Guest post | My Picks for Nostalgia Instilling Gaming Music.

Tuesday 14 March 2017

My earliest memory of games was at the very young age of 2 I would play Sonic on our Sega Saturn every day and without fail at the end of Green Hill Zone, I would always end up running down the stairs crying because Dr. Robotnik (or Eggman...whatever you wanna call him) scared the absolute crap out of me. Ever since then, games have always been a major part of my life with me even considering a career in gaming, utilizing my creative skills in character design or music. 

Over the years, I had periods of time where games have had to take a back seat due to various reasons but they were always something I came back to. I have surprisingly been able to find the most time now, despite being a mother, having a job and a blog to run, to play games. Whether I play them by myself or play online with my partner or friends, I just seem to manage the find the time a lot more recently despite being at my busiest! With the recent remakes and remasters being announced for release in the near future, it makes me look back at a lot of the games of my childhood (particularly preteen/early teen) that had such a big impact on me and I either would love to see re-released or simply just want to pick up and play again. I find myself sitting listening to the soundtracks of so many of these games, reliving walking through these worlds that I lost so much time to in my childhood. My daughter loves watching me play games and I can't wait for her to be old enough to enjoy some of these games, either in their original or remastered/made form. Some pieces of music bring me back to these worlds more than others and I am going to share some of these with you.

I'll warn you first I don't particularly have the most conventional taste in games (or music for that matter) so there may be some here you don't overly recognise but hey, music and games bring on different feelings for different people! 

Traverse Town - Kingdom Hearts

Bow down to the queen of video game music, Yoko Shimomura. This woman has created such beautiful works of music for the Kingdom Hearts series that simply bring a massive wave of nostalgia back to me (thank god for the remasters so I can relive them all over again). The Kingdom Hearts series is a collaboration between Square Enix (Squaresoft at the time) and Disney, hosting a selection of Final Fantasy and Disney characters alongside original characters in both Disney and new worlds. I have fond memories of playing this at my friend's house (I didn't have a PS2 at the time) and he had rented the game out a million times from Blockbuster and we would both just sit and play this game and spend all the time we could in Traverse Town simply because of the music. It's absolutely gorgeous, lively and is definitely something that will put you in a good mood listening to it.

Bonus: Dearly Beloved - The simple piano theme for the series. Minimalistic and beautiful. 

In Search of a New Haven - Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles

Being one of the first Final Fantasy games I ever played, this game has a special place in my heart (and I wish they would release it on PS4 as it would be SO much easier to take part in the multiplayer they intended for it without having to buy x amount of GBAs to be able to do so). This game had some of the most gorgeous graphics I've seen on a Gamecube game (even playing it now thanks to an emulator I feel like these graphics aren't too dated) and a lot of the music resonates well with me. But for some reason, this melancholy piece seems to do it the most for it. I just adore the combination of the various percussion (particularly the marimba creating the raindrop sound) and the string instruments. 

Patrako/Patoraco's Theme - Puchi Carat

Remember when I said I don't particularly have the most convenient taste in games? This is probably one of those games. Puchi Carat (I called it Punchi Carat for so many years) comes from the creators of Puzzle Bobble and is another breakout clone game. I used to have a fascination with crystals when I was younger so each character being named after one made this game all the more interesting for me. The game featured an unlockable character Patrako (who actually came from another Taito game) and she ended up being my favourite character with a theme to match. This always makes me think of the days that I used to spend at my best friend's house playing against each other (and me ultimately owning him) and the many many fan arts I did of Patrako as a child. This game ended up being one of my earlier cases of being competitive when it comes to gaming and my first incident of playing a game that had Japanese voices (and a questionable English translation).

Frozen Altars - Spyro 3/Year of the Dragon

Okay, it was really hard for me to pick from any of the Spyro games which music made me feel super nostalgic, but for some reason, it is always this one! I love the 3 original Spyro games and I played through them like no one's business making sure I collected every single item I could in the game (this completionist lifestyle started when I was young!). It had some of the funkiest music on the PS1 and it was always incredibly fitting to how bright and fun the worlds of Spyro were. This always reminds me of the cat hockey and the penguins with the super chill voices. And using the laser to melt the snowmen while they ran around trying to get away from it! 

Fisherman's Horizon - Final Fantasy VIII

Final Fantasy VIII is quite an important game to me, one that I absolutely adored and slaved hours into in my late primary/early secondary school years but never finished due to one of the discs breaking. The game features my favourite character in the series, Rinoa (who I've named my daughter after) and as with Spyro, it was really hard for me to pick just one piece from this game as there are just too many I love and I could probably do a whole post just on Final Fantasy VIII music. However, I decided to go for Fisherman's Horizon, such a relaxing piece and listening to it just brings me back to all the days after school I spent playing the game constantly, leveling myself up like mad and taking the time to explore the world. Every time I listen to this, it makes me want to go back and pick the game up and finish it finally.

Fighting of the Spirit - Tales of Symphonia

This is hands down one of my favourite Gamecube games that were released and I had a 360+ hour game save on top of all the others I had for this game. This was my introduction to the Tales series so it always holds that amount of nostalgia for me in that sense. I've actually been meaning to complete the game in it's remastered form on the PS3 but I've been lazy! I remember recording this track on my phone while the game was paused and setting it as my ringtone (since we didn't have the super cool useful internet so widely accessible to us at the time). Summoners tend to be my favourite class when it comes to RPGs and having this music playing while fighting to prove yourself to the Summons just made it all the more epic. I have some rather fond memories of trying to learn this on the guitar as well and proving not so successful. 

So I guess my main genre of games shows quite well in the music that makes me reminiscent of the games I played when I was younger. Of course, there's a lot more but these are just a few that I feel the strongest about.

How about you? What pieces of gaming music make you feel at least a little bit nostalgic? 


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