Tripod’s This Gaming Life

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I am not a gamer, by any stretch of the imagination. I’ve never even played Mario Kart. So I was a tad skeptical when I was invited to attend Hamer Hall to see Tripod explore their obsession with the gaming culture for This Gaming Life. I was, however, intrigued by the partnership with The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and the inclusion of the musical arrangement by Austin Wintory, BAFTA winning and Grammy nominated video game composer. The opportunity to see something so unique was exciting, but my nerves about not being able to understand the content slightly overshadowed the event.

I was fantastically, wonderfully, overwhelmingly surprised.

Tripod are comedy royalty. Scod, Gatesy and Yon have developed an exceptional blend of musical improvisation, parody and satire in a career which has successfully spanned over 15 years. Their talent is not limited to their comedy; they’re extremely handy with an instrument.

They credit ‘truth, confidence and strong material’ as the key to engaging with their audience, which they have certainly nailed with this theatrical combination of comedy and symphony. In a show about ‘obsession, passion and hobby based relationships’, with the origins of an opera about Dungeons & Dragons, we’re taken on a journey through the witty little worlds of each of the particular interests of the trio; Yon’s fixation on guns in gaming, Gatesy’s how to of girlfriend replicating in Skyrim and the impact of World Of Warcraft to Scod’s sanity.

Yes, gaming is the core of the content here, but Scod states that the ‘real meat’ of the show is in understanding the impact on friendships and relationships. ‘It’s a shared interest with other people. The vast majority of my friendships have been activity based, or hooked around shared interest. Music is one of those passions, of course, but gaming by far has facilitated the majority of my friendships.’

They credit Austin as ‘so much a part of the fabric of the show’ that they considered him the ‘fourth pod’; ‘it would seem like only half a show without him’, states Scod. Working with Austin and the MSO has introduced them to a new kind of culture – to understanding the pulse (beat) of the orchestra, the flexibility of classical musicians and composers, and the fluidity in tempo of this kind of music. ‘So much has been surprising, certainly brain-stretchingly new.’

There were far too many moments of the show to credit, but absolutely everything was surpassed as the final number was presented to Tripod as a ‘gift’ from Wintory; a high definition version of Tripod’s digital, single beat theme song ‘Good Friends Killing Each Other’. Tripod have kept This Gaming Life season extremely limited, allowing for only two shows, but you can rest  assured that the gaming, comedy and musical worlds have been stunned for the better as a result of this fantastic comedic opera.

Images courtesy of Tim O’Connor

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