The remnants of an old video game music website, Blipico

Blipico was a website where I used to post interviews, concert reviews, and other articles related to video game music.

But new winds blow now, and I have my own company called VGM Land through which I produce my own game music concerts. So Blipico will fade out, and it won’t loop again.

The only remnants left of Blipico are the concert reviews below. I transfered all other articles (mostly interviews) from Blipico to the VGM Land Blog, but I haven’t found a place for these reviews, so for the time being they are here.

I’m not sure how long I will keep this site up. I spent hundreds of hours on these reviews and a part of me doesn’t want to let go, but on the other hand, does anyone really care about reviews of past game music concerts? Especially obscure ones in Japan that probably will never happen again?

This is why I seldom write concert reviews anymore. I do it from time to time on sites like VGMO or OSV, but otherwise I like to focus on evergreen articles, or more importantly, on my core business — producing VGM concerts myself ;)

Old concert reviews

Rating Concert Date Country City
79 Seiken Densetsu LIVE 2016.1.30 Japan Tokyo
Kenji Ito and 11 other musicians performed music from Seiken Densetsu aka Final Fantasy Adventure aka Mystic Quest. Music was awesome, but too there was too much talk.
75 Final Fantasy X Concert by Meteor Symphonic Orchestra 2015.12.27 Japan Tokorozawa
A full amateur orchestra and choir, the Meteor Symphonic Orchestra, performed a Final Fantasy X-only concert. Atmospheric tracks with choir and hand percussions sounded great, but faster boss pieces not.
80 Lapis Dream Orchestra’s 5th Regular Concert 2015.12.13 Japan Kobe
This amateur orchestra played music from Final Fantasy V, Zelda: A Link to the Past, Eternal Sonata, ActRaiser and more. 41 tracks in total!
84 Chrono Trigger 20th Anniversary Concert by New Japan BGM Philharmonic 2015.11.29 Japan Tokyo
A 14-musician classical ensemble performed music from Chrono Trigger only!
90 Xenogears Concert by Id Strings Ensemble 2015.11.29 Japan Tokyo
“Liebe und Wiedergeburt” was a three-hour Xenogears concert by 37 string players and one pianist. I was in tears five times and I loved it.
78 Yasunori Mitsuda À La Carte Concert by New Japan BGM Philharmonic 2015.11.28 Japan Tokyo
A 12-musician classical ensemble performed music from five games, one anime, and one TV special – all composed by Yasunori Mitsuda.
75 Legendary Music Festival: The Feast of Heroes by JAGMO 2015.10.25 Japan Tokyo
Japan Game Music Orchestra (JAGMO) is perhaps the world’s only full professional VGM orchestra. The concert was impressive at first, but ultimately felt unpolished.
91 Cosmosky Orchestra 10th Annivesary Revival Concert 2015.10.12 Japan Tokyo
A full orchestra, two choirs, three opera singers, and the highest production levels of any concert I’ve ever been to. It’s amazing what amateurs can do.
98 Bravely Default Concert by Norende Philharmonic Orchestra 2015.10.11 Japan Tokorozawa
A full amateur orchestra and choir, the Norende Philharmonic Orchestra, performed the 3rd best VGM show I’ve ever been to — a Bravely Default only concert!
75 SEGA – Game Symphony Japan 14th Concert 2015.10.10 Japan Tokyo
Game Symphony Japan’s SEGA-only concert was 1/3 Sonic, 1/3 energetic and vocal pieces, and 1/3 NiGHTS; with orchestra, choir, rock band, Jun Senoue on guitar and Takenobu Mitsuyoshi on vocals.
95 Final Symphony II 2015.9.12 UK London
I have included a summary of the pre-concert talk, the concert program with a detailed tracklist and my review of the amazing symphonic interpretations of FF 5, 8, 9 and 13.
70 The Super Sound of Videogames 2 2015.9.4 Finland Tampere
Brass group Quinsonitus and Takomo Percussion joined forces to plough through fan requests of video game music tunes. In total 30 tracks from 27 years.
82 Final Symphony II 2015.8.29 Germany Bonn
Music from Final Fantasy V, VIII, IX and XIII. I was in shock and tears from the FF IX piano concerto. With arrangements like this, I hope the Final Symphony series never ends.
