Music makes the game

by Tom Moore

One day, while I was playing Final Fantasy VIII, I put the controller down and opened my ears. I was right in the middle of defeating the final form of Ultimecia until I heard this beautiful piano solo come in with synthesized voice (which actuall sounded good!). That's when I stopped. My mouth was half opened while I kept listening. The heroic drumrolls. The heathan guitar solos. The spine-tingling piano. I thought to myself, this is how video game music is supposed to sound like. Then the game over music came on and I realized she just killed me. But that didn't bother me, I just realized how important video game music was for me.

Throughout the whole body of FF8, I took the music for granted. I kept on telling myself that it wasn't nearly as good as previous masterpieces such as Chrono Trigger and FF6, but I was wrong. The music in the game was great because it set the mood. It may have not been as creative as some past games, but it certainly get the mood across.

Above all, a game has to have emotion in it's music. If it doesn't have any sort of emotion, it sounds dead, even if it does have it's impressive non-MIDI scores. That is what struck me when I heard the last Ultimecia theme. This score seemed to say, "We will triumph over all difficulties, with friendship and love" when it goes into the noble trumpet and synthesizer part, but then backs down and says, "but the future may not be what we think, but we will still try". This happens when the piano takes the music away (my favorite part). This song is so drenched with emotion, that you almost feel like you are actually with Squall and whoever in the battle. All games should be like this.

I'm not saying that I like all the music in FF8, because I don't (namely the boring town music). I am just using the eighth Final Fantasy as a comparison in what music should be. It should be the most sought after aspect in which to make a game great. You don't need to have flashy graphics or terrific gameplay in order to have a great game. But in my opinion, you definitely need great music.

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