“The following is a contributor post by the Optimistically Sentimental Alabaster Mage.”
I’ve just put on The Banner Saga soundtrack from Austin Wintory, and my cat saunters up to the side of my desk chair, a pitiful “mweoRW” comes belting out of her. She wants attention of some kind, but I can’t decide if it’s simply because she wants me to pet her, if I’m blocking her entrance to the cubby underneath my desk—knowing that I would probably end up ruffling her fur with my toes if she snuck by—or if it’s the lutes and primal drums that she’s so emphatic about.
On my way home from work even, I put on the London Symphony Orchestra performing Nobuo Uematsu’s songs from the various Final Fantasies. I had my windows down, the volume was loud. I could feel the eyes of the other people stuck in traffic with me… Subconsciously I formed imaginary thought bubbles from their scowls;
..o00(What is he listening to?)
..o00(What IS that music? Is that classical??)
When I was in elementary school I had a friend who used to hook up his tape recorder to the TV, and he would spend time at night recording the music from Super Metroid, Chrono Trigger, Earthbound, and Robotrek. When we rode the bus to school in the morning, he’d find an inside seat next to a window and zone out during our hour-long ride. As much as I loved video games back then, even I thought it was a little weird, but only because I was pressured by some of the other kids in school, conditioned to think that it wasn’t normal for someone to enjoy video games to quite that extent. Yet, even today, over twenty years later, when I put on a soundtrack from any of the Final Fantasies of the SNES era through til the end of the PSX; I’m transported back to my childhood. It’s like the feeling you get when you take a bite into your mother’s cooking after a long time away from home. Or, the feeling you get if you pass an older person in the street, and their perfume or cologne hits the wind at just the right angle to catch your nose and remind you of a relative you haven’t seen in ages.
Stigmas are real, and more people probably won’t understand. But, I’m here to let you know that it’s okay to be weird and nerdy.
My wife was one of those drama nerds… I never got into myself, but she loves Broadway songs, and she feels the same way about me as I do with her when I sit down and listen to “Blue Fields” from Final Fantasy VIII on piano;
“The music from those games is so ridiculous!” She exclaims.
I know, “And so is ‘Take Me Or Leave Me’ from RENT!” I retort.
This week’s post is going to be a bit shorter than the previous contributions. I just felt like sharing some honest reflection. I am still working on my Linux Gaming Diary series, and I plan on talking about the realities versus the expectations. Honestly, though, I haven’t spent a whole lot of time with the new Steam Play feature. It’s definitely still in beta, and can be a bit disappointing as a turn-key feature at this point. Because of the disappointments, I’ve crawled back to the comforting nuanced nostalgia of Octopath Traveler, and I’ve mainly been playing that game solely for pleasure, to escape the realities of my nine-to-five and relax a bit after a hectic week at work… Not to mention we, here in the states and our neighbors up north, just celebrated Labor Day. My wife had to work and I didn’t have much to do, so I was actually able to just chill out on the couch all day and really dig into Octopath. It’s been a long time since I was able to sit down and devote HOURS to a JRPG, so I took advantage of the comfort food for my soul, and in a lot of respects, the time I spent was also good for my sanity. The game has reminded me a lot of what I’ve been missing from games in the past two console generations. But, that’s a rant for another time.
I’m looking forward to seeing the comments and reading about your favorite video game soundtracks. There’s something to be said for the professionalism of composers like Uematsu and Wintory. Even though their work is tied to commercial products that serve a different purpose than simply music for music’s sake, I don’t feel that their emotional expressions are any less muted in the notes they’ve written and put to the staves that have influenced our lives.
The Optimistically Sentimental Alabaster Mage is also known as Berkough, you can find his other musings about video games on the blog section of his user profile at SIFTD.net (http://siftd.net/#!/profile/berkough), or by following him on Twitter @berkough.
Did you enjoy this post? Consider becoming a Warrior of Light and join us in restoring integrity and quality to games writing. We specialize in long-form, analytical reviews and we aim to expand into a community of authors with paid contributors, a fairer and happier alternative to mainstream games writing! See our Patreon page for more info!