70 Game On 2015.8.14 Finland Lahti
The Conscript Band of the Finnish Defence Forces marched onto the battle stage with video game music! Super Mario World and Katamary in a big band way, yes!
70 Zelda Symphony 2015.4.16 Sweden Stockholm
The arrangements were mostly simple and straightforward, with more emphasis on an impressive Hollywood sound and less on emotions and variety.
55 PRESS START Symphony of Games 2015.4.11 France Paris
It baffles me how a professional VGM concert can go so wrong. It was started by game industry legends, is sponsored by Famitsu, but ended up disappointing.
70 Videogame Blast 2015.3.14 Finland Helsinki
A brass ensemble, a percussionist and a pianist performed music from old computer games and a few modern games. Powerful brass on Turrican II, gorgeous piano solo for Great Giana Sisters and fantastic soloing through International Karate.
60 Video Games Live 2014.11.6 Finland Helsinki
The setlist was impressive, Tallarico had great energy, but the sound was bad and the music enjoyable, but often lacking something compared to the original.
99 Final Symphony 2014.9.12 Finland Tampere
My 5th time to attend this FF 6/7/10 concert. It was absolutely incredible. The more times I hear it, the more I understand it.
60 Pelin Henki 2014.8.22 Finland Helsinki
Music from Finnish games only. Mostly mobile games: Tiny Thief, Angry Birds Space, Supernauts, Clash of Clans. But also Alan Wake. There were two classical pieces too. They were boring and out of place. But game arrangements were very video gamey and fun. The concert was clearly aimed towards young kids.
93 Symphonic Legends (Zelda) 2014.7.13 UK London
Skyward Sword, Wind Waker, Gerudo Valley and the 44-minute Symphonic Poem, which was a new improved version compared to the the Symphonic Legends Nintendo concert back in Germany. I loved all the arrangements and it was truly impossible to pick a favorite. You’ve never heard Zelda like this!
90 Final Fantasy 7 – Game Symphony Japan 1st Concert 2014.6.21 Japan Tokyo
As far as a I know, and as far as the organizers of this concert know, this was the first FF 7 concert in the world. It was outstanding, with 2+ hours of music (Final Symphony has maybe 1 h 35 mins?). The arrangements were straghtforward, but fantastic, with some really innovative choices, like Golden Saucer on pipe organ.
90 Final Symphony 2014.6.18 Sweden Stockholm
90 Final Symphony 2014.5.9 Denmark Aarhus
68 Score 2014.3.22 Finland Turku
Joystick concerts outside of Malmö are called Score. Same producers, same arrangements. This was the first full orchestral concert in Finland. And it was pretty good.
35 Joystick 5.0 2013.5.31 Sweden Malmö
Only very modern games, except for a C64 medley. And that was the only great piece.
97 Final Symphony 2013.5.30 UK London
London Symphony Orchestra. This was the first time a top world orchestra performed video game music. That’s a huge step for VGM being acknowleged as serious art in the classical music world. And the concert was leaps and bounds better than the Wuppertal one.
80 Final Symphony 2013.5.11 Germany Wuppertal
Final Fantasy 6, 7 and 10. This felt revolutionary once again. The arrangements were really ambitious, diverse and emotionally explosive. But they followed the traditional classical symphony form (possible wrong terms, I’m not an expert).
64 The Super Sound of Video Games 2013.4.16 Finland Raisio
Amateur brass ensemble, choir and a pianist. They played music from old C64 games and new games too. It was fun.
90 MAGFest 11 2013.1.3 USA National Harbor
Music and Gaming Festival. Dozens of VGM cover bands, DJs and chiptune artists. Yuzo Koshiro performed a great DJ set!
85 East Meets West 2012.11.16 Germany Cologne
Star Fox, EverQuest II, James Bond 007: Blood Stone, Journey, Final Fantasy, Xenogears, Unlimited Saga, Gothic 3, Zelda Twilight Princess, Turrican II, The Great Giana Sisters.
93 Moment Game Session Vol.1 ~CHRONO TRIGGER on Classic~ 2012.9.1 Japan Tokyo
Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross! Three string players and a pianist. The second half featured Tomohiko Kira, the guitarist from CC. He played “Radical Dreamers ~Unstealable Jewel~” on the guitar and sang it an octave lower in his beautiful male voice. And he had sleigh bells around his ankle, which he used for a background bell beat. It was very intimate, with only ~50 people in the small cosy bar.
80 Blind Spot 2012.8.18 Japan Kobe
New group of old members from S.S.T. Band (SEGA’s house band).
85 Final Fantasy 5 Concert by Littlejack Orchestra 2012.8.12 Japan Yokohama
Mostly Final Fantasy 5, but also some other FF games.
80 Game Sound Impact 2012.8.4 Japan Narita
A two-day festival featuring DJs (both composers themselves and others too) and game companies’ house bands.
70 Dragon Quest 7 Concert 2012.7.29 Japan Kyoto
There have been DQ concerts in Japan since 1987. The composer, Koichi Sugiyama, conducts them himself. Including this concert, even though he was already 81 years old.
80 Lapis Dream Orchestra – 2nd Regular Concert 2012.6.23 Japan Osaka
Amateur orchestra that only plays VGM. Some pieces had small ensembles, some used the full orchestra. ICO, Chrono Trigger and Cross, SaGa Frontier 2, Dark Chroncle, Tactics Ogre, Final Fantasy 5 and 6, Rule of Rose, Shadow of the Colossus, ActRaiser, Romancing SaGa 3, Castlevania
65 Distant Worlds 2 2011.11.5 UK London
90 Symphonic Odysseys 2011.7.9 Germany Cologne
Music by Nobuo Uematsu only. Final Fantasy 1–6, King’s Knight, Chrono Trigger, FF Legend, FF 10, The Last Story, FF 14, Blue Dragon, Lost Odyssey. Uematsu gave totally free hands to the arrangers and basically said, “Suprise me!”
92 LEGENDS 2011.6.11 Sweden Stockholm
Partly the same as Symphonic Legends in Germany. But only three arrangers this time and new arrangements of F-Zero, Metroid and Kirby. It was absolutely amazing.
65 Video Games Live 2010.12.30 USA New Jersey
VGL is very main stream rock show with a backing orchestra. A lot of stuff comes from backing tracks, like additional ethnic drums and Tallarico’s guitar playing. But it looks and sounds good.
85 Benyamin Nuss plays Uematsu 2010.10.14 Germany Munich
This was a fantastic piano solo concert. There’s a CD of the same name, but the pieces sound A LOT better live. Benyamin Nuss pours himself fully into his performances and it you can really feel it, when you see him live.
70 Symphonic Legends (Nintendo) 2010.9.23 Germany Cologne
Music from Nintendo games. Star Fox, Mario, F-Zero, Metroid, Donkey Kong Country, Pikmin, Zelda. There was a bunch of arrangers and the result is quite mixed.
62 Distant Worlds 2 2010.6.12 Sweden Stockholm
Your basic Final Fantasy concert. Good music, but nothing innovative (and not every concert has to be).
70 Castlevania – The Concert 2010.2.19 Sweden Stockholm
The only Castlevania concert that I know of. It was pretty good, but the performers made some mistakes or sounded off at times, including Michiru Yamane, who attended the concert and performed a bit. The organizer, David Westerlund, has been promising a tour for a long time now. I really hope that will happen!
80 Symphonic Fantasies 2009.9.12 Germany Cologne
Music from Square-Enix games. Kingdom Hearts, Secret of Mana, Chrono Trigger/Cross, Final Fantasy. This was a big deal and received a lot of praise. And the arrangements were revolutionary. Before this, concerts had mostly straightforward orchestrations of the original pieces. But Symphonic Fantasies had four long pieces that were more than simple medleys. The reason I only gave it a score of 80 is because I didn’t know the music from KH, SoM and CC. I’m sure I’d give it a higher score, if I would have the chance to see it again.
100 Final Fantasy 6 Concert by Littlejack Orchestra 2009.8.23 Japan Yokohama
My first VGM concert (and my first classical concert!) with some of the best music in this world! I had goosebumps ALL THE WAY THROUGH. It’s impossible to describe what a fantastic experience this was and how lucky I was to be able to attend. Others praised this concert highly too. For example, they performed Dancing Mad and the 21-minute Ending Theme in their entirety.