Just like all the popular movies these days, this blog series has its own after credits scene. Rather than setting up the next film, though, this post is meant to highlight a few albums and items that didn’t fit in well with the more cue-focused posts that made up this series, along with offering some final thoughts and links for more readings.
I did a lot of listening in preparation of this series. I wanted to get a feel for the breadth of Final Fantasy VI musical arrangements that are currently available. While this niche fan genre has quickly become more main stream, especially as professional orchestras are trying new ways to draw in diverse audiences, I obviously pulled on a small number of albums in this blog series. Continue reading “The Music of Final Fantasy VI – Coda: Partings”→
Kefka is defeated. The tower begins to crumble around your party. But the player’s part in the game is over and there is nothing to do but set aside your controller and enjoy the game’s twenty-plus minute ending sequence.
While I don’t have the frame of reference to compare Final Fantasy VI’s ending to other video games (I have beat shockingly few games), I can say that it has always struck me for its length and depth. It starts by taking the player through short vignettes that help up wrap up every playable character’s story line as they escape the final dungeon, and it does so while the soundtrack plays each character’s theme for a final time. It is like a last good bye to old friends. Continue reading “The Music of Final Fantasy VI – Act V: Many Endings”→
Part of what makes Kefka such a great antagonist is that he doesn’t actually start out as the main villain. Initially he is the evil second in command of the empire, but is secondary to the actual Emperor. He is the Vader to Gestahl’s Palpatine. However, all that changes when Kefka steals the power of the espers, becomes a god-like being and essentially brings about the apocalypse. It is the amazing mid-game shift where not only do you have a completely new world map to navigate, but the villain actually wins. Continue reading “The Music of Final Fantasy VI – Act IV: “Dancing Mad” and the Insanity of Kefka”→
“Oh my hero, so far away now.
Will I ever see your smile?
Love goes away, like night into day.
It’s just a fading dream.”
That is how Celes’ famous aria, the “Aria di Mezzo Carattere,” begins in Ted Woolsey’s translation for the original American version of Final Fantasy VI. And it will always be how I remember the lyrics.
It is hard to overestimate just how powerful this scene was for me as a fourteen-year-old music nerd. I had been playing musical instruments since I was in either Kindergarten or first grade (hard to remember exactly when I started), and by the time FFVI rolled around I had already learned piano, clarinet, and bassoon. I listened to classical music because I honestly loved it, and had been in love with film music for as long as I could remember. Continue reading “The Music of Final Fantasy VI – Act III: Maria and Draco”→
As soon as you insert the Final Fantasy VI cartridge and turn on the Super Nintendo, you immediately see that this game is different. While many games with have some logos and then give you an option screen, FFVI instead blasts you with dramatic organ chords as the game logo comes on screen, the letters are colored with fire set against a stormy sky. From there, there are some narrative screens giving the background of the world, followed by the game’s first scene. After that you have something that is rarely seen in video games: opening credits. But these credits also play over the journey of the three characters just introduced to the city of Narshe, where the game proper begins. All of this plays BEFORE the player see the actual first option screen (new game, save game, etc). You are plunged into the game world first, and if the player doesn’t press a button, in theory this sequence could play on an infinite loop. Continue reading “The Music of Final Fantasy VI – Act II: The Opening Sequence”→
There are a few recurring things that appear in (almost) every Final Fantasy game: chocobos, some character named Cid (usually a non-playable character), and Nobuo Uematsu’s “Prelude” theme. In some ways, these, and a few other, elements are the only thing that tie the series together—at least until SquareEnix decided to start doing spin-offs and entire “series” based upon games in the core series. The Final Fantasy series isn’t an on-going story, rather it is an anthology series, and as such features more thematic ties than on-going character stories. Continue reading “The Music of Final Fantasy VI – Act I: The Importance of Music in FFVI”→
I first heard about Final Fantasy VI (or III was it was called back then, and for the sake of my sanity, I will just call it VI in this post and the ones that follow) in an issue of Nintendo Power. I’m not sure of the date, but it was probably back in 1994, when the game was first released. I, of course, was already aware of the series, but was by no means a die-hard player. I had already played the first two Final Fantasy Legend games for Game Boy when they were released (though never actually beat them) along with Final Fantasy Adventure (which I did beat), and I remember having played the original game on NES before I sold the system to buy a Super Nintendo. However, my RPG roots actually lie in a different franchise. Dragon Warrior (or as it is now known in US by its original Japanese name: Dragon Quest). Continue reading “The Music of Final Fantasy VI: Prelude – A Brief History of Me and Final Fantasy”→