Posted June 13, 2016 by Joseph Rositano in Feature

Tripod: This Gaming Life Review

As part of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival, Tripod put on a single performance of This Gaming Life. Being played on June 11, it seemed poetic the show fell on the eve of E3 2016. Perhaps it’s a sign that the ASO (Adelaide Symphony Orchestra) is changing its attitude towards Pop Culture; this city seemingly doesn’t have quite the same enthusiasm as Sydney or Melbourne for such events. Even Tripod poked fun at ASO subscribers, saying they provided a full orchestra to appease traditionalists and “If it makes you feel better, pretend the show is in French!”. All the humour set up for what would be a great night.

The show opened with Tripod coming on stage and pretending to play an online shooter. Scod and Gatesy were first to appear and reenacted the usual chatter of organising yourself before assaulting the opposing team. But wait, where was Yon? He came out dressed in mock Oculus gear, and jokingly had to be assisted by conductor and composer Austin Wintory (Journey, Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate) to avoid tumbling off the stage. The orchestra’s notes intensified as the trio went in for the kill. Poor Yon wasn’t quite as skilled as the other two, being killed numerous times and getting ridiculed for his blunders. Even after two decades the chemistry between the trio was flawless and made for plenty of laughs.


With the stage set, the trio paid homage to gaming stereotypes and the industry’s relatively short history as a whole. Yon played a stereotypical gamer who is just into games with guns. Wintory got in on the act, asking if Yon had played Journey. “Nope, it doesn’t have guns” which followed with a song reflecting on the sheer enjoyment Yon got by shooting some schmuck in the head. Portal was even referenced, but once Yon found out the gun mechanic was used to solve puzzles he proclaimed it sounded boring!

One of the more clever songs was “Squares on a Screen” which harkened back to the days of the arcade. The orchestra would play dramatic notes while Tripod described these highly detailed characters and scenarios, but then a light-hearted melody reminded everyone that despite our imaginations these objects were just pixels. It’s one of those songs that makes you appreciate how far the industry has come, particularly when you consider the amount of lore some of the bigger games feature these days.


This Gaming Life also featured songs referencing Halo, Skyrim, WarCraft and Assassin’s Creed. Tripod are definitely masters of comedy, and I found myself humming several of the tunes on my way home that night. More importantly, as a gamer I was able to relate with many of the topics raised. The WarCraft song, for example, dealt with two friends who played the game together almost nightly. One of them had become a father and had to choose between being a parent or going on raids. This resonated with me as I have a close mate who I don’t often play games with anymore, purely because our lives have headed in different directions over the years.

How could I not mention Wintory conducting the Journey suite? There’s always something special about hearing something performed live, but Tripod wasn’t going to let the moment stay serious for too long. Gatesy and Scod comedically dressed in cloaks and reenacted the first time you come into contact with another player. There was the more adventurous spirit who kept running around the stage, and then there was the reserved spirit who occasionally jumped in one spot. After working out how to communicate with each other, the pair started jumping continuously with joy. At that moment Yon burst in wielding toy guns and wearing a soldier’s outfit. Gatesy and Scod stormed off unimpressed, much to the delight of the audience who clearly loved the running gag.

Tripod’s This Gaming Life is comical genius that will appeal to gamers and Tripod fans alike. If you get a chance to see the show in the future then you will not be disappointed. Traditional orchestra followers however, be warned that this isn’t your typical concert. It’s full of stand up comedy, crude comments and general silliness. If you can’t handle that, give your seat to someone who’s a gamer.

Joseph Rositano

While Joseph's main hobby has always centered around video games, he's also taken an interest in movies, musicals and traveling around the world. No one quite knows what Joseph's true motivations are, but rest assured he is always planning his next grand adventure!

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