There still exists an older generation who view video games as being the domain of kids or young people. While at the dawn of gaming this may have been the case, the kids who fed their coins into the Pac-Man arcade machine eventually grew up, but their passion for gaming never subsided. Cashed-up middle-aged men, like the three members of Tripod, are one of the largest gaming demographics.
As a result, the gaming industry now has budgets that dwarf even Hollywood. They can now afford to advertise on billboards and buses, and can pay to have epic symphonic soundtracks written by acclaimed conductors. For this reason, Tripod’s collaboration with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and Grammy-nominated composer Austin Wintory on a spectacle about gaming makes perfect sense; as they said, gaming is perhaps the newest art form.
Much of Tripod’s success has come because each of the three members has a unique and humorous character, yet despite their differences, they come together harmoniously to create something bigger and better than the simple sum of their parts. Since they are unique individuals, they are also unique gamers. Yon likes anything with guns and exploding heads; Gatesy is an old-school aficionado; Scott is a World of Warcraft addict. Their conflicting gaming ideologies is a foundation stone of the 90-minute narrative, as is their decades long friendship.
It must be said that die-hard gamers will appreciate the show more than those whose hands have never graced a d-pad; ‘Halo: The Musical’ is much funnier if you have played ‘Halo’. Skilfully, though, their dialogue between songs was crafted so as to bridge the gap between gamer and newbie. Most impressive, though, was their ability to bring tender and heartfelt moments, as they demonstrated the void that gaming filled in their lives. Gatesy used gaming to connect with his partner while she was abroad, Scott used it to make sense of a chaotic world; and Yon? Well he just likes guns.
Having now produced a successful show with a symphony orchestra, what is next? Maybe a Tim Minchin-style move to fully fledged musicals? May I suggest, 'Golden Eye: The Musical'?