You Know When: Music

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Have you ever been playing a game (and I am sure you have) and you get to the end boss battle/stage and you hear that music going, that bass or treble of the waves hitting your ears.  You crank up the volume, hoping not to disturb your parents due to the fact that you are up at 1:00 in the morning still playing this game. I love that moment.

I will say that the moment in question is hard to come by in most games. I can say most games due to experience (lack of outside interaction) with them. Every genre of game is different (obviously) but I have never really felt that musical rush when it comes to FPSs or platform games with the exception of Super Mario Galaxy, but that’s Nintendo. I have found this phenomenon quite often with RPG’s. I am referring to the old school RPG’s like Final Fantasy IX.

People may disagree with me (please do) but that game will always hold a place in my heart with the second to last boss battle music. What is weird about it is that it the type of RPG where your set of characters are just standing there. It can be hard to get pumped up about bludgeoning the huge monster of the evening when you main character is just standing there waiting for you to input a command. But the point is not with the movement of the character; it’s the music moving you. It’s about the music putting you in that mood where you feel like you are actually in front of the cat/succubus/headless figure or whatever you are fighting. You cringe when you character gets hits and has only pixels of his/her health left.

I reference FFIX because of the second to last fight versus Trance Kuja. Kuja was a villain that made me question sexuality and gender (His, not mine) along with Quina but he/she is another subject entirely. After the constant annoyances and the standard “WHY WON’T YOU DIE?!” screams at the TV, I was happy to see him. His boss battle music only heightened the bar on the I-want-you-to-die scale. It was wonderful to hear the timpani and violins while I am beating the crap out of him and I was only sad to see him die (or just explode and kill my whole party) because the music would end.

I want to know where this has gone with the current gaming market. Where the heck did it go? Yeah, you have some outliers like Ni No Kuni that actually made me cry (not the dying mother part, the music part) but games should have some high standard of music quality. Coming from an audiophile, take that with the biggest grain of salt your hands can muster but you know it’s true. It’s kind of hard to get in the mood (head out of the gutter, please) with music in a FPS when the music is typically drowned out with the sound of whatever gun you’re firing. I am not saying that games without a good soundtrack suck. I am saying that there has been a decline in the musical quality of games and this is a problem (one of many) with some of the games out now.

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