What is Marioke?
Marioke is a night of karaoke classics rewritten to be about videogames. Perhaps that sounds like a joke and that’s how it began — a one-off show at Nottingham GameCity in 2011 — but now it’s a cult event with a monthly residency at the Loading Bar in London and an international army of boisterous, vocal fans. And when they’re not entertaining the capital, the One Life Left team take Marioke around the world, performing their ever-growing roster of songs with audience members at studios, conferences and parties.
Sure, but what does that actually mean?
If you’ve never been to Marioke just imagine it as a karaoke night in an alternate universe; one where popular culture is entirely defined by games. The rules for each evening are simple, just like karaoke: sing your heart out, whether you can sing or not, and support the people on stage like they’re rock stars. Attendees pick a song from the songlist and sign up with the team at the front. When their names are called they come on stage with the Marioke team ready to back them up, and four minutes later they leave as heroes.
While there are in-jokes aplenty (“Hello” is about Halo, “Purple Rain” about Heavy Rain and “Common People” is a song about a PC gamer who wants to live life like Console People), the lyrics are broad enough to ensure you don’t need to be obsessed with videogames to enjoy Marioke. “I’m a Believer” is about Windows mainstay Minesweeper; “Take On Me” recalls platform classic Donkey Kong. Videogames are for everyone now and so, it turns out, are stupid songs and stupid jokes.
So: 250 all-new, sing-a-long classics and a night in a private, irony-free universe where we’re all superstars and everything is amazing. If you haven’t joined the Marioke army yet, maybe it’s time?