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Arts & Culture

Video Games Live Rocks San Diego

Hearing the three rows of the chorale sing what I've heard during so many late nights on Civilization IV , or listening to the symphony rock out "One Winged Angel" from Final Fantasy VII , I realized how far games have come since I was a kid.

But the show is for gamers, and made by gamers, so it felt more like a rock concert than an evening at the symphony. & Video from the games played on screen, Tommy Tallarico strutted around like he was in a big hair band, and characters from the games would occasionally wander onto the stage, a cardboard box sneaking around a guard being my favorite among them. & During a particularly dramatic pause in the Warcraft section of the show, someone yelled "For the Horde!!!" & And the rabid followers of Master Chief scowled when they heard " Halo sucks!" rise out from the masses. &

Before the show, they held a Guitar Hero competition outside the gates. & The winner, who flew in from Boston, came up on stage to play "Sweet Emotion" from Guitar Hero Aerosmith. & Sure, it's not really a video game song, but, what it lacks in video game cred, it makes up for in awesome - have you ever seen "Sweet Emotion" with a full chorale and symphony and fronted by a dude with a plastic guitar? & They challenged him to get 200,000 points on hard, offering a laptop if he won. & He demanded they up the difficulty level to Expert. & While they were searching through menus to switch the difficulty, I thought, "He'd better pull this off, or he'll look mighty dumb." & He did -- and mightily so, surpassing the required score only 3/4 of the way through the song. & I probably witnessed the loudest cheer ever for a plastic guitar.