The Effect of Video Game Music

Hi Hi folks!

As I sit lay here, legs and feet propped against the wall making my body appear in the shape of an L (great way to keep your legs elevated) reading a book, listening to music, I’m moved to tears. I feel so silly as I start to type this now, as the tears roll down my cheeks but I just felt like I had to write it down. The book I’m reading is at a point of climax, the characters are at a tragic impasse; harsh words have been said, some have behaved violently to others because of unrestrained emotions, one’s life is on the line, the characters are all broken mentally in some way because of another and I yearn for them to amend the rifts that have torn them apart. Yet it’s not the book that brings about tears, it’s the music.

I’ve listened to it so many times and yet there’s always a moment of uncontrollable nostalgia, sadness, longing, yet I’m then filled with a rush of memories that make me so happy, giddy, and fulfilled. As much as I love movies, books, and comics, I feel like video games give me so much more, especially upon their completion.  I do have favorite books but then others I’ve just completely forgotten. It’s often the same with movies. Some movies I can’t even go back and watch again even though I may have loved them at one point. Sometimes I’m even more satisfied listening to the soundtrack than re-watching it. With video games I still feel like there’s something more. Even after you’ve beaten it and I feel like the soundtracks to the games play a huge part. Even if I haven’t played a game for years, the soundtrack will bring about what I was doing at that time, even how I felt comes through with the music. Often I’ll be slightly annoyed at the music that occurred during areas of difficulty yet be left with the satisfaction that I have overcome whatever the struggle was. Sometimes I can’t tell if I listen to music while I read to help keep me within the world of the book, or the music helps bring more life to the book. I often will listen to certain music based on the genre of book I’m reading, and often I find that soundtracks from video games aptly fit certain books. I also don’t only listen to music when I read either, it’s not as though the books aren’t engaging enough to keep me fully vested in them but there are times when I use the music to drawn out the noises around me so that I can fully give myself to the book. Does that sound weird? I’ve never actually spoken to anybody about how they really “feel” when they read, watch or listen to something, but often I feel like I want to fully immerse myself in whatever it is. I want to be a part of that world (/sigh sorry little mermaid drop right there aye?) for as long as the movie, book, walk in the park, train ride, video game etc. last.

When listening to the music I yearn for a controller, yearn to affect the outcome of what’s happening the game, feeling the tenseness of my body, racked with anticipation, sometimes terror and dread. I’ve been playing video games for as long as I can remember and I hope to be playing them until I take my last breath. My favorite game series is the Legend of Zelda and my favorite game is The Ocarina of Time. Having experience the history of the series from child to an adult it has remained some of my most valued experiences in life, weird right? Why should a game matter so much that I feel like it’s attributed to the person I am today. Can a game really affect you in such a way, I have always argued against games causing violent natures in people but I also feel like some of the experiences I’ve had in video games have stayed with me over the years. As much as I love The Legend of Zelda there’s one game I think sometimes gnaws at me to be place as first in my heart… and that game is Kingdom Hearts. I’ve often had sort of an elitist attitude about playing games for as long as I have, I felt like it made me special in a way and that many people have not had the experiences I’ve had through video games; they can’t fathom the attachment to such silly children’s’ things. When I played Kingdom Hearts for the first time, I felt like it completed something in me. It was the perfect merger of my love for everything Disney and love of the Final Fantasy series but not only that but a mash up of American and Japanese views in gaming. Especially since today people are trying to draw such a distinct lines between Japanese RPGs and American made ones, like one has to be better than the other…they’re still fundamentally RPGs…

Back to the soundtrack at hand. Every time I hear the Kingdom Hearts soundtrack I’m overwhelmed with emotion and I often can’t fight off tears whose origin I know not, but it pains me to listen to it sometimes. Maybe it’s that the game has not been truly completed. I’m left pondering what is really going to happen to Sora, Kiari and Riku. The music of Kingdom hearts is at times very quirky and light hearted but then it’ll fall to gut retching melodies. As much as I enjoy it, it makes me desperately sad and I can’t explain why. I can’t tell if this music would move any that have yet to play the game? From the first time first time I turned on the game and heard the slightly whispered voice of Sora (Haley Joel Osmond) with the creeping bass followed by Utada’s sensual vocals…I was hooked. Kingdom Hearts is one of the first (if not the first) games that I’ve had other friends tell me caused them to cry. Sometimes I wonder why the music of such a classic game like the Legend of Zelda Ocarina of time hasn’t brought about this emotional response in me? Especially as much as I love the game, it is truly one of my favorite games of all time. Though OoT is my favorite game, the Kingdom Hearts (and Kingdom Hearts 2) soundtrack will always be my favorite…

Do you have a video game soundtrack that holds an emotional hold on you? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear about it!


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