What's it about?
The 64th annual Video Games are here again. 12 Video Game Characters. 100 Sadistic Audience Members to decide their fates. 3 Equally Sadistic Game Masters. Only 1 Character can emerge from the bloodshed as Player One.
What'd I experience?
The Video Games; or, An Actual Live Fanfiction Off-Broadway; or, How To Make Roughly 100 Complete and Total Strangers Hate One Another in 90 Minutes is a show presented at The Elektra Theater. I'm familiar enough with the Elektra Theater to know that the elaborate and decorative entrance on 8th Avenue is not the actual entrance, rather it is the small door around the corner on 43rd.
I was worried about seeing this show. Part of me was expecting it to be this cringe-worthy, with shoehorned references to gaming culture and a sheer lack of understanding about the characters they were going to be portraying. Honestly, the thing that kept me hopeful was the show's promotional art, the Mario Kart™ Blue Shell, set ablaze, screaming towards the ground.
I bought a poster of that art after the show and it's proudly among the rest of my posters now, set between my Call of Cthulhu piece and Spider-Man Noir.
It was this piece of art that kept my heart thriving (seriously, it's such a great piece). That worry disappeared as soon as a man approached the couple sitting beside me in the lobby. Blue make up had been added to his cheeks to give the appearance of a robot, he was dressed in a beautiful blue suit, and a blue bicycle helmet. He proudly announced, "Hi! I'm Mega Man, what game are you from?"
Other characters filtered into the lobby, trying to make a connection with the individual audience members. There were Two Commander Shepards (Mass Effect), Mario, Peach, an very Russian Samus Aran (Metroid), a hardcore fratboy Link (Legend of Zelda), a perfectly costumed Lara Croft (Tomb Raider), and a Pikachu.
Just before the show opened, Donkey Kong came over to me and started conversation, in your stereotypical caveman dialect. I was wearing a Daryl Dixon Walking Dead shirt. Just before he went away, he leaned in and said "Shirt scary. Like dead... walk." and then he was off to be in the show.
My seats had me at the most left portion of the theater, at a vague angle of the stage. The very Russian Samus saw me sit down and informed me I had "Da best seat in house." I was excited, I was ready for anything.
Mega Man seemingly materialized near me after that. My last meaningful conversation before watching The Video Games was a conversation with his Mega Man, who was an innocent cupcake who did nothing wrong. I convinced Mega Man that I was a character from the XBOX One port of the XBOX 360 version of the board game Life. He understood my plight, explaining that he once showed up in Marvel vs. Capcom 3 because he needed the paycheck too. He made me pinky swear that I would vote for him to win, and God Damnit I took that promise to his grave.
When the show started, all the characters rushed to my section of seats. They sat all around me. The very Russian Samus was actually blocking my view, but the Dudebro Master Chief called out "Down in front," to her before I even got a word in.
As Mario and Esteemed Queen Zelda announced the games, all the characters were whispering to me directly, calling the other characters losers, and trying to get me to vote for them. Little did they know my heart was spoken for another ;-;7. The characters were summoned up to the stage and the show began proper.
The next 90 minutes were filled with screaming. Sometimes, it was the audience demanding their voices be heard during various voting portions (where the audience was was given the power to decide who died during certain fights).
For my contribution, I spent the entire show shouting during the fights and shouting louder than the rest of the audience. Usually it was things like:
FUCK HIM UP
OBJECTION! I DIDN'T VOTE FOR THIS!
Or, whenever Mega Man was doing anything at all:
YOU CAN DO IT!
I TRUST YOU
MEGA BUST HIS HEAD
I'M PROUD OF YOU, SON
In the end Pikachu won. I shouted wildly at anyone who thought voting Pikachu was justified, they shouted back.
By the time the show as done, all I wanted to know was: why isn't there more interactive theater? Why does it seem like this is a kind of show that only comes around once in a while? Broadway Theatre, goddamnit, give me more shows I can interact with!
Want to see it?
$19.50 tickets (thru TDF Membership)
@ Elektra Theater
thru Dec. 12
What'd you experience?
Let us know in the comments below...