• Jeff Dean

Music that inspired me – part 2

In the last part, I discussed “Final Fantasy IV” and the impact it had on me. There were many games after it that did touch me almost as equally but not quite as effectively. Let’s fast forward to the year 2000, to the Sony PlayStation era of gaming. A particular RPG was released for this system that year that I didn’t recognize or hear of, yet it stood out from the rest. It wasn’t like me to randomly purchase a game without having rented it first. Somehow, between the stunning cover art, the blurb and the screenshots on the back of the case – these were enough to win me over and thus I spent the $80+ to procure a copy for myself. And I tell you – I was NOT disappointed. This game is called Valkyrie Profile.

In this game you play as a Valkyrie named Lenneth, who travels through Midgard, tasked with collecting the souls of slain heroes to serve either as einherjar or her personal companions for Ragnarok - the battle to decide the fate of all creation - and trains them by fighting monsters and performing additional quests. As she journeys, she learns more about her original human life, removed from her memory upon becoming a Valkyrie. It's a very convoluted story - I recommend Wikipedia for further insight:

The gameplay was damn near impossible but that didn’t matter for the story line and musical score greatly make up for it. So much so that you don’t mind bearing the difficulty of the game just to see the story progression. Actually…I never could get the hang of the game to advance far enough but thank goodness for Youtube (many years later) for having entire videos dedicated to the completion of this game.

If there is any one game I’ll gladly admit to shedding a tear to, it’s this Valkyrie Profile. Its primary focus is not just on Lenneth but the death of every single einherjar you inherit on your team. Before you can recruit them, you must witness their final moments of life – every single one of them having heart-breaking finales, making you contemplate your own fate. If that’s not sad enough, Lenneth’s backstory in itself is tragic – especially when it comes to the person she loves. Eventually she comes to her senses and has to face the consequences of her actions and all the emotions that come with it…I’ve never felt such agony before in my life. I won’t say much more without spoiling the story.

What makes this tale so much more effective is the music that goes along with it. As I said in previous blog posts, no movie or game can deliver proper sentiment without a good soundtrack. If you ever want to feel sad or just need a reason to cry, go to Youtube and look this game up - its outstanding score was composed by Motoi Sakuraba. Also, be sure to listen to the orchestrated version – it’s so much more powerful and emotional than the score taken directly from the game.

This RPG changed my perspective on life and enhanced my desire to create my own fictional world. It's the humanity - the way this game makes you reflect on your own life. How lucky we really have it compared to most others on this planet. Some people come and go with nothing...never knowing what it is to love or to be free. If I can write a novel that can move somebody’s heart like this game moved mine, then I’ve accomplished my goal.

How about you? Is there any particular game, song or character that moved you? If so, why?

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