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8-bit memories on Sunday help Chicago Loot Drop help kids

8-bit memories on Sunday help Chicago Loot Drop help kids

Chicago Loot Drop benefits Child's Play on Sunday at Reggie's

Chicago Loot Drop benefits Child's Play on Sunday at Reggie's

Too early from holiday decorations? The time is always to right to help the kids and the Chicago Loot Drop and have a ton of old-school fun, in the vein of Excitebike, Gyromite and Metroid.

You can do all that at 7 p.m. on Sunday at Reggie’s Rock Club. I know. Not in Lincoln Park, but it wouldn’t hurt venturing out of the neighborhood for a good cause.

Loot Drop benefits Child’s Play, a charity that gives video games, toys and books to a network of 70 hospitals across the country. Loot Drop is representing patients at Comer Children’s Hospital at the University of Chicago. The guys behind the online comic strip Penny Arcade helped get the charity started. Learn about Child’s Play and donate here.

For $15 you’ll get a chance to play in a Rock Band 3 competition and win prizes on Reggie’s stage. Then hide your Biebers to hear Minibosses play their first Chicago show in six years. Get tickets here.

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Maybe you haven’t heard of them, but Minibosses have been around for years. They combine outrageous guitar heroics with a love of 8-bit Nintendo games. They cover some of the most popular video game theme songs, translating them from simple electronic beeps to face-melting power chords. Keep your surround sound and your Halo. Only 8-bit NES songs here.

The themes from Mega Man, Castlevania. Zelda & Super Mario Bros. sequels are all part of their arsenal. You’ve heard these songs before, and you love them.

I had a chance to email with Minbosses guitarist Aaron Burke and asked him a few questions. Squeal if you can stand the nostalgia.

Q: Why get involved with Loot Drop, how did this happen?

Well, we’re pretty involved with Child’s Play and the Penny Arcade crew in general, Child’s Play being such an amazing charity.  We had never heard of Loot Drop, honestly, but being asked to play it, we did some research and it just seems like the perfect event for us. We’re really looking forward to it, should be a blast, and when it benefits Child’s Play you can’t really go wrong.

Q: What’s a crowd for a Minibosses’ show like? Do kids “get it,” I mean, there’s some people calling for video games to even eliminate boss battles. What do you think about that?

It depends on the show, but most crowds nowadays “get it.” Back when we started, i think it was still really, really new, so sometimes there’d be more than a few confused expressions. These days the most confused looks we’ll get are from people who are there to see other bands, they want to know if we’re a prog rock band or a metal band or what’s going on. Most folks are pretty receptive when they find out it’s Nintendo music though. Not all, but most.

As for people calling for an end to boss battles, that’s absolutely ridiculous. Boss battles are the cornerstones of the games I grew up on and love. Sure, not every game has to have them, but they’ll never be eliminated. Who the Hell is calling for an end to boss battles? (Note: This guy from Kotaku wants to end bosses.)

Q: What’s your favorite song to perform, and why?

Personally my favorite song is Kid Icarus. It was Mega Man 2 but this new Kid Icarus medley we have, which is about 12-minutes long or so, is just the bee’s knees. It’s very fun to play, musically, and it’s just an epic, epic medley.

Q: Film scorer Hans Zimmer composes video game music. What does Minibosses think of composers doing games?

It’s a natural progression. As we all know, video games are a huge industry now, bigger than ever, and also more respected now than ever. That’s come from both progression of technology and the rise of geek or nerd culture –when I was growing up, it wasn’t the slightest bit “in” to be a nerd or geek.  Now, you can kind of get away with it. It’s not as cool as brodawgs yet, but it’s getting there. So of course, yeah, I think it’s pretty natural for composers and other ‘”serious” musicians to start looking at video games.

Q: What’s the most-requested game cover?

At a show I think Excitebike, Rygar or Batman is called out the most. As far as songs that we don’t do (yet), probably, Battletoads.

Q: How long does it take to transpose a song? Take us a little bit through what it takes to chose a song and then translate it.

With modern tech it’s pretty painless and quick. We pick a song, then we each learn our individual parts.  If there isn’t a percussion part, Matt (Woods, the drummer) will write one or we’ll suggest parts.  When we’re all finished with our individual learning, we’ll meet together and work it out until it’s tight. If it’s part of a medley, usually we will get all the pieces tight first, then figure out how to join them.

Q: What theme does Minibosses refuse to play?

If anything, Super Mario Bros 1. It isn’t bad music, it’s great, it’s just a little overplayed for us.

Q What’s your favorite old-school game and what’s your favorite game of the current generation?

Hmm, old-school games? Nintendo? probably Mega Man 2 or The Legend of Zelda, maybe Metroid. Super Nintendo? probably A Link to the Past or Final Fantasy VI Nintendo 64? Probably Starfox 64 or Ocarina of Time, maybe Super Mario 64. Playstation? Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Final Fantasy VII and VIII. Current generation? So, so many, where to begin?  Bioshock, Fallout 3, Dead space 1 and 2, Borderlands, so much good stuff right now. It’s a great time to be a gamer. If I had done this interview tomorrow, I could add Skyrim to the list, but as it stands, I’m waiting for midnight to arrive so I can grab my copy :)

This is a RedEye community blog. The views and opinions expressed in this post are solely those of the author and not those of RedEye or Tribune Company.

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