Friday, August 3, 2012

Legond of Zelda Symphony of the Goddesses

Last Thursday I had the pleasure of going to Wolf Trap to see music from the Legend of Zelda performed by The National Symphony Orchestra.  Which was put on to mark the 25th anniversary of the first Zelda release.

The crowd was larger than the ones they normally have at Wolf Trap according to the person who gave the opening speech thing. It was a wonderful experience to enjoy something in a large group of people who are all there to experience and enjoy the same thing. Half the crowd was in Link cosplay or wearing Zelda themed apparel. I wish I had gotten some pictures of the people. The music was amazing not only was there the main symphony but also balled and other small pieces chosen for there importance to the games even if they did not fit into the narrative of the symphony itself. Music has always been a significant part of any video game but was integral to the plot of several of the Zelda games and so I am sure it was not an easy task to try to honor the 25 years of the games and the music they created in one evening. It was clearly made by fan and for fans. The music was accompanied by images and game play footage on a huge screen that appropriately complimented the music that was being played. It was even conducted with a replica of the baton from the Windwaker game.

We had lawn seats and so we were sitting in this large collection of groups. People were talking to each other about the games, the music, their other hobbies. One question or topic that was frequently asked that stuck me and got me thinking was "when did you start playing the Zelda games?" and it was not so much the question but the way it was asked that struck me. It reminded me of another question you sometimes here. "Where were you on September 11th?"

While the tragedy of September 11th creates what physiologists call "Flashbulb memories"which is a little different than a video game experience the meaning behind the question was similar. You see everyone had a story about the games, how it effected them, impacted there lives and friendships, how it was part of there childhood. It was in many ways the same sort of shared but individual experience that unified this group of people. We had all been Link, we saved Zelda, defeated Ganondorf, we learned the music. We did this as individuals but it was a shared experience that helped to shape who we grew into in even a small way.

My brother explored this concept in a painting. Its called Memories 64. It looks at a few popular Nintendo 64 titles not just Zelda but it blends the imagery of these games that thousands of people spent hours playing. On their own or with a few friends but everyone who played it shared in that experience and made those memories not identical but very close. 

It was interesting to see how those shared memories united a huge crowd of strangers who came out to sit in the summer heat and listen to a symphony written to honor a video game.

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