• Jeff Dean

Music that inspires me - part 5

As this is the final part of music that inspired me, it was difficult for me to choose just one last game. There were so many inspirational video game soundtracks that I listened to while growing up. Problem is, a lot of the games only had a few songs that I thoroughly enjoyed whereas the previously mentioned games in parts 1-4 I enjoyed nearly every song.

So, for this final part, I’m going to choose two more games, both created by Square Enix (yet again). This time it’s “Xenogears” composed by Yasunori Mitsuda and “Final Fantasy VII” composed by the great Nobuo Uematsu.

Both of these games had such unforgettable tracks. It’s too bad that the overall quality to Final Fantasy VII seemed a bit…umm…washed out? I mean, it sounded so midi like and computerized – in other words, it sounded dated, even for its time. Had the music been more authentic and orchestrated (which it should have been for a CD media game) it would have been so much more effective. I say this because I know the poor sound quality of this game is not due to the limitations of the console that it was released on. Xenogears, also released on the same console, was so significantly superior in quality. Anyway, quality aside, the actual musical compositions from the game are outstanding. Everything from the background music while roaming the world map to the boss battles.

Xenogears is the more heartfelt and dramatic of the two. The story is so intense that the game’s replay value suffers. This is not a game you can easily jump back into after having played it once. It’s mentally exhausting for both good and bad reasons. There is SO much dialogue and so much emotion that you can’t bear to put yourself through it again. The music though really increases the effectiveness of it all.

My favorite tracks from Xenogears are “Ship of Regret and Sleep”, “The Wounded shall Advance into the Night”, “Flight” and “Grahf Emperor of Darkness”. You got a mix here of power, loss, and fear. Each has its own impact and really helps with generating the right mindset or mood when I need specific scenes written.

Final Fantasy VII got to me more than Xenogears did, but I will admit the storyline to Final Fantasy VII is a tad…confusing. I had to play it at least 10 times over before I understood what the hell was going on and even then, as it stands today, I still don’t fully get it. You’ll have to play it for yourself to see where I’m coming from. It’s still an amazing game with plenty of challenge and heartfelt moments.

Before I mention my favorite Final Fantasy VII songs, if you go to look these up on Youtube, make sure to look up the “orchestrated” versions. They’re significantly better than the original PS1 version. My favorite tracks from this game are “Aerith’s Theme”, “One Winged Angel”, “Cloud's Theme / Main Theme” and “Oppressed People”. The last one being a quirky song that really stuck with me over the years for some reason lol. Aerith’s theme just breaks my heart…if you haven’t played the game then I can’t say why but use your imagination. 😉

Having said all that, I hope you enjoyed my five-part series of inspirational music. Though I don’t play video games much anymore, I still manage to stumble across an epic score here and there. Music really does make all the difference for my imagination and creativity. I hope one day you can see the end result of it all whenever I get around to completing my Tagenji books.

Please do share with me whatever songs or scores you enjoy. It doesn’t have to be video game based either, just whatever motivates you or boosts your spirits.

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