Wednesday)
Venue: Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, Malaysia

If music were a religion, and in Heaven exists a God as long as in Hell a Devil lives, and every sinner that dies walk through a Judgment Day before the Higher Beings decide, then it must be true that in this InBetween, it is a concert, a post rock concert. And Mogwai are the messengers of both bad and good news. And this concert is our sendoff.

Everyone were like doomed sinners standing outside the hall, watching our past lives flashing by in front of our eyes. As the doorbitches clasp the white cuffs around mywrist, it was impossible that I could feel any deader than I already am. (Don’t mind me, it has not been a good year thus far).

Even when someone tapped me on the shoulder and whispered, “Come. Follow me.” I followed aimlessly. Further away from the crowd to where his friends were. When he handed me a joint, I could only stare at it, say my prayers, and take a big suction.

Ah. The wonders of false hope.

The next thing I know, I was standing in the middle of the roaring crowd. Convicted ones swaying haphazardly with their plastic cups of sin, and snapping digital 3×5’s of this last moment in life. And inappropriate angels in green disguises roamed the jittery crowd, offering another sin to add to our list.

I looked up at the stage and there they were – Mogwai. They came with euphoric blue lights, pointing their guitars at us: “Sinners, be afraid. You shall be judged tonight.”

When the lights were soft and colourful, and the music was mellow and tragic in the opening of The Precipice and Scotland’s Shame, it was as if the Devil himself was making an appearance amongst us, brought forth to us by the band. The ghostly and incomprehensible vocals in Hunted by a Freak was like alluring caresses on my cheek and whispers of meaningless hallelujahs. I could only stare at the centre stage with my mouth agap and my mind literally stupefied. My body was too numb from all the sweet nothings to move.

A sense of liberation washed over me when the familiar chords of I Know You Are But What Am I? graced the stage. I could move again. But not on my own demand, but by the strings of the puppetmaster that is the Devil.

Coarsing through my mind were all the sad mistakes I have made in my life, and next to my ear he blew comfort. He said it was all good. What is life without a few joints, a couple of broken rules and promises, a bunch of lies, and a house full of skeletons.

If Hell is as good as it sounds, you said “take my hand and bring me there.”

Suddenly, He came. God. With the screeching lashes of Mogwai Fear Satan and the angered berates of Batcat. Gone were the solemn lights and it came bright white lights that would blind anyone who dared look up. I dared not look up. I could only lower my head and shut my eyes. Like a son cowering from his father’s heartless whips and shouts. He counted my sins and gave each of them an appropriate punishment.

The masterful percussion took over my heartbeat; giving it two pulses sometimes three whenever He likes, or just stopping it altogether just for fun. The screaming guitars tore at my skin and rattled the bones beneath it, as if shaking all the toxic out of me. The vices and lies and skeletons. I  could only shiver along with every beat and thump and shriek. The Devil gave the strings over to God and He was having the time of His life. We were His toys, happy to oblige because of Mogwai’s superiority on us.

Then, it ended. The lights went on irregardless of the crowd’s second bouts of encores. As if God and Devil had decided you know what, we shall give you another chance in living. Go. Be alive again.

As we shuffled out of the hall to have a cigarette out in the breezeless park, we were left with a constant ring in our ears and left with nothing more to say about Mogwai but how awesome they were. We could do nothing more but to laugh automatically at jokes, shake hands and hug people we met for the first time there, kiss our friends for being at the concert with us, and drove home with half a mind, went to bed half a person.

The morning after was awful. It was as if the second life was more of a mockery than a blessing. You feel more like a zombie than a second man. No music could suffice, and you dared not try to find something to fill the empty spaces in fear that the phantom sound left in your memory would just disappear. All you could hear is that persistent ringing in the ear, and your mind going in turbo speed, rambling on about the judgment God and Devil have laid on you the previous night. You have that and everything you thought you have left behind crowding your mind like a fucked up broken record. No food is good enough anymore. No sound is filling enough anymore. Even your cigarettes taste bland and you thought you caught a whiff of the splendour of the grass when you choke on the cigarette smoke.

You do not want to go to work, yet you worry if you are doing well enough at work. You want to stop thinking of the things that hurt you in life, but you cannot: why is it always a ruin to me? Why is my relationship falling apart? Why am I so sad all the time? Why, why, why and million more times why… You just want to hide in the toilet stall, crying tears of release. Please. Take me back to that stand still where the real world is left behind and Mogwai’s sendoff is all I will ever get. You bruise yourself a little in hopes it will go wrong and you can go back to the InBetween.

But you cannot. That was it. And here you are once again, trying to put all the pieces together, but never ever to find them all in one place.

Damn you, Mogwai. Damn the euphoria you brought along with your ascending melodies and reviving bright lights. Now, all I am left is everything without you. Or at least give me the hearing for my left ear back.

* Check out pictures of the concert here.