Today is the first day of E3, the annual event where video game companies unveil their latest products. There's a lot of hype surrounding the three-day show, but, unfortunately most people won't be able to get inside the Los Angeles Convention Center to see it. However, there is one E3-related event that is open to the public. Video Games Live will take place on June 8 at Nokia Theatre. The interactive concert, which will also feature Guitar Hero and costume contests, brings your favorite video game themes into the concert hall setting.

Wednesday night's show will be a can't-miss event. It's marks the 200th Video Games Live performance and brings the group behind the concerts back to the city where the project began. Also, since it's E3, there will be some special guests on stage. Kinuyo Yamishita, the original Castlevania composer, has already been announced and will be playing organ during the Castlevania portion of the performance.

It takes a true gamer not only to put together such an event, but to take it on the road for six years straight. Tommy Tallarico, who founded the concert, is just such a person.

“My two greatest loves were video games and music,” says Tallarico, “but I never thought to put the two together.”

Tallarico was working at a store selling keyboards when he was offered a job to test video games. Eventually, he began working on video game music. He's worked on a large number of games, including Prince of Persia, Pac-Man World and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater. Lately, though, he's been devoted to bringing video game music to the masses.

“I've been a video game composer for over 21 years,” he says. “I wanted to kind of prove to the world how culturally significant video game music had become.”

He adds, “You don't have to be a hardcore gamer to enjoy the show.”

But Tallarico's goal isn't just to convert non-gamers to the music. He also hopes show that young people can “appreciate an orchestra or the symphony.”

His efforts seem to be working. Tallarico estimates that “40 to 50%” of the audience consists of video game fans.

“The other half are parents bringing the neighborhood kids, or grandparents.”

He adds that there are “just as many girls there as there are guys.”

“I think people have a misconception of gamers as 17-year-old boys sitting in a basement who have no lives.”

It's true. Video games have gone far beyond that cliche, if it were ever true in the first place.

“Video games are the entertainment choice of the 21st century,” says Tallarico. “This show is a celebration of that.”

LA Weekly