A Slightly Different Post About Music

Why, Hello There, Blog Readers! First of all, I know you’re all asking yourselves this question: “Who is this person who is not Fancy Cat, and why are they talking about music?” Well, I must tell you all that Fancy Cat is very sick with a bad cold. Snot running everywhere. I am his wife, Kitty Cat.

Anyways, Fancy Cat wanted to discuss with you all today is liking of video game music. Obviously, since he is currently all stuffed up (poor guy!), I shall be doing this instead.

Music of course, is one of the best ways to enhance or cause emotion. After all, horror movies would be pretty bland if they had no creepy music, right? Romantic movies would not result in tears if the violins weren’t playing away in the background. And action movies would be rather dry without tense, fact-paced themes laced with trumpet fanfare.

And just like in movies, music creates and enhances the atmosphere of video games as well. In particular, I wish to discuss the video game series The Legend of Zelda. In Fancy Cat and I’s personal opinions, the Legend of Zelda series has the best music ever created for video games. Obviously, that is an opinion, so it’s rather hard to discuss objectively.

Let’s discuss the music of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, the latest installment in the Zelda series. A large portion of the game’s soundtrack is orchestrated- in other words, the music is created with real instrments instead of MIDI instruments as most video games, especially older ones, use. Orchestrated music can create emotions of tenseness and romance that computer instrments simply can’t reproduce. As an example, here is “Lord Ghirahim” from The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (credit Youtube). For a bit of background, Ghirahim is the name a major villain in the video game. Obviously, since he is a villain, tenseness, uncertainty, and creepiness are all present.

Simply take a listen for yourself to hear all that. But obviously, the point of this post is to show how music aids the Legend of Zelda series. Here is a scene in which the above song plays (again credit Youtube):

As you can see with this gameplay video from GT, the scene is particularly effective at portraying Ghirahim’s creepy, quirky style partially because of the ambience of his theme song.

Another thing the Legend of Zelda series’s music is very effective at is romance, or music that feels “soft-hearted”. One of the most beautiful, heart-gripping themes every in the Legend of Zelda series is “Zelda’s Lullaby”, a tune any Zelda fan is instantly familiar with. Since my words will not do justice to describe the majesty and presence of Zelda’s Lullaby, here is the orchestrated Skyward Sword version (Youtube):

As with Ghirahim’s theme, the song is much more attractive in context. As one can assume from the romantice-yet-somber tone of the piece, Zelda’s Lullaby is often played during “sad” scenes in Legend of Zelda games. Because I showed you the Skyward Sword version of Zelda’s Lullaby, here is the scene to accompany it. If you’ve played the game before or are simply good at inferencing story lines, bring a box of tissues. Makes me cry everytime.

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A Deeper Look at an E-Rated Video Game – The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask

My last few blogs have been essentially rants about topics I despise.  Therefore, I decided that this particular blog shall be about something I enjoy.  Particularly, video games.  Even more particularly, The Legend of Zelda:  Majora’s Mask.  Despite being rated “E for everyone” by the ESRB, the game is the one of the most emotionally deep, emotionally dark, most tearjerking games I have ever had the honor of playing.  One of the themes that stands out most for me from Majora’s Mask is the concept of the five stages of grief, also known as the Kubler-Ross model.  Recently, I read a very comprehensive analysis online about how Majora’s Mask correlates so closely to this model.

In Rumphol-Jac‘s analysis, He describes the specific ways in which each of the five stages of grief are displayed throughout the video game.  For blogging purposes, I shall explain in my own words how Majora’s Mask is related to one of the stages of grief, denial.  For those wishing to know more about the correlation, please read Rumphol-Jac’s article.  It is a thought-provoking read, and I encourage anyone who is interested to take a ponder.

In the beginning of the game, Link, the protagonist, is looking for a lost friend.  Losing this friend is what has caused the grief for Link.  After several hours trudging through the forest, an imp-like creature attacks Link, and steals Link’s horse and Link’s ocarina (a musical instrument – let’s just say it was very precious to Link).  Link follows the imp-like creature, and, long-story-short, ends up in a parallel dimension.  In this parallel dimension, this imp-like creature, known as Skull Kid, has placed a curse upon the moon in the sky.  This moon will fall in three days’ time.  This is the main “problem” of the game; basically, Link’s ultimate goal is to stop the moon from falling.  But Skull Kid’s evil powers have extended far beyond just the moon; the entire earthly world itself has been thrown into chaos, especially those living in Clock Town.

The first stage of grief is denial.  The residents of Clock Town, the game’s central location, are in denial that the moon will fall and continue their daily business despite the looming danger overhead.  Rumphol-Jac uses this quote from the game to reflect upon the Clock Town residents’ grief state:

You cowards! Do you actually believe the moon will fall? The confused townsfolk simply caused a panic by believing this ridiculous, groundless theory. The soldiers couldn’t prevent the panic, but outside the town walls is where the danger is! You want answers? The answer is that the carnival should not be canceled!  If the soldiers wish to run, then run, Viscen! We councilmen will stick to tradition. This carnival will be a success! I’ve never heard of a defense unit abandoning its town!”

– Clock Town Mayor

Essentially, the Mayor’s speech is a long metaphor revealing his denial that the town is in any sort of peril.

 

Just one more thought on the subject: if one thinks about it, the name “Clock Town” itself it a reminder of the game’s main plot point:  no matter what you do, whevever you go in the video game, time is always ticking, and in three days, that moon shall “Consume…consume everything” (quote belongs to the Moon itself).

If you are an avid video gamer, I highly, highly, encourage you to play The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask.  Its mind-twisting, thought-provoking, emotionally-stirring plot will hook you; and like me, and many others (at least on the internet), you may just consider it the best video game ever.